World Heritage

WORLD HERITAGE SITES

A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area which is selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as having cultural, historical, scientific or other form of significance, and is legally protected by international treaties. The sites are judged important to the collective interests of humanity.

Agra Fort

A massive red-sandstone fort located on the banks of River Yamuna was built under the commission of Emperor Akbar in 1565 and was further built by his grandson Shah Jahan. The fort, semi circular on plan, is surrounded by a 21.4 m high fortification wall. The fort was built primarily as a military structure; parts of it are still reserved under Indian Army. Later on, it was transformed it into a palace, it also became a gilded prison for eight years after his son Aurangzeb seized power in 1658. The fort houses a maze of buildings, including vast underground sections. The Amar Singh Gate to the south is the sole entry point. A path leads straight from here up to the large Moti Masjid. Just before this is the open Diwan-e-Aam, where Shah Jahan listened to people’s petitions or issues. A small staircase just to the left of Diwan-e-Aam throne leads up to a large courtyard. To the left is a beautiful white marble Nagina Masjid.Nagina Masjid is a beautiful mosque located in Agra Fort. It is located near Moti Masjid. This mosque is constructed with pure white marble and has a beautifully designed prayer chamber. The Mosque built in the north-western corner of the Machchi Bhawan was meant for the personal use of the Emperor. It has a marble paved court enclosed by walls to the north, south and east and the prayer chamber on the west. The prayer chamber is also made up of marble and has three domes on its top. The mosque has a three-arched façade with the cusps and supported on slender piers as its entrance. The arch in the middle is larger and has nine cusps and ones on the either sides have seven cusps only.Other places to see within the Fort are Diwan-e-Khas - which once housed Shah Jahan’s legendary Peacock throne and the diamond Koh-I-Noor, Shish Mahal- a palace with walls inlaid with tiny mirrors, and Khas Mahal - the white octagonal tower and palace. In the South of the fort, there is a huge red-sandstone Jahangir’s Palace, built by Akbar probably for his son Jahangir.

Red Fort

The Red Fort Complex was built as the palace fort of Shahjahanabad – the new capital of the fifth Mughal Emperor of India, Shah Jahan. Named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone, it is adjacent to an older fort, the Salimgarh, built by Islam Shah Suri in 1546, with which it forms the Red Fort Complex. The private apartments consist of a row of pavilions connected by a continuous water channel, known as the Nahr-i-Behisht (Stream of Paradise). The Red Fort is considered to represent the zenith of Mughal creativity which, under the Shah Jahan, was brought to a new level of refinement. The planning of the palace is based on Islamic prototypes, but each pavilion reveals architectural elements typical of Mughal building, reflecting a fusion of Persian, Timurid and Hindu traditions The Red Fort’s innovative planning and architectural style, including the garden design, strongly influenced later buildings and gardens in Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra and further afield.This palace fortress is known as the Red Fort because of the red sandstone fabric of its rampart walls. The fort with its halls, palaces, pavilions and serene gardens was completed in 1648. Within the enclosure of the red fort are located many fairytale buildings. The Diwan-i-Khas (also known as Shah Mahal) and the Rang Mahal (also called Imtiyaz Mahal or palace of distinctions) are the two most conspicuous buildings inside the Red Fort. The Hall of Public Audience (Diwan-i- Aam) is another famous building within the Red Fort. Son-et-lumiere shows, tracing the history of the Mughal Empire in India, outlining their glory and the eventful causes for their downfall are held in the Red Fort every evening. Son-et-lumiere shows, tracing the history of the Mughal Empire in India, outlining their glory and the eventful causes for their downfall are held in the Red Fort every evening.

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal a marvel on marble was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in commemoration of his favourite wife, Empress Mumtaz Mahal. Shah Jahan married Arjumand Bano Begum (Mumtaz Mahal), grand daughter of Itimad-Ud-Daula, the Wazir (Prime Minister)  of Emperor Jahangir in 1612 AD. Mumtaz Mahal died in 1631 A.D. at the birth of her 14th child. The grief stricken emperor made all efforts in building the tomb in her memory, which is universally acknowledged as one of the most beautiful creations on earth. Artisans were requisitioned from all over the empire including Central Asia and Iran. While bricks for the internal framework were locally made. White marble for external surfaces was brought from Makrana, Rajasthan. The inscription on the northern facade records 1057A.H. (1647A.D.) as the date of its completion in 17 years .It is believed that Ustad Ahmad Lahori was the chief of the project while Ustad Isa Afandi prepared the site plan of the Taj Mahal. Amanat Ali Khan Shirazi is known for his calligraphic work and Ran Mal was the garden designer from Kashmir. The plan of Taj Mahal display strict bilateral symmetry. The central point is the tomb (rauza) and its four minarets, flanked by a mosque and assembly hall (Mehman Khana) The Taj is exactly as wide as it is high (55mtrs). A highlight of the monument is the exquisitely carved pietra dura inlaid with semi precious stones.The colour of the translucent marble keeps changing from dawn to midnight giving it a magical aura in keeping with Shah Jahan’s vision that the tomb and garden should represent paradise on earth. It is a unique man made manifestation of the glorious Mughal age and a wonder of the world.After his death in 1666 A.D., Shah Jahan was also buried beside his beloved wife in the Taj Mahal.