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Home » Uttar Pradesh » Fatehpur Sikri  

Fatehpur Sikri

Reflecting the splendour of Akbar and with a legend to tell, this capital city of the Mughal (1570-1586) lies 40 kms away from Agra. Emperor Akbar had made a pilgrimage to the powerful saint Sheikh Salim Chisti as Akbar did not have a male heir. When his prayer for a son was fulfilled he named his son Salim in honour of the saint and found the new city to commemorate his birth. Fatehpur Sikri thus became the new capital.
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Akbar was known for his immense respect towards other religions and had a great study of the same held in his new capital. The city was intended to embody the noble ideals, and the humanitarian bent of this dynamic emperor. A new religion called Deen-e-Elahi which attempted to amalgamate the positive aspects of all religions was created by Akbar.

The city houses some spectacular monuments of Diwan - i - Am, Diwan - i - Khas, Panch Mahal, Jama Masjid, Panch Mahal, Buland Darwaza and the tomb of Saint Sheikh Salim Chisti.

An Epic In Red Stone
Situated at a distance of 40 km from Agra is Fatehpur Sikri, the city built by Mogul emperor Akbar, to serve as the new capital of his vast empire. The city symbolises its creator's eclecticism and his earnest desire to break down the barriers of religion and faith that divide men.

Built on a hillock adjoining the village of Sikarwal, the city spread over an area of 10 km like a veritable museum made of red sandstone. The majestic buildings of Fatehpur Sikri stand silent testimony to the loftiness of Akbar's ideals. Legend says that Akbar was without a son and made a pilgrimage to this spot to see the Saint Shaikh Salim Chishti. He foretold the birth of Akbar’s son and in gratitude when his son was born Akbar named him Salim. Furthermore, he shifted his capital here and built a new and splendid city. He named it Fatehpur in memory of his ‘Fateh’ (Victory) over Gujarath.

Between 1570 and 1585, during the reign of Akbar, Capital of Mughal Empire was situated here. Then this city had to be abandoned mainly due to difficulties of water supply. Akbar was known to be very tolerant towards other religions. Hence we find a unique combination of Hindu and Muslim architectural styles in the construction of each building built by him at Fatehpur Sikri. He also developed here a new religion called Deen-e-ilahi, a new faith that synthesised the best from all religions. Today this city is an attraction no visitor to Agra should miss.

Fatehpur Sikri is surrounded by a stone wall, which has seven gates, by names Agra Gate, Delhi Gate, Ajmeri Gate, Gwalior Gate, Mathura Gate, Chandraphool Gate and Birbal Gate.

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Prime Attractions of Fatehpur Sikri

» Diwan-khana-I-khaas
Diwan-e-khas- the Hall of Private Audiences is another major monument. Its interior design is unique. A stone column in the centre of the building supports a flat-topped ‘throne’. From the four corners of the room stone bridges lead across to this throne. Akbar spent much time discussing with scholars of many different religious persuasions.

» Panch Mahal
Another attraction in the row is Panch Mahal. The ladies of the court once used this amusing little five-storey palace. Watching divers plunge from a high parapet into the pool below was a favourite pastime of theirs. Occasionally, Tansen and Baiju Baura, the musical geniuses who adorned Akbar's court, would render recitals here. The long, spacious corridors and the sculpted pillars bear testimony to the architectural genius of the age. Each of the five storeys is stepped back from the previous one. The lower floor has 56 columns while the dome of top floor is supported by only four columns.

» Jama Masjid
Main attraction here is Jama Masjid and Durgah of Shaikh Salim Chishti. Jama Masjid is said to be a copy of the mosque at Mecca, and is a beautiful building composition of elements of Persian and Hindu design. The main entrance is through 54 meter high Buland Darwaza – the Gate of Victory. The gate is probably the Asia’s tallest gate. In the northern part of the mosque’s courtyard is the superb white marble Durgah of Shaikh Salim Chishti built in 1570. The carved marble lattice screens (jalis) are very marvellous. If we see them from a particular angle, they look like a glass panel. Salim Chisti's mausoleum attracts visitors of all faiths from all over the country. They come here in the belief that the spirit of the saint lives on and that he will bless them, as he blessed Emperor Akbar.
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» Buland Darwaza
This gate can be approached from the outside by a 13-metre flight of steps which adds to its grandeur. The gate erected in 1602 AD to commemorate Akbar’s victory over Deccan is the highest and grandest gateway in India and ranks among the biggest in the world.

» Diwan-I-Am
The journey to the royal palace begins with Diwan-I-Am or the Hall Of Public Audience. This hall was also used for celebrations and public prayers. It has cloisters on three sides of a rectangular courtyard. To the west is a pavilion with the Emperor’s throne. Beautiful jali screen on either sides separated the ladies attending the court.

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