Friday, November 4, 2005

Agra Fort

Agra Fort is in Agra - that was not so tough to figure out, right? It's a really old fort, built of red sandstone. It's famous beacause it was (re)built by the Mughals, and ShahJahan, the husband of Mumtaz Mahal, and the person allegedly responsible for having built the Taj Mahal, was incarcerated in this fort by his son, Aurangzeb. These are the ramparts of the fort.

The fort is surrounded by a moat, and this photo has been taken from the 'Amar Singh' gate.

This is the entrance to the fort.

This shot is immediately after you pass through the Amar Singh entrance.

A closer look at the Amar Singh gate. As you can see, the entrance to the fort is not meant to be very welcoming. In fact was meant to impress visitors and intimidate possible intruders.

Only about a fourth of the fort is open to the public. The rest of the fort is occupied by the Air Force I believe (or maybe the Indian Army). Most of the interesting spots are anyway open to the public, including the famed 'sheesh mahal'.

This path was deliberately designed to accentuate echos, making it easy to listen for intruders. The high walls also meant that any large stone or boulder hurled from the top would crush people down below. Nice. Nothing like a 50 ton boulder to signal your hospitality.

There are two plaques here - one in English and one in Hindi.

The Agra Fort is also a World Heritage site. For a complete list of world heritage monuments you can visit this site: The Agra Fort was included in the list in 1983, and is listed under criteria C (iii). Criteria C (iii) states 'to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;'.

Now, I must admit that the guide was eloquent and good; I just didn't pay that close attention. After all, it was a blistering 35+C in the sun (that would be 95F). I think this leads to the palaces of two of ShahJahan's daughters, Jahanara and Roshanara. I could be wrong; someone let me know please :-)

The Taj Mahal is visible from the Agra Fort, they are not more than a few kilometers away. This photo doesn't quite do justice, but the next time, if I have a camera with a zoom, I shall strive to do better.

This place I know - Angoori Bagh (aka Grape Gardens). The soil for the grapevines was imported from Iran (Persia).

The inlay work and carvings are quite awesome, you would agree (even if you don't, I don't really care!)

And this is the Jehangiri Mahal. Built by the third Mughal emperor, Jehangir (aka Salim).

This I think is 'Khas Mahal'. It's been fenced off to prevent further damage to it.

This is the view of the Taj Mahal from the Agra Fort. I imagine the view is even prettier at sunset and during moonlit nights.

© 2005, Abhinav Agarwal. All rights reserved.