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Home » Agra Tours » About Agra » Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri 40 km from Agra, the city of Fatehpur Sikri served as the capital of the Mughal Empire between 1570 and 1586. But as abruptly as it had been built, it was abandoned due to the scarcity of water. A popular legend is attached to the city's conception. According to it, Emperor Akbar was without a male heir, and was granted one by the blessings of the Sufi saint Sheikh Salim Chisti. In honor of the saint, Akbar named the prince Salim, and decided to found a new city to celebrate his birth. And thus, the magnificent Fatehpur Sikri, the new capital, came into being. The city was intended to embody the noble ideals, and the humanitarian bent of this dynamic emperor. The finest monuments within this area are the Diwan - i - Am, Diwan - i - Khas, Panch Mahal, Jama Masjid, Panch Mahal, Buland Darwaza and the tomb of Saint Sheikh Salim Chisti.

After just fourteen years of life, the palaces of Akbar's great City of Victory fell silent. Its echoing corridors still seem to wait for the king to return. The hill-top city lies 37 kms from Agra in the state of Uttar Pradesh. This deserted city has two distinct complexes. The first comprises the royal enclosure of the palaces, the harem and official buildings and the second is the dargah of a Sufi saint, with a mosque and a lofty gateway. To wander among the red sandstone courtyards of Fatehpur Sikri is to travel back in time to when the Mughal emperor Akbar rode through its gateway after a triumphant campaign, to be welcomed by his delighted subjects and the royal court. When Akbar prayed before the Sufi saint, Sheikh Salim Chishti, he predicted that the king would have three sons. Chishti lived in a scheduled hill-top shack in a village called Sikri, a little removed from Agra. In 1569, one of Akbar's Rajput queens, who later came to be known as Maryam Zamani or Mary of the Age, gave birth to a son.

With Akbar begins a distinct style of architecture that blends a Islamic and Hindu elements to create something unique. The Islamic architecture of Afghanistan and Persia was marked by precise plans and subdued ornamentation in the form of geometric motifs. The Hindu and Buddhist style were more florid. The Akbari style which fused the two was born of he king's personal preferences and from his use of Hindu craftsman, primarily from Gujarat. The building material of Akbar's time was the robust red sandstone. The next great Mughal builder, Akbar's grandson Shahjahan, showed an increasing preference for the opulent extravagance of marble, culminating in the sublime Taj Mahal. Fatehpur Sikri reflects the many faceted character of the man who inspired it. The ruthless empire builder who enjoyed all the trappings of power and also the liberal, enlightened man who took a passionate interest in every aspect of life, be it religion, literature or the painting of miniatures.

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