Agra Fort, India

The Fort, Agra
Publisher: Moorli Dhur & Sons

Agra Fort was built in the year 1573 under the reign of Akbar – one of the greatest Mughal Emperors. It took more than 4000 workers and eight years of hardship to complete the fort. Knowing the significance of its location, Akbar built the fort to make it the main residence of the Mughals. The fort remained as the main residence of the emperors belonging to the Mughal dynasty until the year 1638. The fort houses numerous impressive structures like the Jahangir Mahal, Khas Mahal, Diwan-i-Khass, Diwan-i-Am, Machchhi Bhawan and Moti Masjid. In 1638, the capital of the Mughal dynasty was moved from Agra to Delhi, causing the Agra Fort to lose its status as the main residence of the Mughal emperors.
Cultural India: Agra Fort

Wikipedia (Agra Fort)
Maps: 1901 & 1909
Google Maps.

The Fort. Agra.

Agra Fort from River Side

Agra Fort – View showing Dewan Khas & Saman Burj Gaj in the distance

The “Dewan Khas” or “Private Hall of Audience” is situated at one end of a broad stone terrace overlooking the river. At the other, alas! is a vacant space; on it formerly stood a corresponding pavilion, which, according to tradition, was constructed of green marble, if there be such a substance; at all events, of some rare material. It had shared the fare of the Zenana of Akbar; it had become dilapidated; it was pulled down. The “Dewan Khas” is of white marble, a large open room, whose flat roof is supported by a double row of slender twelve-sided columns.
The Personal Adventures and Experiences of a Magistrate During the Rise, Progress, and Suppression of the Indian Mutiny (originally published 1884)

Interior of Dewan Khas and its inscription (Agra Fort)
Postmarked & letter dated 1905

Musamman Burj was built by Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is said that at first a small marble palace built by Akbar was situated at this site, which was later demolished by Jehangir to erect new buildings. Shah Jahan in his turn chose this site to erect the multi-storied marble tower inlaid with precious stones for Mumtaz Mahal. It was built between 1631–40 and offers exotic views of the famous Taj Mahal….It is here that Shah Jahan along with his favorite daughter Jahanara Begum had spent his last few years as a captive of his son Aurangzeb. He lay here on his death bed while gazing at the Taj Mahal in Agra.
Wikipedia (Musamman Burj)

On back:
Agra : Fort : Muthamman-Burj
Published: Archaeological Survey of India

The Muthamman Burj (Shah-Burj) & Jharokha (1632 -1640 A.D.): This beautiful palace surmounts the largest bastion of Agra Fort on the riverside, facing the East. It was originally built of red stone by Akbar who used it for jharokha darshan, as well as for sun worship, everyday at sunrise. Jehangir also used it as jharokha, as is faithfully shown in his painting made in 1620. He also instituted his ‘Adl-i-Janjir'(the chain of justice) on its south side. Owing to its octagonal plan, it was called ‘Muthamman Burj’. It has also been mentioned as ‘Shah-Burj'(the imperial or king’s tower) by Persian historians and foreign travellers. Its name jasmine tower or ‘Samman-Burj’ as recorded by the contemporary historian Lahauri is a misnomer.

It was rebuilt with white marble by Shah Jehan around 1632-1640 A.D. He also used it for jharokha darshan which was an indispensable a Mughal institution as was ‘Durbar’. It is an octagonal building, five external sides of which make a dalan overlooking the river. Each side has pillar and bracket openings, the easternmost side projects forward and accommodates a jharokha majestically. On the western side of this palace is a spacious dalan with Shah-Nasin (alcoves). A shallow water-basin (kunda) is sunk in its pavement. It is profusely inlaid. This dalan opens on a court which has a chabutara projected by a jali screen, on its northern side, a series of rooms leading to Shish Mahal on its western side; and a colonnade (dalan) with a room attached to its on the southern side. It is, thus, a large complex entirely built of white marble. It has deep niches on the walls, to break the monotony. Dados have repetitive stylized creepers inlaid on borders and carved plants on the centre pillars, brackets and lintels also bear exquisitely inlaid designs and it is one of the most ornamented buildings of Shah Jehan. This palace is directly connected to the Diwan-i-Khas, Shish Mahal, Khas Mahal, and other palaces. and it was from here that the Mughal emperor governed the whole country. This burj offers full and majestic view of Taj Mahal and Shah Jehan spent eight years (1658-1666 A.D.) of his imprisonment in this complex, and it is said that he died here. His body was taken by boat to the Taj Mahal and buried.

Jasmintawer Fort Agra
Published: K. Lall & Co., Agra

Zonana in the Fort, Agra

General view of Pearl Mosque and Deewan — Am in Fort Agra.
Published: H.A. Mirz & Sons, Delhi; 1907-12

The Moti Masjid (translation: Pearl Mosque) in Agra was built by Shah Jahan. During the rule of Shah Jahan the Mughal emperor, numerous architectural wonders were built, the most famous of them being the Taj Mahal. Moti Masjid earned the epithet Pearl Mosque for it shone like a pearl. It is held that this mosque was constructed by Shah Jahan for his members of royal court.

It stands on ground that slopes from east to west to the north of Diwan-i-Aam complex in Agra Fort. The courtyard of the Moti Masjid has side arcades and arched recessions and the main sanctuary facade beyond. The sanctuary is roofed with three bulbous domes built of light white marble and stand on the red sandstone walls. There are a series of Hindu-style domed kiosks along the parapet. There are seven bays that are divided into aisles which are supported by piers and lobed arches. The Moti Masjid boasts of extensive white marble facing, a typical stylistic feature of architecture during the reign of Shah Jahan.

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