Agra Fort is located in Agra, India. The fort is also known as Lal Qila, Fort Rouge and Red Fort of Agra. It is about 2.5 km northwest of its much more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal. The fort can be more accurately described as a walled palatial city.
By most estimates, the fort was taken over from the Lodis by the Moghuls in the late 16th century, by Akbar the Great. During his reign, he shifted the government of his empire from Delhi to Agra. Because of this, much of Agra flourished and the site of the old Lodis fort began changing into more of a royal estate. Akbar tended to build from red sandstone, often inlaid with white marble and intricate decorations.
It was only during the reign of Akbar's grandson, Shah Jahan, that the site finally took on its current state. Legend fortells that Shah Jahan built the beautiful Taj Mahal for his wife. Unlike his grandfather, Shah Jahan tended to have buildings made from white marble, often inlaid with gold or semi-precious gems. He destroyed some of the earlier buildings inside the fort in order to make his own.
At the end of his life, Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son, Aurangzeb, in the fort. A punishment which might not seem so harsh, considering the luxury of the fort. It is rumored that Shah Jahan died in Muasamman Burj, a tower with a marble balcony with an excellent view of the Taj Mahal.
This was also a site of one of the battles during the Indian rebellion of 1857, which caused the end of the British East India Company's rule in India, and led to a century of direct rule of India by Britain.
The entire site is crescent shaped, with 21 meter high walls, surrounded by a moat, facing out towards the Yamuna River. And the perimeter of the site measures out to about 2.4 kilometers of towering red sandstone walls.
The walls have two gates, the Delhi Gate, and the Lahore Gate (sometimes called Amar Singh Gate). The Delhi Gate is considered the grandest of the gates and leads into an inner gate called the Hathi Pol (Elephant Gate). Due to the fact that the Indian military (the 7th Rajputana Rifles in particular) is still using the northern portion of the Agra Fort, the Delhi Gate cannot be used by the public. Tourists enter via the Lahore Gate. Lahore Gate is named so because it faces Lahore, now in Pakistan.
The site is very important in terms of architectural history. Some of the most historically interesting mixing of Hindu and Islamic architecture reside there. In fact, some of the decorations are Islamic and yet feature dragons, elephants and birds, instead of the patterns and calligraphy, very much unheard of.