Agra Fort & Fatehpur Sikri

If you are in Agra and looking for other places to visit besides the Taj Mahal, look no further than the Agra Fort and a little further south, to Fatehpur Sikri.

Agra Fort:

Near the gardens of the Taj Mahal stands the important 16th-century Mughal monument known as the Red Fort of Agra. It was built primarily as a military structure by Emperor Akbar but later was transformed into a palace by Shan Jahan, the same emperor who commissioned the Taj Mahal.


Ironically after the transformation, Shan Jahan was imprisoned in the palace by his son, Aurangzeb, who overthrew him.

 Agra Fort Gate

Agra Fort Gate

 Agra Fort

Agra Fort

 Inside Agra Fort

Inside Agra Fort

There are many different iconic structures to view in the fort:

Jahangiri Mahal:

Possibly the most unique structure displayed in the Agra Fort, this is also the first thing you see upon entering. The Mahal was the principal royal household, mainly used by the wives of Akbar. It has a Hindu and Central Asian style of architecture.

 Jahangiri Mahal, Agra Fort

Jahangiri Mahal, Agra Fort

Khas Mahal

The Khas Mahal is the model for the Diwan-I-Khas at the red fort in Dehli. It is also known as Aramgah-i-Muqaddar, and was a private palace built by Shah Jahan for his daughters Roshnara and Jahanara

 Khas Mahal, Agra Fort

Khas Mahal, Agra Fort

Mussaman Burj

Mussaman Burj is where Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son, until his death. It was slow torture as Shah could gaze out at the Taj Mahal and see the tomb of his wife but never venture any closer. 

 Mussaman Burj, Agra Fort

Mussaman Burj, Agra Fort

 Mussaman Burj, Agra Fort

Mussaman Burj, Agra Fort


Diwan-i-Khas

Built in 1637 next to the Mussaman Burj, the Hall of Private Audience is approached by a staircase which brings you out at the side. A three-sided pavilion with a terrace of elegant proportions, the Diwan-i-Khas was reserved for important dignitaries or foreign representatives.

 Diwan-i-Khas

Diwan-i-Khas

Diwan-i-Am

An internal staircase leads to the Diwan-i-Am which was used by Shah Jahan for government business and features a throne room where the emperor listened to petitioners. The smart positioning of the pillars gives the visitor an uninterrupted view of the throne as they arrive through the gates situated on the right- and left-hand walls of the courtyard. 

 Diwan-i-Am, Agra Fort

Diwan-i-Am, Agra Fort

Nagina Masjid

From the corner opposite the Diwan-i-Khas, two doorways lead to a view over the small courtyards of the zenana (harem). Further round in the next corner is the tiny but exquisite Nagina Masjid (“Gem Mosque”). Built in 1635 by Shah Jahan, this was the private mosque of the ladies of the court.

 Nagina Masjid, Agra Fort

Nagina Masjid, Agra Fort

 Agra Fort, Barracks

Agra Fort, Barracks


Once you are finished with the Agra Fort, it is well worth the hour and a half drive south that it takes to visit Fatehpur Sikri


Fatehpur Sikri

Once the blooming capital of the Mughal empire, it was abandoned in the late 1500's due to water scarcity, which still plagues the city to this day.

The Highlights:

Buland Darwaza

Supposedly one of the largest gates in all of Asia, the Buland Darwaza stands at an astounding 177 feet.
On the main gateway, an inscription in Persian reads ‘Jesus son of Mary said, “The world is a bridge pass over it, but build no houses upon it. He, who hopes for a day, may hope for eternity; but the World endures but an hour. Spend it in prayer for the rest is unseen”’. 

 Buland Darwaza, Fatehpur Sikri

Buland Darwaza, Fatehpur Sikri

 Buland Darwaza, Fatehpur Sikri

Buland Darwaza, Fatehpur Sikri

 Buland Darwaza, Fatehpur Sikri

Buland Darwaza, Fatehpur Sikri

Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of the Private Audience)

A hall meant for VIP's and religious leaders who wanted or were summoned for a private audience with the Emperor.

 Diwan-i-Khas, Fatehpur Sikri

Diwan-i-Khas, Fatehpur Sikri

Jodhabai Palace

The living quarter of the Mughal Queen Jodhabai

 Jodhabai Palace, Fatehpur Sikri

Jodhabai Palace, Fatehpur Sikri


Tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti

The grave of Sheikh Salim Chishti is essentially the most famous building in the palace complex. The building is made of carved white marble and is one of the finest examples of the artistic stone carving mastery in medieval India.

 Tomb of Seikh Salim Chisti, Fatehpur Sikri

Tomb of Seikh Salim Chisti, Fatehpur Sikri

 Blurry photo from inside Tomb of Seikh Salim Chisti, Fatehpur Sikri

Blurry photo from inside Tomb of Seikh Salim Chisti, Fatehpur Sikri

Jama Masjid

 Jama Masjid, Fatehpur Sikri

Jama Masjid, Fatehpur Sikri

Panch Mahal

The primary purpose of this building is known to be entertainment and was often used for various theatrical, musical and dance performances.

 Panch Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri

Panch Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri

 

Gear

  • Canon EF 24-70mm ƒ2.8 L II USM Lens
  • Canon EF 70-200mm ƒ2.8L IS II USM Lens
  • Canon EF 11-24mm ƒ4L USM Lens
  • Canon EOS 5DS R DSLR Camera
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera

Travel Tips:

  • Everyone is still trying to hustle you, just be careful!
  • Easy to knock out in a day

Photography Tips:

  • I would do two rounds of this for photographs. Some of the light for photographing is best in the morning, but other structures such as Jahangiri Mahal would be best photographed at sunset.
  • For fewer people, the earlier the better.
  • Surprisingly, my 11-24mm lens was the one I used most in India and during this trek. I would advise you to make sure you have a wide angle lens to capture some of these structures effectively.
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