Red Fort, Agra, India

Red Fort, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India

The Red Fort (aka Agra Fort), Agra, Uttar Pradesh state, India. Photo by Hans Rosbach.

Visiting Agra’s Red Fort

Emperor Shah Jahan was responsible for Agra’s magnificent Red Fort as well as the Taj Mahal, just 2. 5 kms down the bank of the River Yamuna.

This is an absolute must-see for any tourist visiting the Taj as it is less crowded, almost as beautiful, more spacious, more complex and more historically important, having been the seat of government and home to six Mughal Emperors.

The Red Fort (also Agra Fort) offers a lot more than sturdy defensive fortifications, with as much, if not more, gloriously over-the-top embellishment as its perky white neighbour.

Taj Mahal and Yamuna River view from the Red Fort, Agra, India

The Taj Mahal as seen from the Red Fort in Agra by the dying Shah Jahan. Photo by Hans Rosbach.

Red Fort, Jahangiri Mahal gate, Agra, India

Jahangiri Mahal. Photo by Hans Rosbach.

The Jahangiri Palace is one plum in the Red Fort’s surprisingly luscious cake. Originally the Fort’s zenana (women’s quarters), Jahangiri is loaded with spectacular carving and decoration.

Red Fort, Jahangiri Mahal gate detail, Agra, India

Jahangiri Mahal gate detail. Photo by Hans Rosbach.

Inside the Red Fort

Red Fort, Jahangiri Mahal hall, Agra, India

Inside the Jahangiri Mahal are great halls and verandahs lavished with carvings and inlays. Photo by Hans Rosbach.

Red Fort, Musamman Burj inlaid walls, Agra, India

The Musamman Burj. Photo by Hans Rosbach.

Another delicious marble confection built by Shah Jahan for his wifely obsession, Mumtaz, the Musamman Burj is a multi-storey white marble tower embedded with semi-precious stones and sporting a terrific view of the Taj Mahal along the Yamuna River.

Ironically this is where Shah Jahan spent his last years having been deposed by his son Aurangzeb and imprisoned in the fort that was designed for his wife.

Red Fort, Musamman Burj inlaid pillar, Agra, India

A Musamman Burj pillar with vine and flower inlay. Photo by Hans Rosbach.

Red Fort, Public Audience Hall, the Diwan-i-Am, in Agra, India

The Fort’s Public Audience Hall, the Diwan-i-Am, also known as a divan. Photo by Hans Rosbach

Tourists visiting Agra’s Taj Mahal and the Red Fort often include another nearby UNESCO World Heritage Site on their tour, Fatehpur Sikri.

This ancient city – the palace and mosque are the main remnants – was constructed by another Mughal Emperor, Akbar, in 1570. The bugcrew found Fatehpur Sikri a little limited and redundant after the splendours of the Taj and Fort, while local ‘guides’ can be aggressive and unpleasant if you choose not to hire them.