The Agra Fort is a UNESCO
World Heritage site located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. It is about
2.5 km northwest of its more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal. The
fort can be more accurately described as a walled city.
The 380,000 m2 fort has a semicircular
plan, its chord lies parallel to the river and its walls are over 20 metres
high. Double ramparts have massive circular bastions at intervals, with
battlements, embrasures, machicolations and string courses. Four gates
were provided on its four sides, one Khizri gate opening on to the river.
The monumental Delhi Gate, which
faces the city on the western side of the fort, is considered the grandest
of the four gates and a masterpiece of Akbar's time. It was built circa
1568 both to enhance security and as the king's formal gate, and includes
features related to both. It is embellished with inlay work in white marble.
A wooden drawbridge was used to cross the moat and reach the gate from
the mainland; inside, an inner gateway called Hathi Pol ("Elephant Gate")
– guarded by two life-sized stone elephants with their riders – added another
layer of security.
The drawbridge, slight ascent,
and 90-degree turn between the outer and inner gates make the entrance
impregnable. During a siege, attackers would employ elephants to crush
a fort's gates. Without a level, straight run-up to gather speed, however,
something prevented by this layout, elephants are ineffective.
Because the Indian military (the
Parachute Brigade 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 Amar Singh Gate.