Agra Fort is the treasure house of early and later master pieces of Mughal architecture. The lofty ornamented fortification walls, strong decorated bastions and monumental gateways namely Akbari Darwaza (Amar Singh Gate), Hathi Pol, (Dilli Darwaza) are the finest specimens of Akbari style of Mughal architecture. The Mughals are credited to have constructed imposing Gates which surpassed all proto types of the Sultanate and Rajput Gates in Northern India.
Following the Timurid and Indian traditions, the Mughal architecture assumed a new style of building art in the sub continent. This is adequately represented by Akbari Mahal, Jahangiri Mahal and the elegant Khas Mahal, Char Bagh gardens, ornamental tank, fountains and the peerless Musamman Burj, the shallow monolithic marble basin, Diwan-i-Am (Chihl Sutun), Diwan-i-Khas, Shish Mahal, Turkish bath with their fine mirror decorations are the most attractive specimens of the marble buildings of Shah Jahan. The coloured pietra-dura inlay work with marble and rich relief carvings in red stone represent magnificent architecture design and ornamentation.
The tow rectangular pavilions and the Jharoka darshan, built in Bengal style are matchless structures presenting mature Mughal architecture.
Among the religious buildings are the small marble mosque Mina Masjid, Nagina Masjid and the celebrated Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque). The early marble specimens of Shah Jahan are notable for their designs, gates, prayer halls, supported on Shah Jhani pillars, pilasters, capitals, graceful mihrabs, elegant marble domes and ablution tanks.
The Agra Fort represents the First major building project of Akbar It was built between 1565—1576 AD on the site of an earlier castle and Shahjahan added to it in the next century. Although it was a magnificent military structure with strength as the primary consideration, the ornamental aspect was blended in to give the Fort a special aesthetic character.
According to Abul Fazi, Agra Fort had 500 buildings, constructed in the — beautiful Bengal and Gujarat style. Today, very few buildings remain in the Fort. But they are a testimony to the marvel of Indian architecture during the reigns of Akbar and Shahjahan at Agra.
The elegant edifices in Agra Fort — Akbari Mahal, Jahangiri Mahal, Diwan-Aam, Diwan-i-Khas, Musamman Burj, Shish Mahal, Moti Masjid and Dilli Darwaza — provide the visitor a wonderful opportunity to appreciate Mughal architecture, design and decoration. They are also a window into the administrative system and the life and times of the Mughal Emperors.
Agra Fort was declared as a monument of national importance in 1920. Since then, the Archaeological Survey 0f India has been responsible for its conservation and maintenance. Acknowledging its exceptional and universal value, the Fort is inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1983. We hope this guide book will add to the visitors’ understanding and enjoyment of this World Heritage Site.
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