Fatehpur Sikri - History of Fatehpur Sikri - Attractions in Fatehpur Sikri in Agra

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Fatehpur Sikri, Agra

Fatehpur Sikri, a fascinating town, lies 37 kms. south west of Agra, on the Jaipur-Agra road. It is one of the most extraordinary medieval cities of India. This city was built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar out of red sandstone in the 16th century. Fatehpur Sikri, once an imperial capital frozen in time, was abandoned as abruptly as it had been built. Now, only the fortifications, massive gateways and palaces remains in this wonderful city. Fatehpur Sikri was built during 1571 and 1585. The city is a fine example of culmination of Mughal and Hindu architecture.

History of Fatehpur Sikri
There is a wonderful and interesting history related to the origin of Fatehpur Sikri. The Mughal emperor Akbar had many wives but had no heir. The desire for a son led him to many holy men and finally to the renowned Sufi Saint Sheikh Salim Chisti who lived in an isolated cave near Sikri. The saint blessed Akbar and soon a son was born to him. 

The emperor named his son "Salim" after the saint and erected the grand Jami Masjid near the saint's dwelling. According to the legends if Akbar had to be blessed by a son, a sacrifice was to be made of a very dear one. The saint's son volunteered  to be sacrificed so that the heir to the throne could be born. To the west of the mosque lie two graves, one of the saint and the other of the saint's infant son. And thus Salim was born to the empress, Mariam-uz-Zamani on 30th August, 1569 and the emperor vowed to build a great city. Thus emerged the splendid city of Fatehpur Sikri on a stony ridge. This city was built during 1571 and 1585 and was abandoned as abruptly as it had been built. Due to shortage of water, the Mughal emperor abandoned the city and within 20 years shifted the capital to Lahore.

Attractions in Fatehpur Sikri
Today, even when 400 years have passed, the magnificence of this royal city has not faded. Today its courtyards, pavilions, audience halls, massive gateways and palaces stands in a perfect state of preservation.

The magnificent buildings in Fatehpur Sikri can be divided into two categories namely, the religious and the secular. The religious buildings are the imposing Jami Masjid with the Buland Darwaza. The Buland Darwaza is the most stupendous gateway of India which stands about 176 feet high. The Buland Darwaza was erected in the year 1602, to commemorate Akbar's conquest over Deccan.

The doorway is richly carved with verses from the Holy Quran cut in bold Arabic letters. Entrance to the Dargah is through the Buland Darwaza. The Dargah of Sheikh Salim Chisti or Jami Masjid was built in 1581 out of pure white marble. Thousands of devotees and tourists from all over the world visit the Fatehpur Sikri to offer their gratitude to Sheikh Salim Chisti.

The secular buildings are the Diwan-e-Khas, Jodha Bai's Palace, Mariam's House, Birbal's House, House of the Turkish Sultana and Panch Mahal, all depicting a variety of architectural styles. The Panch Mahal is a five storeyed structure, each of which has a pillared hass smaller than the one below it. Based on 176 richly carved columns, the building served the purpose of a recreation room for the ladies of the royal harem. Other monuments leading to the palace of Jodha Bai are Khawabgah (house of dreams), Anup Talao, Abdar Khana, Pachisi Court, Ankh Micholi (the palace where Akbar used to play hide and seek with the ladies of the harem, and which later became the imperial treasury), Astrologer's Seat, Daftar Khana, Ibadat Khana and Haram Sara.
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