General Information & Accomdation info on Fatehpur Sikri city of Uttar Pradesh - India  
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Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri

Situated 40 km from Agra, the city of Fatehpur Sikri is an imperial city built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar between 1571 and 1584. The architectural grandeur of this deserted city cannot be described in words and one can only experience the aura of its magnificent edifices by seeing them. If you are looking for something that symbolizes the grandeur of the Mughals, Fatehpur Sikri is a must-see during your Taj Mahal tour in Agra.

The buildings within Fatehpur Sikri are a unique blend of different architectural traditions. Though the general layout and concept of the buildings conform to the Islamic style of architecture, the actual buildings (mainly palaces), their ornate columns, arches, carving style, etc., show a strong Hindu style in general and that of Gujarat and Rajasthan in particular.

Dedicated by Emperor Akbar to his patron saint Sheikh Salim Chisti, Fatehpur Sikri was also Akbar's imperial capital for fifteen years. The new city, built on a ridge, grew into a magnificent township larger than contemporary London. A splendid edifice, the fort today rests in quiet peace - a mute witness to the times gone by.

There are a number of buildings within the Fatehpur Sikri complex to be savoured during your Taj holidays in Agra. Each of the small palaces in Fatehpur Sikri has a specific purpose and generally faces a courtyard. Diwan-I-Aam (Hall of Public Audience) is an enclosed space surrounded by colonnades and has a large open area where petitioners and courtiers once stood in attendance; Diwan-I-Khas (Hall of Private Audience) - used for serious, confidential, diplomatic and religious discourses - is famous for its central decorated pillar consisting of 36 elegantly carved brackets in the Gujarati style - heavy and ornate, and sprouting in shape; Panch Mahal (five-tiered palace) is an intriguing five-storied pavilion of winds. The Turkish Sultan's palace is known for exquisitely carved panels depicting wildlife-lions, birds, and foliage. Near the Diwan-I-Aam, one can see a tank called the Anup Talao. Four bridges link the central platform at the Anup Talao. Here the famous Jodha Bai's Palacecourt musician Tansen played music.

Jodha Bai's Palace (Jodha Bai was Akbar's Rajput queen) has the most distinctively Gujarati and Rajasthani architectural features. Also noteworthy are Mariam's Palace or Sunehra Makan (golden house), Palace of Birbal (one of Akbar's minister notable for his witticisms) and a miniature garden. Jami Masjid (mosque), sacred center of Sikri, symbolizes the city's spiritual prominence. In the vast courtyard stands the tomb of Sheikh Salim Chisti whose blessings are still sought by childless women.

Jama Masjid or the Friday Mosque
Also known as the Dargah Mosque, this is said to be a copy of the main mosque at Mecca. Its noted for its design which has persian and Hindu elements.

The monumental 54 m high Buland Darwaza, the Gate of Victory, is the main entrance. It was constructed to commemorate Akbar's victory in Gujarat. A koranic inscription upon it read, "The world is a bridge, pass over it but built no house upon it. He who hopes for an hour, hopes for Eternity, for the world is but an hour". Just outside the gateway is a deep well wherein local daredevils leap from the top of the entrance into the water. The Shahi Darwaza is the official entrance, where licensed guides can be hired.

Tomb of Shaikh Salim ChistiTomb of Shaikh Salim Chisti
The tomb visited by many seeking ful filment of their wishes was built in 1570. The carved marble lattice screens (jalis) are simply remarkable. Within the courtyard is the another tomb of Islam Khan, the saint's garden.

Place of Jodha Bai
This was the principal harem wing for Akbar's Hindu wives, over which Jodha Bai, mother of Salim (emperor Jehangir) presided imperiously from her spacious purdah - screened salon. The architecture of the building is a blend of styles with Hindu columns and Muslim cupolas The walls of the Hawa Mahal or Palace of the winds are made entirely of stone latticework.

Birbal Bhawan
This casket like palace belonged to Raja Birbal, Akbar's brilliant Brahimin prime minister, one of the "None Jewels of Akbar's Court". The palace fronts onto the Lower Haramsara, which was once believed to be an enormous stable with nearly two hundred enclosures for elephants, horses and camels.

Karawan Serai and Hiran Minar
The Karawan Sarai was a large courtyard used by visiting merchants. The Hiran or Deer Minar is said to have been erected over the grave of Akbar's favourite elephant.

Palace of the Christian Wife
There was a reperate abode for Akbar's Christian wife from Goa, Maryam, located close to the Jodha Bai Palace. At one time it was gilded throughout, earning the name the Golden Facade.

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.

To the right is an apparently looking two storeyed building, with corner kiosks, known as diwan-khana-I-khaas or Hall Of Private Audience. On entering it, one finds only a single vaulted chamber. In the centre stands a profusely carved column supporting a collosal-bracketed capital. Four narrow causeways project from the centre and run to each corner of the chamber. It is believed that Akbar’s throne occupied the circular space over the capital and the corners were assigned to the four ministers.

Turkish Sultana’s House
To the left of the Pachisi Board is the Turkish Sultana’s house. The house, as its location at the corner of Anup Talao shows, was a pavilion for repose, attached to the pool. The geometrical pattern on the ceiling is reminiscent of Central Asian carvings in wood.

The Treasury
To the left of the Diwan-I-Khaas is the Treasury or Ankh Michauli, once believed to have been used for playing the game, comprising three rooms each protected by a narrow corridor which were manned by guards.

Daulat khana-I-khas
Located in the corner to the left is the emperor’s private chamber. It has two main rooms on the ground floor. One housed Akbar’s library while the larger room was his resting area. On the first floor is the Khwabgah or the bed-chamber. It was connected with the Turkish Sultana’s house, the Panch Mahal, Mariam’s House and the Jodha Bai’s palace by corridors.

Best time to visit
From November to February. Access Agra is connected to Delhi by air. One can also use the Taj Express or the Shatabdi to get there. One can even drive or travel by bus (204 km from Delhi).


General Information & Accomdation info on Fatehpur Sikri city of Uttar Pradesh - India

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