Agra Fort – A Journey In Incredible India

The next destination in Agra after the magnificent Taj Mahal was the Agra Fort. I will obviously tell you the interesting facts about the Agra Fort but this is more about my experience and what you too can expect when you visit this historical site. So, keep your funny bone growing and the historian in you interested.

Busted knee or not, I had decide to have a peek in every nook and cranny. So for those of you who have knee problems wear a knee support as the few steps that you climb up or down are steep enough to make you swear.

The Entrance

The Grand "Lahore Gate"
Lahore Gate

The entrance to the Agra Fort is through the “Lahore Gate”. But before you enter, there is a small booth where the tickets for entry are sold. Once you buy the tickets you might think you are all set with the history page open on Google. However, if you want some memorable pics, the guides are indeed very resourceful. They know all the best picture spots, the pose you need to stand in and obviously some history to make their hiring worthwhile. Remember to bargain for a good price. Being an Indian haggling for a good price is in my blood.

A view of the slanting track from the top. Entrance to the fort is from the bottom.
Down these walls oil and hot water were poured to keep the enemy away

Coming back to the “Lahore Gate”.  It is one of the four gates that flank the Agra Fort. Surrounded by a moat, the gate even has a drawbridge. The most striking feature of the gate is its beautiful workmanship along with its intimidating height. As a security measure, there is another gate inside which is followed by a slanting track that leads up to the actual living areas. This slanting track has high walls on either side with strategic holes. As per our guide, during an attack, big stones were rolled down the track to crush the intruders. Hot oil and water were poured down the holes to burn their feet and those of the animals they rode on to attack the fort. The nobles of the past had gruesome tastes but they had a unique method to protect themselves without coming out in the open.

Jahangir’s Bathtub

When you climb up the slanting road, on your right is the Palace of Jahangir. Outside it is a prominently displayed bathtub. This is the bathtub of Jahangir where he took bath since his childhood. It is said that his uncle gifted it to him on his birth. Notable is the fact that this bathtub is made of a single piece of stone. It has three steps on the outside to climb up and three steps inside to climb down into the bath. I wonder as a child did his parents never worry about him drowning in the bath? Picking the opportunity my 8 year old also wanted a mini swimming pool aka the bathtub. Eyes rolling ushering him forward was the only way to escape such wild ideas. So, parents beware if you have kids who love water.

Diwan-E-Aam

Diwan-e-aam

If you walk straight ahead from the slanting track you will reach a huge doorway which will give you the first glimpse of the “Hall of Public Audience” or the “Diwan-e-aam”. From the doorway, the seat of the emperor is clearly visible irrespective of the pillars which stand in between to support the roof. The architecture of “Diwan-e-aam” is such that while entering the masses would be able to see the emperor clearly and pay him due respects. Now, our guide did not think we could get a good snap with the Diwan-e-aam in the background so I took the honors and clicked just the place.

The bribe works

My kids were mesmerized with the squirrels that run around in the pathway in front of the hall. Why lie? Even I was taken with them. They are so used to human presence that they come quite close. I am sure with a bribe of a tasty morsel you could have one of them on your palm.

Muthamman Burj

A section of Shah Burj

Also known as the “Shah Burj” this was the place where Aurangzeb kept his father “Shah Jahan” under house arrest for almost 8 years. At one time the tower was also used as a “Jarokha” or an “Enclosed Balcony”. When the weather is clear it has a clear view of the majestic Taj Mahal with the river Yamuna flowing in between. The tower is a beautiful piece of architecture with equally beautiful mosaic work adorning each white marble wall. In-laid in the mosaic are gemstones of different colors that glow when light falls on them. Sadly, the entry to this tower is now prohibited.

Picture Perfect Spots

For those of you who wanted to know more about the picture-perfect spots. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. Remember your pics will be as good as your phone camera as that is what the guide will use. Don’t expect him to pop a DSLR from thin air. He is but an average income person trying to earn a living. There is a lot more to see in the fort. So take your time and do read up on a little history before visiting. It will make following your guide’s narration a little bit easier. You cannot take eatables inside so please don’t carry any.

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