Emperor Akbar built the fort in 1565 AD as a military establishment. The fort wall is 2.5km long and 20 ft. high surrounded by a 10m wide moat. Though Akbar built the fort, Emperor Shahjahan made many additions to it. Amar Singh gate towards the south is the only entrance to the fort and many buildings inside the fort are closed to public. Places of interest inside the fort are:
Shahjahan built the Moti masjid (Pearl Mosque) between 1646 and 1653 and is known so because of its pearly white marble interiors. This marble mosque is one of the stunningly beautiful mosques in India.
Shahjahan built this hall of private audience where he received head of states and other important dignitaries. The famous peacock throne was kept in this hall before being moved to Delhi by Aurangazeb.
Jahangir Mahal was built in the year 1570 by Mughal Emperor Akbar as zenana palace or the ladies residence. Akbar built this palace for his favorite son Jehangir. This is the largest private residence in the fort. The palace has a blend of Hindu and central Asian architectural styles.
Also known as Saman Burj, this octagonal two-storied tower was also built by Shahjahan for his queen Mumtaz Mahal. In this tower Shahjahan spent his last seven years as a prisoner until he died in 1666.
Shahjahan built this public audience hall in 1628 where the Emperor heard the petitions of the public. The throne room with the inlaid carvings and panels of marble with floral motifs indicate a distinct Shajahan style.
Other important places to see inside the fort are:
- Hammam-i-Shahi (Royal Bath)
- Nagina Masjid (Gem Mosque)
- Zanana Meena Bazar ( Lady's Market for Mughul ladies)
- Khas Mahal (Emperor's sleeping chamber)
- Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace)
- Shahjahani Mahal (Shahjahan's Palace)
- Akbari Mahal (Akbar's Palace)
Empress Noor Jahan built this mausoleum in memory of her father Mirza Giaz-ud-din Beg who was the chief minister of Emperor Jehangir. This striking marble structure is very similar to the tomb of Jehangir she built near Lahore. Perhaps this was the forerunner of the Taj Mahal. Situated on the opposite bank of River Yamuna, this was the first Mughal structure built totally from marble with extensive use of pietra dura.
The Taj Mahal
Emperor Shahjahan built Taj Mahal as the final resting-place for his beloved Queen Mumtaz Mahal. Designed by Persian architect Ustad Isa, the magnificent memorial of pure white marble took 22 years to complete. A total of 20,000 people worked on this glorious monument. Experts were brought in even from Europe. The Taj is amazingly graceful from any angle. But its close-up is even better. The Taj in the moonlight is the most bewitching experience.
Chini ka Rauza
Situated about one km north of Itimad-ud-Daula, this square tomb surmounted by a single huge dome is the mausoleum of Afzal Khan, a poet and a high ranking officer in the court of Shahjahan. The exterior of the tomb is covered with brightly colored enameled tiles.
Emperor Babur laid out this earliest Mughal Gardens in 1526AD. The garden is located about 4km north of Itimad-ud-Daula. It is believed that Babur was temporarily buried here before laid to rest at Kabul in Afghanistan.
Shahjahan built this mosque in 1648. An inscription over the main gate indicates that the mosque was built in the name of Jahanara, the daughter of Shahjahan who was imprisoned by Aurangazeb with Shahjahan. Though there are no minarets, the sandstone domes has striking marble patterns.