AGRA - FEBRUARY 2008
Agra, at 171 metres on the banks of the Yamuna River, was mentioned in the epic Mahabharata when it was called Agrabana, or Paradise. Ruled by Sikandar Lodi in the year 1506, it achieved fame as the capital of the Mughal emperors from 1526 to 1658 and keeps many magnificent monuments of the Mughal-era, including the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, all three listed in the UNESCO's World Heritage Site List.
"THE AGRA FORT, a walled palatial city also known as Lal Qila, is the most important fort in India, having been the residence of the great Mughals Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb, who governed the country from here"
"WALLS - Originally a brick fort, Akbar had it rebuilt with bricks in the inner core and sandstone on external surfaces"
"AMAR SINGH GATE, also known as the Lahore Gate, was originally known as «Akbar Darwaza» and was reserved for the emperor. Shah Jahan renamed it after Rao Amar Singh of Jodhpur, who, according to the legend, slew Salabat Khan, the chief treasurer of Shah Jahan, in front of the emperor and leapt with his horse over the high walls. The horse died and Amar was arrested and put to death. However, his courage won the admiration of the emperor and the gate was renamed in his honour"
"JAHANGIRI MAHAL, the principal palace for women, used mainly by the Rajput wives of Akbar, is the most noteworthy building inside the Fort. Built in red sandstone between 1565 and 1569, it has an impressive façade facing an open court to the west, an arched portal, a series of ornamental arches and an octagonal tower on its either side. The eastern verandas have a beautiful view towards the river and the Taj Mahal"
"GEM MOSQUE - The «Nagina Masjid», built between 1631-40, is made up of pure white marble and was meant for the personal use of the emperor"
KHAS MAHAL - Built by Shah Jahan between 1631 and 1640 for his two favourite daughters, it has a beautiful tank in front with fountains, white marble pavilions and open courts"
"DIWAN-I-AAM - The Hall of Public Audience was the result of Shah Jahan's love for marble. Constructed between 1631 and 1640, the assembly hall has an arcade façade with nine arches and the hall is divided into three aisles. Though constructed in red sandstone, it had been plastered with white shell plaster to resemble white marble"
"JOHN RUSSEL COLVIN, lieutenant-governor of the North-West Provinces of British India during the mutiny of 1857, died of cholera during the peak of the Indian Rebellion of 1857. His body could not be carried out of the Agra Fort..."
"MUSAMMAN BURJ - The Octagonal Tower seems to have been built by Shah Jahan as a marble tower inlaid with precious stones for his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal. It served also as his residence for the last years of his live, since his son Aurungzeb imprisoned him till his death. It offers exotic views of the Taj Mahal. The most ornate building of the entire fort is the small pavilion known as Shah Burj"
"FINALLY - The Taj Mahal is coming closer..."