Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Fort Agra

This is a massive red-sandstone structure that was begun in 1565 bu Emperor Akbar and completed in 1658 by his grandson Shah Jahan. It is on the banks of the Yamuna River and was primarily used as a military structure. When Shah Jahan came into power he updated the place using his favorite building material you guessed it, white marble.

The Fort itself is an ear shaped structure with walls that are 2o meters high and the circumference of the walls is 2.5 kilometers. That would be 65 feet tall and a mile and a half around for you metrically challenged Americans! Inside the Fort is a maze of many different buildings and structures giving the appearance of a city with in a city. the Many of the structures have been destroyed over the years by all the attackers the last being of course the British.

The only entrance to the fort is called Amar Singh Gate and allows for entrance from the south. The entrance itself and dog-leg design are to confuse attackers, a lot of good that did!

The main hall of the fort called Diwan-i-Am was used primarily by Shah Jahan for domestic government business. Perhaps one of the most beautiful internal structures called Nagina Masjid, built in 1635 by Shah Jahan, is a marble monument dedicated to the ladies of the court.

Now the interesting historical part of the Fort in my opinion was what the son of Shah Jahan
used this place for.It seems that the eldest son of Shah Jahan and the next ruler to be was upset that his Dad had spent something like $70,000,000 bucks to build the Taj and was in the process of spending another boat load of his inheritance on what would be called the Black Mahal. The Black Mahal would become the burial place for Shah Jahan and would be right across the river from the Taj Mahal, which as you know is white.

Well not if Aurangzeb had anything to say about. So in 1658 he seized power from his Dad, Shah Jahan and then threw him in prison in the Fort. Aurangzeb must have been a real troubled man because in the fort there is a room called Musamman Burj and Khas Mahal this is were Shah Jahan was kept and could not even see the Taj and his beloved. Shah Jahan was ingenious and figured out that if lay a certain way and used a mirror he could then see the Taj.
There are beautiful gardens and monuments to all the different religions of the times. Seems like old Aurangzeb, after ousting the old man took no chances and prayed using every religion avaiable.
More on Delhi next!