Agra Fort, Uttar Pradesh

An era marked by invasions and fortifications, where power was symbolized by grand palaces and grander forts………during such time was built THE AGRA FORT.

Fortification has always been and still is the prerogative of the mighty; the dividing line between the ruler and the ruled.

Agra Fort, is a monument, (Hindi: आगरा का किला, Urdu: آگرہ قلعہ‎) a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India.

The present-day structure was built by the Mughals, though a fort had stood there since at least the 11th century. Agra Fort was originally a brick fort, held by the Hindu Sikarwar Rajputs. It was mentioned for the first time in 1080 AD when a Ghaznavide force captured it. Sikandar Lodi (1488–1517) 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 second capital. He died in the fort at 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.

Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya who won Agra in 1553 and again 1556 defeating Akbar’s army

After the First Battle of Panipat in 1526, Mughals captured the fort and seized a vast treasure, including the diamond later known as the Koh-i-Noor. The victorious Babur stayed in the fort in the palace of Ibrahim and built a baoli (step well) in it. The emperor Humayun was crowned here in 1530. Humayun was defeated at Bilgram in 1540 by Sher Shah. The fort remained with Suris till 1555, when Humanyun recaptured it. The Hindu king Hem Chandra Vikramaditya, also called ‘Hemu’, defeated Humanyun’s army, led by Iskandar Khan Uzbek, and won Agra. Hemu got a huge booty from this fort and went on to capture Delhi from the Mughals. The Mughals under Akbar defeated King Hemu finally at the Second Battle of Panipat in 1556.

Realizing the importance of its central situation, Akbar made it his capital and arrived in Agra in 1558. His historian, Abdul Fazal, recorded that this was a brick fort known as ‘Badalgarh’ . It was in a ruined condition and Akbar had it rebuilt with red sandstone from Barauli area in Rajasthan. Architects laid the foundation and it was built with bricks in the inner core with sandstone on external surfaces. Some 4,000 builders worked on it daily for eight years, completing it in 1573.

It was only during the reign of Akbar’s grandson, Shah Jahan, that the site took on its current state. Legend has it that Shah Jahan built the beautiful Taj Mahal for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. 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 to make his own.

The mighty towers and overwhelming facades instilling fear and awe in the bravest of the brave…….yet there were the few who overcame the daunting adversities and made their mark in history, a signature ……. that still exists.

Structures built as a sign of prowess remind us all of the grit and valour of the brave men and women who captured, destroyed and built such overwhelming edifices.

The Agra Fort, also known as the “Lal –Qila”, “Fort Rouge” or “Qila-i-Akbari”, is the highlight of the city of Agra, then capital of the Mughal Sultanate .

A symbol of power, strength and resilience, as it stands today in full glory.