Romance of the Red Fort
recently watched a movie called “Jodha Akbar” about the Moghul
Emperor Akbar and his Rajput princess wife Jodhbai. As much of it is set
in Agra in the Lal Kila or Red Fort, it brought back memories of when I
visited this historic site as a young bride.
As we toured the palace halls I could imagine
the Emperor sitting in the Diwan-i-Am holding public audiences and consulting
with his famous courtiers like the witty Raja Birbal and the brilliant Raja
Man Singh. When the guide led us into the courtyard I could see where Akbar
wrestled and trained with war elephants. There were also the exquisitely
carved lattices of the harem where Jodhbai and the other women would gather
to look out onto the proceedings, and the Sheesh Mahal or Mirror Palace
with glass mosaic on the walls.
these imaginings have been given a form by this movie with two very attractive
actors, Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshen playing the romantic couple. With
the love story of these famous characters set in this dramatic scenery,
the movie is wonderful to watch even if it’s not all true. But as
we used to say its adding mirch masala, that is a little spice to make a
dish more interesting.
The Fort was also a palace and the seat
of government during much of the Moghul era with Akbar and his successors
building grand edifices inside. It’s now a Unesco
World Heritage Site showcasing the grandeur of Mughal Architecture.
Red Fort is also the site of another romantic story, this time about Akbar’s
grandson Shah Jahan, who near the end of his life was imprisoned in the
fort by his son Aurengazeb. According to the story, Shah Jahan asked that
he be housed in the Musumman
Burj, a tower with a view of his greatest creation, the Taj Mahal across
the Yamuna River. There he could spend his days looking out onto the monument
he created for his beloved wife Mumtaz
Mahal and remember their love.
years later I took my children to see Agra and we visited the Red Fort once
more. My son had little interest in the romantic stories and was more interested
in the martial aspects of the fort from the parapets and towers to the gigantic
Akbar Gate. Ah well, to each his own!
Here’s an amazing
site where they show panoramic views of the Lal Qila and many other