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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