[Interior of the Diwan-i-Am, Fort, Agra.]
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph showing the colonnaded interior of the Diwan-i-Am 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 Diwan-i-Am or Public Audience Hall, built between 1631-40 in the period of Emperor Shah Jahan is placed away from the river front and on a lower level. It is open on three sides and overlooks a large courtyard. The interior is formed of three aisles of cusped arches, giving an elegant and harmonious appearance. The throne chamber in the eastern wall is of white marble, the rest of the construction is of red sandstone coated with white shell-plaster.
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.