Built back in the 16thcentury by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular destinations of India, is a city in the Agra District of Uttar Pradesh state. Farehpur Sikri is capital of the Mughal Empire from 1571 to 1585, when it was abandoned. By going for tours to this historical site, you can get a feel of the rich historical culture of medieval Mughal India. The surviving palace and mosque are a tourist attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name, Fateh is of Arabic origin and means “victory”. The city houses a number of historical monuments which are all built of red sandstone. These monuments display a blend of Hindu, Persian and Indo-Muslim traditions in their architecture.
Akbar didn’t had heir till the age of 26. Regarding this, he visited the saint, whose blessing gave Akbar 3 sons. Akbar named the boy Salim after the astrologer, and, two years later decided to move the capital to Sikri. The glorious city was planned by Akbar, the great emperor of Mughal dynasty. The name Fateh is originated from Arabic which means “victory” and Sikri means “thanks to god” and the city came into significance when Akbar the Great made it as head quarters and built a majestic fort. Akbar had visited the village of Sikri to consult the Sufi saint Shaikh Salim Chishti, who predicted the birth of an heir to the Mughal throne. Akbar attacks at this city many times but when he attacks at seventh time Rajput left the city Sikrigrah and because of these sikrigrah was named fatehpur sikri. It was built between 1569 and 1585. It is bounded on three sides by a wall of 6 km, fortified by towers and pierced by 9 gates, in which a number of impressive edifices of secular and religious nature, which exhibit a fusion of prolific and versatile Indo-Islamic styles, exist. It was intended to be the joint capital with Agra, but was soon deserted because the water system could not support any residents. That’s why the capital was later shifted to the city of Agra within 20 years.
Tourist Attraction :
At a distance of 1 km from Fatehpur Sikri Railway Station, Diwan-i-Khas or Hall of Private Audience is located inside the complex of Fatehpur Sikri Fort, is one of the most interestingly orate buildings in Fatehpur Sikri. This is where Emperor Akbar had discussions with people about the faiths belonging to different religions. The Diwan-I-Khas in Fatehpur Sikri offers an excellent glimpse of the life in the Mughal court in Fatehpur Sikri. It is designed according to the Persian style of architecture and is decorated with fine sculpture and precious stones. There are 4 kiosks, which are located in the middle of the court. The hall was meant for special people and religious leaders who wanted or were summoned for a private audience with the Emperor. This building is composed of three halls of equal size.
Buland Darwaza :
This is also known as the “Gate of Magnificence” and was built by Akbar in 1602 AD to commemorate the victory over Gujarat, And the total height of the structure is 54 meters from the ground. Showcasing a perfect amalgam of Persian and Mughal architectures, this grand doorway serves as the main entry to the imperial complex, Fatehpur Sikri. The 15-storied high gateway is located at the southern entrance of the city. The doorway is richly carved with rhymes from the Holy Quran cut in bold Arabic letters. Buland Darwaza is an astounding example of the Mughal architecture. It is made of red and buff sandstone, decorated by white and black marble. The Buland Darwaza is also indication of the religious tolerance of Akbar the Great, evident from the inscription upon it attributed to Jesus Christ – “The World is but a bridge, pass over but build no houses on it.”
Jama Masjid :
It is a Jama Mosque meaning the congregational mosque and was perhaps one of the first buildings to be constructed in the complex was built by Akbar under the directions of Salim Chishti. It was built in the manner of Indian mosques, with iwans around a central courtyard. Inlaid geometric designs, colored tiles and calligraphic inscriptions adorn the walls of the Jama Masjid. The massive central courtyard in the mosque has served as a haven for prayer and meditation for the devoted over the centuries. The structure of the Jama Masjid is in a rectangular form and is placed on an elevated platform. The inside of the mosque is decorated with stone carved Mirhabs or altars and is one of the prized collection of Mughal Architecture and marks the transition of the Islamic architecture which was combined with the Hindu style architecture. In its south is the Buland Darwaza and on the east side is the Badshahi Darwaza. Buland Darwaza is the main and largest entrance of the two. Badshahi Darwaza is the royal gateway, which is towards east.
Jodha Bai’s Palace :
The place was the living quarter of the Mughal Queen Jodhabai. The first of the palace buildings is the largest, the Palace of Jodh Bai, and the one-time home of Akbar’s Hindu wife, said to be his favorite. Jodha Bai Ka Rauza is an excellent example of the fusion of Hindu and Muslim architectures. The architecture is a rich amalgamation of the Hindu Rajputana styles with the Islamic Mughal style due to Jodhabai belonging to the Hindu Rajput clans of Amer. Several Hindu motifs like hams (swan), parrot, elephants, lotus, srivatsa mark, ghant mala etc. are decorated in the interior.
Tomb of Salim Chisti :
The Tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti is famed as one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture in India, is essentially the most important buildings in the palace complex and was built between 1580 and 1581. The mausoleum, constructed by Akbar as a mark of his respect for the Sufi saint, who foretold the birth of Akbar’s son, who was named Prince Salim after the Sufi Saint and later succeeded Akbar to the throne of the Mughal Empire, as Jahangir. The building is made of carved white marble and is one of the finest examples of the artistic stone carving mastery in medieval India. Showcasing excellence in craftsmanship are the jali screens that are intricately carved out of marble. You will be amazed to see the spectacular serpentine brackets that are made to support the broad chajja on four sides. During the time the city was inhabited, it served as one of the major centers of the Sufi movement in India.
Panch Mahal :
Panch Mahal was a pleasure palace and is a wonderful structure consisting of five storey of decreasing size and has 176 carved columns. There is a pavilion in the Panch Mahal which gives a majestic view of the Fort. The pillars were separated with stone carved meshes or Jaalis in older times and were probably meant for the women of the Zanana enclosure that is located nearby. The palace was also specially constructed to cater to the emperor’s queens and princess. The palace lies close to Anup Talao which was a beautiful and one-of-its-kind water tank built by King Akbar. The tank was used for storing water and distribution purposes. The palace was built as a summer retreat and an entertainment center, there is also a pool made in front of the Panch Mahal which is known as the Anoop Talao, which was filled with water and acted as a venue for musical performances during Akbar’s time. The main purpose of this building is known to be entertainment and was often used for various theatrical, musical and dance performances.
How to Reach :
By Air : Nearest airport is Kheria Airport (40 km) Agra and is well connected to all major city of India.
By Rail : Nearest Railway station is Agra Cantt (40 km) and regular trains are available from all major city.
By Road : Fatehpur Sikri is well connected by road from all major city of India.
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37 kms from Agra is built a city predominantly in Red Sandstone and is called Fatehpur Sikri. This town was built by the Mughal Emperor, Akbar. He had planned this city as his capital but shortage of water compelled him to abandon the city. After this within 20 years, the capital of Mughals was shifted to Lahore.
Fatehpur Sikri was built during 1571 and 1585. Today this ghost city has a population of about 30,000. This deserted city has retained many of the old structures, because of the efforts of the Archaeological department .
Fatehpur Sikri is one of the finest examples of Mughal architectural splendour at its height. Though the city is in ruins, it is a place to visit if one comes to Agra.But in real terms Fatehpur Sikri is a place where one should spend some time. The sunset over the ruins is sight to cherish.
Fatehpur Sikri is the best example of the culmination of Hindu and Muslim architecture. Fatehpur Sikri Mosque is said to be a copy of the mosque in Mecca and has designs, derived from the Persian & Hindu architecture.
Prime Attractions of Fatehpur Sikri
The journey to the royal palace begins with Diwan-I-Am or the Hall Of Public Audience. This hall was also used for celebrations and public prayers. It has cloisters on three sides of a rectangular courtyard. To the west is a pavilion with the Emperor’s throne. Beautiful jali screen on either sides separated the ladies attending the court.
To the right is an apparently looking two storeyed building, with corner kiosks, known as diwan-khana-I-khaas or Hall Of Private Audience. On entering it, one finds only a single vaulted chamber. In the centre stands a profusely carved column supporting a collosal-bracketed capital. Four narrow causeways project from the centre and run to each corner of the chamber. It is believed that Akbar’s throne occupied the circular space over the capital and the corners were assigned to the four ministers.
Turkish Sultana’s House
To the left of the Pachisi Board is the Turkish Sultana’s house. The house, as its location at the corner of Anup Talao shows, was a pavilion for repose, attached to the pool. The geometrical pattern on the ceiling is reminiscent of Central Asian carvings in wood.
To the left of the Diwan-I-Khaas is the Treasury or Ankh Michauli, once believed to have been used for playing the game, comprising three rooms each protected by a narrow corridor which were manned by guards.
Located in the corner to the left is the emperor’s private chamber. It has two main rooms on the ground floor. One housed Akbar’s library while the larger room was his resting area. On the first floor is the Khwabgah or the bed-chamber. It was connected with the Turkish Sultana’s house, the Panch Mahal, Mariam’s House and the Jodha Bai’s palace by corridors.
Palace of Jodha Bai
To the left of the Sunehra Makan is the largest and the most important building in the royal palace, named after Akbar’s Rajput wife, Jodha Bai. This spacious palace was assured of privacy and security by high walls and a 9 metre guarded gate to the east. The architecture is a blend of styles with Hindu columns and Muslim cupolas.
Hawa Mahal And Nagina Masjid
To the right of Jodha Bai’s palace is Hawa Mahal, the Palace of Winds. This small-screened wind tower faces the garden and is attached to the palace. The garden is laid out in the Char Bagh style with straight walls intersecting at right angles and divided by shallow channels.
To the north west of the Jodha Bai’s Palace is the 2 storeyed palace occupied by Akbar’s two senior queens- ruqnayya begum and salima sultan begum. It has two storeys-four rooms and two porches with pyramidical roofs below and two rooms with cupolas and screened terraces above. The building combines hindu and muslim atyles of srchitecture.
Opposite to the Diwan-I-Khas is the palace of Akbar’s Rajput wife, Mariam-Uz-Zamani. This two-storeyed building is richly adorned by gold murals in Persian style. The beams have inscriptions of verses by Akbar’s brother, Faizi.
To the right of Sunehra Makan is the elegant, airy 5 storeyed pavilion, the Panch Mahal. Each floor over here is smaller than the one below and it rises to a single domed kiosk on top supported by four columns providing a magnificent view of the city and its environs.
Dargah Of Sheikh Salim Chisti
To the North of the Mosque is the Dargah of Shaikh Salim Chishti. This Dargah was built in 1570. Here, childless women come for blessings of the saint. Even Akbar was blessed with three sons, when he came here. The lattice work in the Dargah is among the finest to be found any where in India.
The Jami Masjid
One of the largest mosques in India, Jami Masjid was built in 1571 AD. Inside, there is a vast congregational coutyard. To the right, at the corner, is the Jammat Khana Hall and next ot this is the tomb of the royal ladies. To the left of the Jami Masjid is the Stone Cutters’ mosque, the oldest place of worship at Fateh Pur Sikri. It is entered through the eastern entrance known as the Buland Darwaza.
This gate can be approached from the outside by a 13-metre flight of steps which adds to its grandeur. The gate erected in 1602 AD to commemorate Akbar’s victory over Deccan is the highest and grandest gateway in India and ranks among the biggest in the world.
Taj Mahal of India – “the epitome of love”, “a monument of immeasurable beauty”. The beauty of this magnificent monument is such that it is beyond the scope of words. The thoughts that come into the mind while watching the Taj Mahal of Agra is not just its phenomenal beauty, but the immense love which was the reason behind its construction. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan got this monument constructed in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, with whom he fell in love at the first sight. The very first sight of the Taj Mahal, the epitome of love and romance leaves one mesmerized.
Standing majestically on the banks of River Yamuna, the Taj Mahal is synonymous with love and romance. It is believed that the name “Taj Mahal” was derived from the name of Shah Jahan wife Mumtaz Mahal and means “Crown Palace”. The purity of the white marble, the exquisite ornamentation, precious gemstones used and its picturesque location, all make Taj Mahal travel gain a place amongst the most popular ones. However, unless and until, one knows the love story behind the Tajmahal of India, it will come up as just a beautiful building. But, the love behind this outstanding monument is what has given a life to this monument.
Location: On the banks of river Yamuna in Agra
Year of Construction: 1631-1653
Built By: Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan
Spread Over: 42 acres
Significance: One of the Seven Wonders of the World
Best Time to Visit: October to March (Winters)
The best time to visit Taj Mahal revolves around the weather of Agra, the city of the Taj Mahal. As per the climate of Agra, the peak season for Taj Mahal visit is the winter season i.e., from October to March. Otherwise, there is no such thing as “the best time” to visit this magnificent monument. You may see Taj Mahal in any month of the year and it will come forward as breathtaking as it has always been. Infact, different seasons as well as different hours of the day lend a different aura to it.
Visit the Taj in the morning and it will come up with a pinkish glow to it. As the day passes, the pinkish glow turns into milky white by the evening. However, the radiance of the Taj under the moonlight is beyond any explanation.