An Essential Visit to Agra
Agra. The indian city that tourists are forced to visit in order to set eyes on the country’s most spectacular sight. The underwhelming home of the great Taj Mahal.
Straddling a large bend along the holy Yamuna River, Agra would definitely win the award for the city I least liked during my time exploring India. Crowded and congested with beggars and hawkers waiting to follow at every boring corner and vendors desperately attempting to sell stupid little Taj Mahal replicas, if it weren’t for the Taj itself I would tell everyone I know to avoid the city like the plague.
Despite my passionate dislike for the city, I must admit the beautiful Agra Fort did make our extra afternoon in the city worth the overnight stay (which was essential for a sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal).
Agra Fort is often overshadowed by it’s beautiful white marble, world wonder neighbour. Despite being the ugly little Agra sibling attraction, it is definitely of the finest Mughal forts in India. With seemingly endless courtyards of palatial red-sandstone and a stunning marble fortress, it is a beautiful sight to behold.
The beautiful fort began to exist in 1565 during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar, eventually further additions in white marble were made up till the reign of his grandson Shah Jahan.
The fort was originally built for military purposes, but later used as a palace, and eventually even served as a prison where Shah Jahan was confined for 8 years by his son Aurangzeb, who seized power in 1658.
Running along a length of 2.5 kilometres within enclosed walls, it encompasses several exquisite palaces such as the Shah Jahani Mahal, Jahangiri Mahal, Khas Mahal, audience halls named Diwan-i-Am and the Diwan-i-Khas, a Fish Pavilion, the Nagina Masjid, Garden of Grapes and the Pearl Mosque.
It is no surprise that Agra Fort is world heritage site and definitely deserves (almost) as much fame as the pearly white guy next door.
After all, without Agra Fort we would have had an entire afternoon in ugly Agra. It truly is a tourist oasis for any extra time in my least-liked city in India.