Khas Mahal, Agra Fort [with Anguri Bagh in the foreground].
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph showing the Khas Mahal at Agra Fort, taken by an unknown photographer in the 1880s, part of the Bellew Collection of Architectural Views. Built by the Emperor Akbar (ruled 1556-1605) between 1565-79, the great red sandstone fort at Agra dominates a bend in the Yamuna river. It is a strong military edifice which is also embellished with fine architecture. Beautiful pavilions and balconies grace terraces overlooking the river. The Khas Mahal (Special or Private Palace) dates from the period of Emperor Shah Jahan and was built between 1631-40. Of pure white marble, it was once decorated with painted floral motifs which have now faded. On the east it overlooks the Yamuna and on its west is the Anguri Bagh, a garden in the four-plot plan with water channels, fountains and cascades. The palace is flanked by red sandstone pavilions, covered in white plaster, which feature curved cornices derived from vernacular Indian prototypes.
Agra, known to have had a fort since at least the 11th century, rose to prominence in the early 16th century under the Afghan Lodi dynasty of Delhi. It became the Mughal capital in 1526 when Babar (ruled 1526-30) defeated Ibrahim Lodi (ruled 1517-26). The capital later shifted to Delhi under Shah Jahan (ruled 1628-58), who gave Agra its most famous monument, the Taj Mahal.