The sister site to the Taj Mahal is the Agra Fort. Just down the Yamuna River from the Taj Mahal, the fort offers great views of the Taj and a glimpse at royal life during the Mughal Empire.
Akbar, grandson of Babur (founder of the Mughal Dynasty), made Agra his capital and began rennovating the deteriorating fort around 1565. Akbar’s grandson, Shah Jahan (who built the Taj Mahal), ruled the Mughal Empire from 1628 until 1658. When he fell ill, he was imprisoned here by his son, Aurangzeb. Shah Jahan died in the Muasamman Burj, a tower of the Agra Fort, with a view of his great monument to love.
One of the more interesting points reported in the guidebook was Shah Jahan’s weakness for beautiful women, even after he had grown very old. When he was detained in the Agra Fort, Aurangzeb permitted him to retain “the whole of his female establishment, including the singing and dancing women” according to Niccolao Manucci, a European chronicler. He went on to note, “it would seem as if the only thing Shah Jahan cared for was the search for women to serve his pleasure.” Was he compensating for the loss of his beloved Mumtaz Mahal or just overly indulgent?