Fatehpur Sikri

The founding of Fatehpur Sikri reads like a fairytale. When all else had failed, the EmperorAkbar came here in search of the renowned Sufi mystic, Sheikh Salim Chishti, to ask the blessing of a son. His prayer was heard, and soon a son was born. In honour of the saint, Akbar named the prince Salim and vowed to found a new city. And so Fatehpur Sikri, a magnificent new city rose on the craggy hills 40 kms from Agra. And for 16 short butmemorable years it was the wonder of travellers from all over the world.

Today, Fatehpur Sikri is a deserted, phantom city. But the inner citadel is immaculately preserved. Its walls, palaces, baths, royal mint,courts and gardens still stand in splendidhomage to a great visionary and builder. The heart of the palace complex however, is verymuch alive. For at the tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti, a white marble canopy set in the greatcourtyard of the Royal Mosque, pilgrims still come in thousands to offer flowers, tie a threadin the latticed screens, and to pray for the gift of son.

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 are derived from the Persian & Hindu architecture. Entrance to this mosque is through the Buland Darwaza which was built in Gujrat and is 54 meter high. 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.

Attractions of Fatehpur Sikri

The Diwan-I-Kas is also known as the "The Jewel House or The Ekstambha Prasada"(Palace of Unitary pillar). A fine taste in jewelry and knowledge of the market was an accomplishment of a Moghul gentleman. In this royal chamber for imperial gems and jewels, Akbar sat on the top of the capital to inspect precious treasures.This elegant structure with unusual interiors is composed in two stories from outside, but is single chambered with high ceiling from inside. It is surmounted by 4 kiosk and lies in the middle of a court.

Buland Darwaza
The 54 meter high Buland Darwaza or triumphal gateway was built in 1575 to celebrate Akbar's successful Gujarat campaign, is the most stupendous architectural work of the Mughals. The gateway is approached by a steep flight of steps, which add height and majesty to the entire structure. The gateway is designed in colored stone and marble.

Panch Mahal
Panch Mahal Fatehpur Sikri, AgraThe most intriguing building in Fatehpur Sikri is the Panch Mahal (five-tiered palace), which is a five-storied pavilion of winds. The first two floors are of equal size, while the next two are graded. On top is a single kiosk or open pavilion. Each of the floors is supported on pillars. Originally, jali screens stood between the pillars. The pavilion was originally used by the women of the royal household and ladies of the harem. From the top of the Panch Mahal, one can have a panoramic view of this imperial city with its buildings, palaces, and the courtyards linking them.

This is a beautiful chamber, on the first floor is Akbar's private room where ladies from the harem could easily visit him. They also met religious guests and watched court proceedings from here from behind the screens. The Emperor retired here for his short afternoon sleep and for relaxation at night. He held an informal court here with his favorite noblemen such as witty Birbal, Abul Fazl, Nakib Khan and other philosophers and Sufis.

Anup Talao
It is also called as "The Peerless Pool or Kapur Talao". This was the recreation place for the Emperor and it was here that Tansen used to entertain Akbar and his guests. During festivals the whole tank was filled with coins handed out in fistful and skirtful proportions.

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