Fatehpur Sikri Monuments

Distance : 40 kmfrom Agra

¤ The City At A Glance
Khana i Am Akbar s palace
Sikri was a decrepit little village till the Mughal Emperor Akbar came visiting in 1568. Despite marrying the Amber princess Jodhabai in 1562, and having over 300 concubines at his beck and call, the monarch was childless.

Desperate for an heir, Akbar visited the saint, Shaikh Salim who was encamping here and who predicted that Akbar would have a son within 3 years. As fate had willed it, Jodhabai bore him a son the next year. The emperor named him after the mystic.
Not only that, he decided to move lock stock and barrel to the place and named it Fatehpur, or the ‘City of Victory’. His military conquest of Gujarat might also have persuaded him to shift base as must have the local abundance of red sandstone. In fact, apart from the marble-white mausoleum of Salim, nestling in one corner of the Jami Masjid – the city is entirely built out of red sandstone.

¤ The Main Attractions

The Diwani-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience) is where the monarch sat and lent a patient ear to all the petitions he received. A paved courtyard called the Pachisi was where the monarch played chaubar, a game that closely resembles chess– using slave girls as pieces.

TheDiwani-i-Khas nearby housed theIbadat Khana or the ‘House of Worship’ where the emperor debated various systems with noted theologians.
Although semi-literate, Akbar was the most liberal of the Mughal emperors, and in 1579, he was declared the highest authority in matters of religion by the famous ‘infallibility decree’. Three years later, the emperor founded Din-a-Ilahi or the ‘Religion of God’ which was an amalgam of all the major religions of the world. Decried by religious zealots from his own community as an apostate, Din-a-Ilahi disappeared as a faith after Akbar’s death in 1605.

Ankh Michauli
As you enter the Ankh Michauli (Closed Eyes) pavilion, you realise that Akbar could be as flippant as he was profound. Here the Mughal played ‘blind man’s buff’ and indulged in frivolous pranks in the company of his harem.

Jodhabai’s Palace
Jodhabai’s Palace is befittingly the grandest of all palaces in Fatehpur Sikri – as she was his most favoured wife and the mother of the crown prince. Other notable palaces at Fatehpur Sikri are the five-storeyed Panch Mahal and the Hawa Mahal.

Friday Mosque
Begun in 1571 and completed four years later, the Friday Mosque was the largest of its kind in India at the time, measuring 168 metres by 144, with a huge inner courtyard.
The Buland Darwaza or ‘Sublime Gateway’ was added later to commemorate Akbar’s military conquest of Gujarat.
The gateway, which rises to a height of 45 metres, presents an awesome spectacle of isolation, and has exquisite Persian calligraphy inscribed on it.
It says, “ The world is a bridge. Pass over it but build no house upon it, for whoever hopes for one hour, hopes for all eternity. The world is one hour. Spend it in prayer, for the rest is unseen”. No more eloquent epitaph to the Mughal Empire – or any other empire can be written.

Buland DarwazaSalim Chisti’s Mausoleum
and a trip to Fatehpur Sikri would be incomplete without visiting Salim Chisti’s Mausoleum – the sage who played an important role in Akbar’s life. Issueless parents visit his shrine in droves to pray for sons as Akbar did over four centuries ago. They tie little cords and paper wishes to the screens and any other object they can find.

The Everlasting Glory of Fatehpur Sikri
By 1585, Akbar wearied of the dry, hot climate of the city and moved to the cooler climes of Lahore. Within a few years, the pomp and pageantry of the city vanished – but the sandstone monuments endure to this day. Such were the construction methods employed, that there is not a single derelict monument in the city. The Mughal Empire has long since vanished from the firmament but the greatest of the Mughal emperors, Akbar etched his name forever in the sands of time by building the Fatehpur Sikri.