Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri


Babar thanked Allah after defeating the Rajputs. And this how the name, Sikri, was born. But only the name stays. The pavillions and gardens built by Babar are no more. Much later Akbar made Fatehpur Sikri to commemorate the conquest of Gujarat.

Finally it was the magical power of Sheikh Salim Chisti, the Muslim Sufi that bestowed the Amber princess Jodhabai with a son (1569). Akbar paid him tribute by shifting the capital in Fatehpur, the native place of Salim. The entire capital with a fort grew up in the hands of Akbar. Scarcity of water compelled him to shift the capital again after 16 years.

There are a number of beautiful buildings at the complex that reflect the ingenuity and architectural sense of Akbar. The Diwan-I-Aam or the hall of public audience was the place where Akbar used to preside over the court.

The hall of public audience is enclosed by a series of arcades. Diwan-I-Khas or the hall of private audience is the venue where Akbar used to held serious discussion on religion with Imams, pundits, and Christian missionaries.

The Panch Mahal or the five-tired palace is one of the remarkable buildings in the complex. As you move up the five storied pavilion the size and number of pillars decreases while the size of floor increases.

The Jami Masjid is another remarkable building at Fatehpur Sikri, which is considered as one of the largest mosques in India. The Buland Darwaza or the Victory Gate, which Akbar constructed after his victory in Gujarat, is a wonderful work of the Mughal architecture. The tomb of the saint Salim Chisti is a must visit at the complex.

Akbar's Tomb

Akabar's Tomb

Akabar's Tomb

Akbar was perhaps the longest serving ruler during the Mughal rule in India. Akbar started building his mausoleum, which is a typical Timurid tradition during his lifetime. But before he could complete the mausoleum he died. His son Jehangir completed the construction of the mausoleum. Jehangir pulled down most of the earlier structures, which Akbar had built and re-designed the mausoleum.

Akbar's tomb is located in Sikandra, which is about four kilometres from Agra. The graveyard has four gateways built of red sandstone; each of them is in a distinct style of architecture- Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Akbar’s own style.

The huge and ornate Buland Darwaza is the main entrance. Just beyond the garden is a four storey mausoleum on the grave of Akbar. The 22.5 metre high edifice is almost a replica of Fatehpur Sikri. The first three floors are in red sandstone. The topmost floor is in white marble. Started by Akbar, the construction was completed by Jahangir.

Jahangir Mahal

Jahangir Mahal at the entrance is a combination of Hindu and Central Asian architectural styles. It was built in 1570. The biggest of the palaces in the fort, it was built by Akbar for his son. Its area is 75 sq. km. nearby is Noorjahan’s bath tub – carved out of one single piece of stone – where she used to bath in rose water.

Beside it is the palace of Jodha Bai, the Rajputs Queen of Akbar and the mother of Jahangir. Shahjahan Mahal was built later in its northern part.

Panch Mahal

A five storeyed Persian architecture that resembles a Buddhist monastery. Each storey is narrower than the lower one for easy flow of air during summer. The number of the pillars goes down storeywise-from 84 to 56-20-12 and finally only 4 with a dome atop them. Each storey has its own uniqueness. There were trellised walls in the past. Possibly this was the venue for the emperor’s informal get together. Steep are the steps that take you up on the rooftop to give you an overview of the entire fort. Khas Mahal, the emperor’s own room, is another unique architecture.

Musammam Burj

Musammam Burj or the Octagonal Tower – a two-storey palace was built by Shahjahan for Mumtaz. It is bedecked with precious jewels. A captive in the hands of his son Aurangzeb, Shahjahan spent the last eight years of his life in this house watching the reflection of the Taj in the mirror. Musammam Burj, therefore, is also called the Prisoner’s Tower or Taj-I-Mahal. The Burj has exquisite mosaics and trellises. But the Tower is badly damaged today.

Diwan-I-Khas

Diwan-I-Khas (hall of private audience) built between 1636 and 1637, was for the emperor’s private appointments. The famed Mayur Simhasna was placed in Diwan-I-Khas. It looked like double storied from outside whereas it is actually not so. The black throne belonged to Jehangir. Presently, entry is not allowed inside Diwan-i-Khas. Diwan-I-Khas has beautiful latticed windows with intricate patterns.

Sheesh Mahal

Opposite to the Mussaman Burj and just below the Diwan-i-Khas hall, at the northeastern end of the Khas Mahal courtyard is the Sheesh Mahal or the Glass Palace. The complex is dedicated to the bath of the begums, a fascinating piece of Turkish architecture. The Mahal has its roof and walls covered in glass in such a way that the light of one lamp is reflected in hundreds.

Chini Ka Rauja

Chini-Ka-Rauja is the mausoleum of ShahJahan’s poet chief minister Afzal Khan and his wife. Afzal Khan died in Lahore in 1639. But he had already built Chini-Ka-Rauja in 1635. The walls are covered with colourful enameled tiles in Persian style. Lack of maintenance has left it ignored in the tourism map.

Ram Bagh

The famous Mughal garden was built by Babar during 1526-30. It was known as Arambagh in the past. Babar’s body was laid here for some time before being taken to Kabul. An octagonal red sandstone dome is supported by 32 pillars. Ram Bagh is badly damaged today. On the way is Juara Bagh, Built in memory of Babar’s daughter.

Diwan-I-Am

diwan-i-am

Diwan-I-Am

The huge Diwan-I-Aam, built of wood, in the past, is at the centre of the Fort. It was given a completely different look by Shahjahan during 1627-34. This was, in fact, the meeting hall of the emperor with his subjects. Three sides of hall are open. The roof is made of red sandstone. The walls have white marble trellises. The rooftop is also of red sandstone.

The dooms are also unique. The emperor used to sit on a bejeweled throne perched on a white marble pavilion that rested on 40 pillars.

The Nagina Masjid or the gem mosque is a private mosque raised by Shah Jahan with typical cusped arches for ladies of the court. There is Mina bazar for the royal ladies to buy things from the marble balcony beneath the Nagina Masjid.

The Moti Masjid near the Nagina Masjid is a perfectly proportioned pearl mosque built in white marble. This grand mosque has three domes in white marble raising their heads over the red sandstone wall.

Buland Darwaza

Buland Darwaza built in 1573 as a memorial to the emperor’s conquest of Gujarat. It is one of the biggest doors in the world. Buland attracts a huge number of tourists. The architecture is a combination of the Hindu and the Persian style. The door has inscriptions from the Quran on it.

Sikandra

Sikandra, a mausoleum of Akbar, 10 km from Agra. Main building has five beautiful storeys and is surrounded by a big garden. Inside main gate built in 1613, there exists a beautiful tomb of Akbar made of white marbled and has four minarets.

Building is a mixed architecture of Hindu Mandir style and Muslim Mosque style. The grave is in the basement. The steps on your right will take you down through amazing frescoes inlaid with gold.

The huge hall has bow-shaped arches. A plaque opposite the entrance declares that the God is great and the names of gods from 99 different religions inscribed on it. The tomb is started by Akbar; the construction was completed by Jahangir in 1613. Jahangir made several changes in the original plan to make this monument more splendorous. The mausoleum is known for an open terrace decorated with carved latticework screens.




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