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Agra Fort

By Mark Jeavons

What is Agra Fort?

Agra Fort, also known as ‘the Red Fort’ (as it is made out of red sandstone) is a 16th-century fortress located in Agra, India. It once enclosed the imperial city of the Mughal emperors, and held palaces, audience halls and mosques within its walls.

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Text: Agra Fort, Uttar Pradesh, India. Images: 2 views of buildings inside the fortress.
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It is known as the sister monument to the world famous, iconic Taj Mahal, just a couple of miles away. Although certainly less popular than the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort is a stunning complex, full of amazing architecture which will leave you in awe.

The fort features four main gates. The most impressive is the Delhi gate, which stands at 70 feet (21 meters) tall and is quite a sight to behold.

Why is Agra Fort a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site as it was of huge importance to the Mughal dynasty back in the 16th century. It is considered one of the most important, if not the most important and impressive of the Mughal forts in the whole of India. As such, it represents the height of Mughal civilization.

A large entryway, ornately decorated, symmetrical with a turret on each side.

What can you expect on a visit to Agra Fort?

You can expect to see absolutely stunning architecture when visiting Agra Fort. When you think of Agra, of course the Taj Mahal springs to mind. That is, without a doubt, the historical centrepiece of the city, and all of India as well for that matter.

However, Agra Fort is just as impressive, in my opinion. With it being lesser known, you can expect fewer tourists compared to visiting the Taj Mahal, which is always packed with tourists no matter what time of year you visit.

The site has really beautiful palaces, such as the Jahangir Palace, a palace for women in the emperor’s household. The Khas Mahal was the emperor’s residence, with living quarters, a garden and pavilions for his harem as well as a hammam.

There are also ornate halls like Diwan-I-Khas, where the emperors received visiting dignitaries, and Diwan-I-Aam, where they listened to requests from officials and common people.

A row of ornate pillars and arches between them forming a portico along the front of a building

The complex includes two stunning mosques as well. One of these mosques is Nagina Masjid (Gem mosque). It is white marble and another example of the amazing architecture on show. You can also view the Taj Mahal in the distance; the best spot to do so is next to Mathamman Burj, which is an unmissable octagonal tower.

There is a lovely courtyard area and gardens too, called Anguri Bagh, which is very peaceful to explore.

Is Agra Fort worth visiting?

Yes, Agra Fort is most definitely worth visiting! The architecture is absolutely stunning and no trip to Agra is complete without a visit here. When I visited Agra Fort, I remember walking around in awe at the sheer majesty and beauty of the place.

I didn’t know what to expect but was blown away by the sheer size of the Fort and the intricate detailing of the Mughal craftsmanship on show.

A large building with a huge arch in the center and domes on the roof.

Tips for visiting Agra Fort

The entire complex is 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles) in circumference, so allow plenty of time to explore the whole area.

India has very hot weather throughout the year. I visited Agra in May and experienced temperatures in the mid to high 30s°C (85-102°F). I would definitely recommend taking some bottled water with you to Agra Fort.

There were no food or drink stalls nearby or inside the fort (food isn’t allowed on the premises), so if you don’t take any drinks with you then you will likely be dehydrated in no time.

Definitely take sun cream, sunglasses and a hat to shield you from the sun if visiting during the summer or spring months. The best time to visit Agra (and India for that matter) is during the winter months: anytime between October-March when temperatures are a lot cooler.

I also recommend visiting the fort in the morning: the earlier the better in order to avoid the high temperatures of the afternoon. Entry tickets can be purchased from a ticket counter just outside the Amar Singh Gate.

A plaza inside Agra Fort, with a large building on the left and a wall along the far side, with arched portico along it.

The fort opens at 6:30 every morning (apart from Fridays, when it is closed), so an early visit would be ideal and a great start to the day. The fort closes at 6pm, so you could visit later in the day as well after the heat of the afternoon has died down a little.

The entry fee to the fort is around 7 euros for foreign tourists and it is definitely worth the price! I would also recommend allocating a minimum of 2 hours at the fort. It is a huge complex that you could wander around for hours.

There are plenty of places to stay in Agra. Use the map below to see what is available:

A light and sound show takes place after sunset at the fort. The first show is in Hindi and is followed one hour later by a show in English. During the light show, lights are beamed onto the walls of the fort and commentary describes the complex’s history in an easy-to-understand manner. This is a really good way to learn all about the place while visiting.

Besides visiting Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal, the impressive Fatehpur Sikri, about 39km (24mi) away, is another example of the Mughal Empire’s architectural achievements.

It might be worth taking a guided day or overnight trip to Agra from Delhi. Click on the images below to see many different options:

Where is Agra Fort?

Agra Fort is in Agra, India. Agra is a city in the Uttar Pradesh state of northern India, about 230 kilometres southeast of the capital, New Dehli.

The fort itself is quite central to Agra, located very close to the Taj Mahal: just over 2 kilometres away.

You can catch buses to Agra Fort from the Taj Mahal site (look for bus AG-34). This will take around 30 minutes, but this being India, public transport can be quite a nightmare and unpredictable at the best of times. I would suggest getting an auto rickshaw to the fort instead, which you’ll find everywhere and are really cheap. There is a car park near the fort, but I would not recommend driving when in India!

For more information about Agra Fort, its opening hours and admission fees, see the Taj Mahal’s website.

Text and photos provided by Mark Jeavons of MJ Travel Guides. Mark is a travel blogger based in England. He began blogging back in August 2022 after deciding to combine his love of writing and travelling.

Have you been to Agra Fort? If so, do you have any additional information or advice about this UNESCO World Heritage site? Please add your comments below!

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