The Mughal era began in India in the 16th century.

In 1526, in the famous Battle of Panipat, Emperor Babur was the first Mughal ruler who defeated the last of the Delhi Sultans, Ibrahim Shah Lodhi. Babur was a Conqueror from Central Asia. His rule was relatively short.

Humayun succeeded the throne after death of Babur at the age of twenty three. His reign was interrupted by political turbulence and an enforced exile by an Afghan leader, Sher Shah.

 After the death of Humayun, his 13 year old son Akbar was crowned. Akbar the great was a military genius and was considered the first great patron of the jeweled arts in that era. He also gained control over Rajput through diplomacy and marriage alliances. He was a great patron of art, architecture and literature.

Akbar’s reign was followed by his son Jahangir. Jahangir derived his name from a Persian word which means "world conqueror". He was ranked as a Mansabdar of ten thousand, which is the highest rank in military after the Emperor at a very young age. At the age of twelve, he commanded a regiment independently in the Kabul campaign.  Like Akbar, Jahangir managed diplomatic relations on the Indian sub-continent. He loved art, science and architecture and contributed to their growth during his reign.

Jahangir’s reign was followed by his son, Shah Jahan. Shah Jahan's thirty years of reign from the year 1628 to 1658, is often referred to as the golden period of the Mughal dynasty - a peaceful era of prosperity and stability.

Aurangzeb is considered the last great ruler of the Mughal dynasty. He was among the wealthiest of the Mughal rulers. During his reign, the Mughal empire reached its greatest extent with victories in the south. However, his intolerance to religions other than islam led to various revolts by Marathas, Sikhs and Jats which in turn led to the downfall of Mughal Empire.
Some accounts mention a fort at Agra as far back as the 11th century AD, but we know for sure that in the 15th century, a Rajput king ruled from here, and it was called “Badalgarh”, after his name. In the early 16th century, the “Lodhis” from Delhi conquered it, and were the first to move their capital from Delhi to Agra.

In 1526, Babur – the first Mughal in India – defeated the Lodhis, a Pashtun dynasty that was the last dynasty to rule the Delhi Sultanate in the famous battle of Panipat. Babur came to Agra – the Lodhis’ capital, and found great wealth in the treasury here. Among other things, it included the diamond that was later known as the “Koh-i-noor”. The 105 carat diamond, the root cause of many wars, originally Indian treasure but now a part of the British Crown Jewels, a jewel bestowed to the then proclaimed Empress of India, Queen Victoria. Such has been our luck  safeguarding a sparkling part of our heritage!  Anyhow, his son Humayun, who had been sent ahead to secure the fort, presented the diamond to Babur upon his arrival. Did you know that this is the first time ever the stunning Kohinoor was mentioned in history?

The Mughals hailed from the Pir Panjal ranges of the Himalayas, where lush meadows and fresh streams were everywhere making the heat and dust of Agra difficult on them. However, on the other hand Babur was tired from a life of fighting for a throne over and over and over again… He saw military significance in Agra, and a country he could rule without warring with his own extended family.

He made Agra his home, and lived at the palace the Lodhis had built for themselves. He wasn’t much for building grandiose structures, but he did build several gardens in the city. He died of an illness in 1530, and was succeeded by his son Humayun. It had only been about ten years and Humayun was defeated at a battle in 1540, and for some time, even retreated to faraway Kabul. Agra’s rulers once again changed hands. It was now ruled by an Afghan clan – the Suris, until they were defeated at Panipat in 1556. It was none other than Humayun’s son Akbar who had come back with a vengeance.

Emperor Akbar or Akbar Baadshah, brought the Agra fort to life. Winning back the empire, Akbar Badshah arrived in Agra in 1558.  Unfortunately he found the fort here in a run-down condition, with the brick ramparts crumbling, and some of them even fallen.

This was when Badshah Akbar ordered for the Fort of Agra to be constructed again.

By, Tanul Dilwali & Abbas Muzaffar