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Plan & Layout of Agra Fort section highlights the plan and layout of the Agra Fort.

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Layout of Agra Fort

The Red fort at Agra is a prodigious fortification town that was meant to be the capital of the Mughal Empire. Built in an irregular semi-circle shape on the right bank of River Yamuna, it surrounded by a double wall of red sandstone with battlements and about ten towers and bastions at regular intervals. The outer wall is as high as 40 feet while the inner wall is 70 feet high. The two bastions facing the river are known as the Shah Burj and the Bengali Burj. The marble Muthamman Burj was actually part of the royal residence. The harmony, aesthetic appeal and ornamentation of the fort have been skillfully kept in mind while designing the fort besides the strength and security that it provides.

There is a broad deep moat surrounding the fort. It has four gateways - Delhi Gate to its west, which is the main entrance to the fort, Amar Singh Gate or Akbar Darwazah to the south from where visitors are allowed inside the fort today, Jal Darwazah or Water Gate, a private gate meant for women facing the river and the fourth gateway on the northeastern side. The last two gates remain close now. Amar singh Gate leads to a high ramp, which takes us to the lawns in front of the Jehangiri Mahal containing a large bath-cistern presented by Jehangir to Nur Jehan on the occasion of their marriage in 1611.

Both Jehangiri Mahal and Akbari Mahal (now in ruins) are believed to be a part of the Bengali Mahal complex that had curved and bent cornices and sloped roofs as its architectural traits. All the above are the only surviving mementos of the architecture of Akbar's period. The reign of Shah Jehan was the golden period of Mughal architecture. Marble replaced red sandstone, purity of Persian architecture crept in and buildings turned out to be more tantalizing and classy. The Khas Mahal was the Aramgah or the private room of the emperor. It overlooked the Anguri Bagh or the garden of grapes. Suites of red sandstone rooms built by Akbar as the residences for the imperial women attendants surrounded this garden.

Shah Jehani Mahal or the palace of Shah Jehan is near Khas Mahal. The antechambers of the Shish Mahal or the Chamber of Mirrors adjoin Hammams of Anguri Bagh. The Shish Mahal has steps leading to the Muthamman Burj, the double storeyed octagonal tower built by Shah Jehan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. The floor of its lower storey is known as the Pachchisi Court. The flight of steps in the courtyard of Muthamman Burj leads one to the Diwan-i-Khas, the first marble palace built by Shah Jehan. Machchi Bhawan stands to the west of Diwan-i-Khas, which was used to rear gold fishes in Aurungzeb's time for the emperor's amusement.

It also has the imperial baths in its northeastern corner that were used by Mumtaz Mahal and her daughters. There was the Nagina Masjid built by Aurangzeb for his father, after barred him from visiting the more ornamental Moti Masjid, the most splendid and magnificent building of the fort. A narrow flight of steps from the Machchhi Bhawan complex leads one to Diwan-i-Am. The northern gateway of Diwan-I-Am leads one to a much smaller enclosure with passages to the Water Gate and the Delhi Gate.



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