A passage way behind the Diwan-i-Khas leads through to the tiny Mina Masjid, a very plain white

marble mosque – little more than an enlarged corridor – which was built by Shah Jahan and is traditionally said to have been used by him during his years of imprisonment here.

A passage way behind the Diwan-i-Khas leads through to the tiny Mina Masjid, a very plain white marble mosque – little more than an enlarged corridor – which was built by Shah Jahan and is traditionally said to have been used by him during his years of imprisonment here. Beyond here, the passage way leads to a two-storeyed pavilion known as the Musamman Burj, famous in Mughal legends as the spot where Shah Jahan is said to have caught his last glimpse of the Taj Mahal tour before he died – though the truth of the great emperor’s demise is rather less edifying.

Surrounded by a veranda, the elegant pavilion is perhaps the most elaborately decorated structure in the entire fort, its lattice-screen balustrade with ornamental niches and with exquisite pietra dura inlay covering almost every surface, while a marble chhatri topped by a cooper dome adds a final flourish. In front of the tower a courtyard, paved with marble octagons, centres on a pachisi board where the emperor, following his father’s example at Fatehpur Sikri, played a rather bizarre version of the game (a form of ludo) using dancing girls as pieces).

Continue past the Mausamman Burj to reach another large courtyard, the Anguri Bagh (grape garden), a miniature charbagh, its quarter linked by wide pavements, with a marble tank at the centre. The east side of the courtyard is flanked by the marble building known as Khas Mahal (private place), possibly used as drawing room or the emperor’s sleeping chamber of India Tours

Designed essentially for comfort, it incorporates cavities in its flat roofs to insulate against the searing heat of an Agra tours summer, and afford soothing riverside and garden views. The place is flanked by so-called Golden Pavilion, their curved roofs ( a form that would later become a staple of Rajput architecture) covered with gilded copper tiles in a style inspired by the thatched roofs of Bengali village huts, their arches framing further photogenic Taj vistas. In front of the Khas Mahal, steps descend into the northeast corner of the Anguri Bagh and the Sheesh Mahal (glass palace), where royal women bathed in the soft lamplight reflected from the mirrorwork mosaic that covered the walls and ceiling; unfortunately the building is currently locked, so you can only peek in through the window.

South of the Khas Mahal lies the Shah Jahani’s Mahal (Shah Jahan’s Palace), a heavily graffitoed cluster of four rather sorry-looking room (originally painted in bright colours and embossed in gold), plus another delicate octagonal open-sided two-storey chhatri with further Taj Mahal views.