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Gripping History of Invasions and Fortifications at Agra Fort with Maharajas Express

agra fort“Situated on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, Agra is one of the prominent historical cities in India.Its celebrated history is replete with numerous instances of incursions, usurpation, and establishment of new ascendancy.Though, it was first mentioned in the great epic Mahabharata but its earliest reference as a city was made in 1475 AD where Raja Badal Singh of the Rajput dynasty is named as its founder. Since then many rulers of different dynasties such as Rajput, Lodi, Mughal, and Marathas ruled this strategically important city and influenced its art & architectural styles.

Raja Badal Singh built a military fort known as Badalgarh to protect the city from other kingdoms; this fort today is known as the Agra Fort. In 1506, Sikandar Lodi of the Lodi dynasty shifted its capital from Delhi to Agra. After his death in 1517, Ibrahim Lodi his son, over the next nine years made significant changes to the fort and built numerous palaces within the fort. In the mid-16th century Afghans captured the city of Agra and ruled the northern part of India for about 15 years. However, Agra started to thrive culturally and economically only under the rule of Mughal dynasty in the late 16th century when most of the famous monuments in Agra such as The Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri were built.

Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is quite close to another famous monument in Agra, The Taj Mahal. Due to incessant attacks on the fort over the centuries, it was in a ruined state for most part of the 16th century. Only after the famous Second Battle of Panipat, when great Mughal Emperor Akbar made Agra his capital, major renovation of the fort started. It took approximately 4000 builders working unremittingly for eight years to resurrect this red sandstone built colossal masterpiece.

Agra Fort covers an enormous area of 94 acres and is created in a unique ear-shaped design with its east end strategically running parallel to the river Yamuna. Its steep walls are as high as 70 feet giving it a look of a walled city. There are four gigantic gates to the fort namely Delhi Gate, Amar Singh Gate, Elephant Gate and Akbar Gate. Out of these gates, Delhi Gate is quite famous for its inlay work in white marble though entry through this gate is prohibited and visitors are required to enter from the Amar Singh Gate.

It contains numerous palaces both in red sandstone that were built during the time of Akbar and in marble that were made later during the reign of Jahangir and Shahjahan. The most renowned of these palaces is Jahangiri Mahal which was built by Akbar for his son Jahangir. NurJahan, one of the wives of Jahangir, used this palace as her residence. Right in front of this palace is Hauz-i-Jahangiri which is a huge bath basin carved out of a single block of granite. It has a diameter of 2.4 meters and an astounding circumference of 7.62 meters.

All five itineraries (journeys) of Maharajas’ Express cover this riveting city of Agra. Three of the royal train journeys of Maharajas’ Express namely Gems of India, Treasures of India and The Indian Splendour cover Agra Fort under normal excursion. On the other hand, The Indian Panorama and The Heritage of India journeys cover Agra Fort under optional excursion. All of these Luxury Train Journey operate between the months of October and April.”