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Gl0balCitizen2013 wrote a review May 2020
United Kingdom2,845 contributions325 helpful votes
This is a lovely, functional building inside Agra Fort, where the Mughal emperor met the public.It isn't very grand or decorative, in comparison to the other buildings within the fort, but that is understandable, given that for all intents and purposes it had an official purpose.
Date of experience: July 2019
2 Helpful votes
Anuradha Manjul wrote a review Apr. 2020
Lucknow, India355 contributions106 helpful votes
Other than the palaces and mosques there are many interesting and important structures in Agra Fort. Many of the structures which we see today are from the era of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Some of these structures were modified structures of Akbar and Jahangir era, some completely new. The 1st structure commissioned by Emperor Shah Jahan in Agra Fort after his accession in August 1628 CE was the public audience hall which is now known as Diwan ai Aam. Today one can find a red sandstone and marble structure just opposite the Baori and in the courtyard of which one can find the Tomb of John Russell Colvin; but this was not how it was originally conceived. Diwan ai Aam is an important structure, as it was the first of such structures commissioned by Shah Jahan. It acted as a prototype for all others Diwan ai Aam of the 5th Mughal Emperor’s era in Lahore Fort (now in Pakistan) and Delhi Fort and one in Burhanpur, Madhya Pradesh. Diwan ai aam is a simplified version of Dawlat Khana i Khas ur aam or Chihil Sutun (40 columns) as mentioned in Padshahnama (Emperor Shah Jahan’s official history) and other historical texts of that time. There used to be Jharoka (Jahorka i Khass u aam) or the viewing window from which the Mughal Emperors Akbar and Jahangir presided over the general court assembly. In front of the Jharoka used to be a courtyard (Sahn i Dawlat Khana i Khass u aam) where the courtiers and general public used to stand in open, bearing the heat, rain and cold conditions. The Jahorkha also used to get damaged due to extreme weather conditions of Agra. Emperor Shah Jahan decided to give protection to those who took part in the court session and also provide safety for the Jharokha; and that is how Iwan i Dawlat Khana i Khass u amm or Iwab i Chihil Sutun (hall of 40 columns) was conceived. Initially this was a rectangular wooden hall with 40 pillars or 40 green columns with a flat roof. The wooden hall was later changed to a rectangular sand stone hall (the present version). Lahore Fort also had a similar wooden hall, only Delhi Fort had a sand stone structure from the beginning. The hall was completed in 40 days and the date of completion was August 5, 1628 (4 Dhu i Hijja 1037). It was inaugurated by the Emperor on August 25, 1628 (25 Dhu i Hijja 1037) as per the auspicious time decided by astrologers for inauguration which will be free from ill fate. Emperor Shah Jahan’s historians have given description of the structure in detail – dimensions being 70 gaz in length and 22 gaz in breadth (1 gaz = 0.91 m); the roof was flat, topped with crenellations (kanguras) and a slanting eave (chajjha) with rings for tentage. There were 4 rows of 10 columns (10 on long side and 4 on short side). Columns are baluster columns (European architecture influence) with base being red, shaft and brackets being green, top most part red and gold. Ceiling was painted beautifully with flower motifs; there used to be a garden in front. The structure had high foundation, 3 sides had passages from which high ranking nobles etc. came in. A silver railing was around it. One also finds the description of the standing order – those who were close to the emperor stood adjacent to 2 columns of the Jharokha, others stood with their back to the silver railing as per their rank and order in the court. The Jharoka had a gold railing around it. This was replaced by the sand stone structure later by the Emperor himself and with some additions or improvements by Emperor Aurangzeb (though minor only). The current sand stone structure is a rectangular structure; a hall with high slender columns with flat roof, 3 aisles of 10 bays each with 40 faceted pillars supporting cusped arch with acanthus leaves in each apex. It measures around 61.48 m x 20.72 m x 11.55 m in dimensions. The red sandstone is coated with highly burnished lime stone plaster (chuna) mixed with shell which gives it an appearance of white marble (similar experimentation can be seen in some other structures in the fort). The east wall has a raised chamber with 3 lobed openings – this was the Jharokha (viewing window) of the emperor. This Jharokha is made up of marble which was earlier richly inlaid with precious stones.The Jharoka is a like a throne chamber with the lower portion of the chamber wall carved with a row of baluster column. This chamber or Jharoka had a throne for the emperor and was connected with the royal apartments. There are marble windows in the chamber with perforated screens on the left and right of emperor’s chamber, it is said that this was used by the royal ladies for viewing the court proceedings (in accordance with purdah tradition).There is a marble dais (known as Baithak) below the throne which was used by the prime minister (wazir) to receive petitions and pass the same to the emperor. The silver railing and the golden railing remained till the time of Mughals and the standing order remained similar to that being followed in the wooden hall. This structure was badly damaged by the British army, precious stones etc. were removed and either sent to Britain or pocketed by the officers. It was used as an armoury for British garrison during the 1800’s. It was later restored in 1876 CE by Sir John Strachy, Lt. Governor of North West Province. The structure though simple looking has major historical and architectural importance in the development of Mughal architecture and Indo Islamic architecture and is definitely worth a visit.…
Date of experience: November 2019
2 Helpful votes
AZCasualTraveler wrote a review Mar. 2020
Mesa, Arizona1,796 contributions138 helpful votes
The Diwan-i-Am or otherwise called: "Hall of Public Audience" is supposed to be the place where the regional emperor would listen to any public petitions and meet with state officials. This structure is an open-air construction with lovely arches that appears to be large enough to hold a lot of people under it's large roof. There is a nice public square area located in front and it is surrounded by nice landscaping. This attraction is one of several notable historic places located within the walls of the Agra (Red) Fort.…
Date of experience: November 2019
Steven_Teo wrote a review Mar. 2020
Tawau, Malaysia542 contributions242 helpful votes
This was the place when the Mughal would meet his subjects. Our guide told us when the Mughal spoke, he could be heard everywhere in the courtyard. I walked to the courtyard and I could not hear what the guide spoke.
Date of experience: December 2019
Ann C wrote a review Feb. 2020
Bispham, United Kingdom416 contributions117 helpful votes
Shah Jahan was responsible for many of the most impressive buildings in and around Agra during the 17th century and this one is no exception so do try to fit it into your visit to this city if you can.
Date of experience: January 2020