Agra Fort, also known as Lal Qila, Fort Rouge and Red Fort of Agra, is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Agra, India. It is about 2.5 km northwest of Taj Mahal which is equally famous and is considered as its sister monument. It contained the largest state treasury and mint, and the great Mughals governed the country from here when the rulers like Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb lived here.
This was originally a brick fort and the Sikarwar Rajputs held it. 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.
Some of the other interesting notable facts about Agra Fort are:
• In 2004, The Agra Fort has won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
• Sherlock Holmes mystery The Sign of the Four, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has mentioned the Agra Fort playing a key role
• Shivaji came to Agra in 1666 as per the “Purandar Treaty” entered into with Mirza Raje Jaisingh to met Aurangzeb in the Diwan-i-Khas.
• In the second expansion pack for Age of Empires 3, the Asian Dynasties, Agra fort is one of five wonders for the Indian civilization to advance to the next age.
• In the game “Rise of Nations” the Red Fort can be built by players as a wonder.
Art and Architecture of Agra Fort
Apart from its history, Agra fort is equally important in terms of its architectural history. Abul Fazal recorded that five hundred buildings in the beautiful designs of Bengal and Gujarat were built in the fort, of which hardly thirty Mughal buildings have survived on the south-eastern side, facing the river. The others were damaged or demolished in the battles.
The fort has a semi-circular plan with its chord lying parallel to the river. Its walls are seventy feet high. Double ramparts have massive circular bastions at regular intervals as also battlements, embrasures, machicolations and string courses. Four gates were provided on its four sides, one Khizri gate opening on to the river.
Two of the fort’s gates are notable: the “Delhi Gate” and the “Lahore Gate.” A wooden drawbridge was used to cross the moat and reach the gate from the mainland; Inside, an inner gateway called Hathi Pol (“Elephant Gate”) – guarded by two life sized stone elephants with their riders – added another layer of security.
Anguri Bagh (Grape garden), Diwan-i-Am(Hall of public audience), Diwan-i-Khas(hall of private audience, Golden Pavilions, Jahangiri Mahal, Khas Mahal, Moti Masjid, Shah Jahani Mahal, Sheesh Mahal(Mirror palace), etc are some of the site and structures within Agra fort worth seeing.
Thanks to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agra_Fort