The Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site, 2.5 km northwest of Taj Mahal and stretches almost 2.5 km along the Yamuna river. It was my favorite spot in Agra and even topped the Taj Mahal (though Taj Mahal is much more famous).

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History of the Agra Fort

This was originally a brick fort and the Chauhan Rajputs held it. It was mentioned for the first time in 1080 AD when a Ghaznavide force captured it. Sikandar Lodi (1487-1517) was the first Sultan of Delhi who shifted to Agra and lived in the fort. He governed the country from here and Agra assumed the importance of the 2nd capital. He died in the fort in 1517 and his son, Ibrahim Lodi, held it for nine years until he was defeated and killed at Panipat in 1526. Several palaces, wells and a mosque were built by him in the fort during his period.

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After Panipat, Mughals captured the fort and a vast treasure – which included a diamond that was later named as the Kohinoor diamond – was seized. Then, the great Mughals Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb lived here, and the country was governed from here.

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Realizing the importance of its central situation, Akbar decided to make it his capital and arrived in Agra in 1558. It was in a ruined condition and Akbar had it rebuilt with red sandstone. Architects laid the foundation and it was built with bricks in the inner core with sandstone on external surfaces. Some 4000 builders worked on it for eight years, completing it in 1573.

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It was only during the reign of Akbar’s grandson, Shah Jahan (builder of Taj Mahal), that the site finally took on its current state. Unlike his grandfather, Shah Jahan tended to have buildings made from white marble, often inlaid with gold or semi-precious gems. He destroyed some of the earlier buildings inside the fort in order to make his own.

At the end of his life, Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son, Aurangzeb, in the fort, a punishment which might not seem so harsh, considering the luxury of the fort. It is rumored that Shah Jahan died in Muasamman Burj, a tower with a marble balcony with an excellent view of the Taj Mahal.

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This was also a site of one of the battles during the Indian rebellion of 1857, which caused the end of the British East India Company’s rule in India, and led to a century of direct rule of India by Britain. Today, we only see the inlaid marks of the gold or semi-precious gems as these treasure had been taken away by the British.

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Alex
(Text resource: from many websites…)

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