[Diwan-i-Khas & terrace with Samman Burj on left]. King's Palace, Agra Fort.
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph showing the Diwan-i-Khas and the Mussaman Burj (at left) 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-Khas or Private Audience Hall was built in 1635 in the Shah Jahan period. It is of white marble decorated with inlay work and carved reliefs. Its facade is made up of five cusped arches and its open colonnades lead to a hall enclosed on three sides. The Mussaman Burj is a fine octagonal balcony, famed as the spot where Shah Jahan supposedly caught a last glimpse of the Taj before he died.
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.