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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Agra Fort

Barely 2 km from Taj Mahal, Agra Fort stands on the same bank of River Yamuna. The main part of the fort was constructed under Akbar The Great. It was chosen as a world heritage site in 1983. The construction went on for centuries. It started in 1156 and finally, reached its culmination point in 1605. Shah Jahan built most of the delicate marble buildings inside the fortress. Stretching across 2.5 km, the two main gateways of the mighty fort are known as the Delhi Gate and the Amar Singh Gate. One can enter the fort only from the latter as a part of the fort is in use by the Indian Army and barred from the public view. The 16th century lavish lifestyle of Mughals is sure to impress anyone. Amar Singh Gate enters into a Great Courtyard with Diwan-I-Am or Hall of Public Audience on its right side.Shah Jahan built this multi-pillared structure in 1628. There are royal pavilions, Nagina Masjid, Mina Masjid, Macchi Bhavan, Khas Mahal, Shish Mahal, Shah Jahani Mahal and the Zenana Mina Bazaar to explore. Each of these structures has beautiful carvings unique to it and many of them are made of pure marble. They are cooled naturally, as the wanter runs through the hollow walls. Its balconies open up to the beautiful views of River Yamuna and Taj Mahal. It is said that it was in Musamman Burj in Agra Fort that Aurungzeb imprisoned his father, so that he could glimpse the tomb of her beloved to his last breath. The guides still place a mirror in the hole which captures the reflection of Taj in a miniature version to demonstrate how Shah Jahan died viewing the monument of his love. There are well-maintained gardens too.

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