The town of Fatehpur Sikri, a small place in the district of Agra, at a distance of about 40 kilometers towards Jaipur route, is known for its grand Mughal architecture, the highest door to the palace and a dargah of Sufi saint Sheikh Salim Chisti.
The History of Fatehpur Sikri
The credit to establish the city of Fatehpur Sikri goes to Mughal emperor Akbar, the great. Founded in the year 1569, the city remained in the limelight when king Akbar accorded the status of his capital to the city of Fatehpur Sikri. It served as the capital from the year 1571 to 1585.
The story of becoming Sikri the capital of Akbar goes like that Akbar had no offspring. He tried his best, but to no avail. Then, a sufi saint Salim Chisti blessed him and true to the prophecy of the saint, the king Akbar was blessed with a son, his heir. Overwhelmed, Akbar decided to give the non-descript town, the status of his capital, obviously to honour the saint.
He planned a walled city which includes several palaces, courts, mosque, buildings for public services and gardens with the best of available materials and skills. Best of architects and designers were employed. King Akbar took personal interest in the styling of the city and its buildings.
Akbar personally supervised the construction. Red stone, which was least expensive and easily available stone, being used in the buildings was extensively used in the buildings because it was available in and around areas in abundance.
Though Akbar very keenly contributed towards making of the city, but he could not rule from there for long. he abandoned it, due to several reasons in 1585, and made Lahore his capital. it is said that scarcity of water, and his wars with Rajputs of nearby states were the main reasons of abandoning Sikri.
The city of Fatehpur Sikri is a grand complex, spread into three kilometers, which consists of Diwan-eAam and Diwan-e-Khaas, Panch Mahal, Anup Talao, Mariam-uj-Jamani’s palace, Birbal’s House, Naubat Khana, Hiran Minar, Ibat Khana and Jama Masjid etc. The Buland Darwaza was the architectural marvel of the contemporary times and high of 55 meters. Later, the tomb of Salim Chisti was also constructed there, as a mark of respect to him.
The Architecture of Fatehpur Sikri
Two architects of Hindu origin Tuhir Das and Dhruv Chawla were instrumental in giving shape to the city of Sikri and its icons. Since Akbar was a tolerant emperor and used to show equal respects of other religions, he gave due respectets to various elements of architecture which were more in Hindu than Muslim architecture, at times and places. the designing of Bengal and Gujrat had its impact on the buildings of the city.
One of the highest gate of the fort, the Buland Darwaza was appended to the main building after about five years of completion of the mosque, inside the premises. It was dubbed as “victory Gate”, to commemorate the emperor’s successful campaign in Gujarat.
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Jama Masjid was known to be the first building which was constructed in the city of Sikri by emperor Akbar. Decorated with white marble inlay, the mosque stands testimony to the Indian style of architecture. A row of chhatris were also placed on the mosque.
Sheikh Salim Chisti, the Sufi saint passed in 1572. In an emotional display of his gratitude to the departed saint, the emperor constructed a befitting tomb of him, in the prominent place inside the campus, in white marbles.
A Hall of Public audience was named as Diwan-e-Aam. Similarly, to give audience to the royal guests, a Hall of Royal Audience or Diwan-e-Khaas was also constructed assimilating beautiful designing elements of Indian culture.
Timings and Entry
The Fatehpur Sikri monuments follow time regimen of sunrise to sunset, as other UNESCO heritage sites. The details of tickets and entry etc. can be browse from The Entry and Timings of the Monuments.
How to Reach?
Fatehpur Sikri is easily accessible from New Delhi, and Jaipur. It is about 40 kilometers from Agra towards Jaipur route. It can also be reached from Delhi via Mathura and Bharatpur, bypassing Agra. Road travel is the best option.
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