Sheesh Mahal is one of the most fabulous structures inside the Agra Fort. Located on the western side of the Musamman Burj (an octagonal tower lying in close proximity to Diwan-i-Khas), it is an incredibly beautiful sight to come across. This structure was one of the many additions made by Shah Jahan. Built between 1631-1640 AD, it also served as the imperial bath of the Emperor. The Mahal is also famous for having extra thick walls which were built to keep the interiors cool and pleasant.
The most important question here is: why is it called the Sheesh Mahal, or, the Palace of Mirrors? The reason is the wide use of mirrors both in its walls and ceilings. When illuminated, they would lend a sparkling effect to the entire palace. Abdul Hamid Lahauri, Shah Jahan’s historian, wrote that these fascinating mirrors were brought from Haleb (Aleppo, Syria) specially for this purpose. For this reason, he also referred to this structure as "Shishaye Halebi".
The Sheesh Mahal, which is one of the attractions inside the Agra Fort, is a work of perfection. Its arches, walls and ceilings are adorned with exquisite irregular geometric and floral patterns. There are two large halls inside the palace of equal size, each measuring 11m by 6.5m. They are connected through a wide arched opening in the center and two narrow passages on the sides. To allow the entry of light inside these chambers, two doors and a ventilator were installed in the southern wall.
Both these chambers also consisted of a marble tank with fountains along with arrangements for hot and cold water. In additions, marble doors were also installed in these chambers so that they could also be used as steam baths.
In the outer hall, you come across dado panels with inlaid borders. In the center, there are beautifully painted plants, with the red and black color playing a dominant part. In the dados of the inner hall, there is no inlay work. However, they have been painted to give them an aesthetic appearance. The ceiling of the entrance portal is adorned with exquisite Persian motifs and designs.
- The Sheesh Mahal got its name from the wide use of mirrors in its walls and ceilings.
- It also served the purpose of an imperial bath.
- The mirrors used in its construction were brought especially from Haleb, an ancient city in Aleppo, Syria.
- The walls inside the Sheesh Mahal, when tapped at certain places, are known to produce weird sounds.
There are separate entry fees for visiting the Sheesh Mahal in Agra Fort, for both domestic and international tourists. Domestic tourists are required to pay an entry fee of 40 INR while international tourists have to pay an entry fee of 550 INR. Entry is free for children below 15 years of age.
Best Time to Visit
Sheesh Mahal is a part of Agra Fort, which is located in the state of Uttar Pradesh. During the summers, it can get quite hot, with the average temperature being 42°C. If the heat isn’t a concern, you can visit it during the summers. During winters, the weather is cool and pleasant, creating the right conditions for sightseeing. Agra Fort is open to public seven days of the week from sunrise to sunset.
Nearby Tourist Attractions
After visiting the Sheesh Mahal in Agra Fort, you can explore the other attractions which lie in close proximity to it. Here are some of the other popular tourist attractions in UP which you should visit.
- Sri Mankameshwar Temple
- Sadar Bazar
- Akbar's Tomb
- Taj Mahal