Fatehpur Sikri Journals

Fatehpur Sikri: A City Abandoned

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A June 2007 trip to Fatehpur Sikri by phileasfogg

Fatehpur Sikri Photo, Agra, India More Photos
Quote: Built by the Mughal emperor Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri was inhabited for just over a decade – but its palaces remain among India’s finest.

Fatehpur Sikri: A City Abandoned

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Overview

Fatehpur Sikri Photo, Agra, India
Quote:
Fatehpur Sikri is one of India’s none-too-rare examples of a town that actually centres around just one major attraction. Like Khajuraho, Mahabalipuram, Orchha and Mandu, Fatehpur Sikri, built in the 16th century by the Mughal emperor Akbar, is also a modern township that survives simply on the tourist trade. And with one of India’s biggest tourist draws (and glory be, now also one of the Seven Wonders of the World!) – the Taj Mahal – in nearby Agra, just 40 km away, this splendid fortress is right in the heart of exotic India. There are two distinct sections of the amazing palace and mosque complexes at Fatehpur Sikri. The one most Indian visitors come for is the busy, noisy comple...Read More

Fatehpur Sikri

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Attraction | "The Dargah of Salim Chishti"

Fatehpur Sikri Photo, Agra, India
Quote:
The 16th century Sufi mystic Shaikh Salim Chishti lived in a hermitage at Sikri village – about 40 kilometres from Agra – and was a member of the Chishti silsila or order. He was a well-loved and revered figure in contemporary India, and perhaps his greatest claim to fame is the fact that he predicted the birth of three Mughal princes. In the late 1560s, the emperor Akbar was getting desperate for an heir; around this time, Salim Chishti predicted that Akbar would become the father of three sons. The emperor, already in awe of the Chishtis, was suitably impressed. When one of his wives became pregnant, he sent her to live at the hermitage of the mystic until her baby was born. The child, b...Read More

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Fatehpur Sikri

Agra District, Uttar Pradesh

Fatehpur Sikri

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Attraction | "Richly Royal: The Emperor's Buildings"

Fatehpur Sikri Photo, Agra, India
Quote:
Fatehpur Sikri was, first and foremost, a royal town. The emperor was the heart and soul of the palace complex, so it’s hardly surprising that structures built for his use – whether official or personal – abound. From Akbar’s bedroom to the courtyard where he relaxed with his queens, to the ceremonial halls where he discussed matters of state with his ministers, these buildings consistently reflect the might and wealth of the Mughal emperor. Diwan-e-Aam: The Diwan-e-Aam, the Hall of Public Audience, was where the emperor met his subjects – to accept petitions and tributes, bestow gifts and titles, pass judgment and so on. The Diwan-e-Aam at Fatehpur Sikri is unusual in that it’s not really...Read More

Fatehpur Sikri

Agra District, Uttar Pradesh

Fatehpur Sikri

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Attraction | "The Ladies of the Court: The Queens’ Palaces"

Fatehpur Sikri Photo, Agra, India
Quote:
Since the harem was such a very integral part of the imperial court, it’s hardly surprising that buildings to house Akbar’s wives, their retinues and other female members of the royal family, form a large part of the palace complex at Fatehpur Sikri. These structures, big and small, stretch all across the complex and although all of the palaces are very intricately carved and decorated, I like to think that these – the palaces of the queens – are exceptionally delicate, fragile and feminine. Screened, delicately carved, often profusely ornamented, the harem’s dwellings are very evocative, perhaps, of the elegant ladies who once inhabited them. Jodhbai’s Palace: Akbar’s best-known qu...Read More

Fatehpur Sikri

Agra District, Uttar Pradesh

Fatehpur Sikri

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Attraction | "This and That: Functional Buildings"

Fatehpur Sikri Photo, Agra, India
Quote:
With the entire Mughal court having shifted to Fatehpur Sikri, provision had to be made to house those who served the imperial family. In addition, the more functional aspects of administration needed buildings from which offices would run. Although many of the courtiers built their houses in the town of Fatehpur Sikri (below the hill on which the mosque and the palaces stood), some of the most important functionaries had to remain within easy reach of the emperor. Their homes and places of work are in stark contrast to the richness that characterises the imperial family’s domain, but they’re worth seeing nevertheless. The Haramsara: When you enter the palace complex, the first building yo...Read More

Fatehpur Sikri

Agra District, Uttar Pradesh

Fatehpur Sikri

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Attraction | "The City that Akbar Built"

Fatehpur Sikri Photo, Agra, India
Quote:
Fatehpur Sikri is today the world’s most perfectly preserved ghost town. India’s climate is gentle to stone if not to people, and a modern visitor could well be persuaded that these intricate casket-like buildings, with their elaborately carved stone ornamentation still crisp and unweathered, had been completed only yesterday. – Bamber Gascoigne, The Great Moghuls The emperor Akbar (born: 1542; reign: 1556 – 1605) is generally regarded as the most able and competent of the Mughal emperors. The empire and its administration were strengthened and expanded considerably during his reign, and he is credited with fairly liberal religious and social reforms as well. However...Read More

Fatehpur Sikri

Agra District, Uttar Pradesh

Fatehpur Sikri

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Attraction | "Through the Buland Darwaaza and Beyond "

Fatehpur Sikri Photo, Agra, India
Quote:
Of the two sets of buildings at Fatehpur Sikri, the religious one – which contains the Dargah of Salim Chishti, the Jamaat Khana and the Jama Masjid – is the one we first visited. We arrived shortly after noon on a blisteringly hot summer day. Having shaken off the guides, flower-sellers, souvenir-sellers, and generally limpet-like local touts, we climbed up the steep stone steps to the towering gate known as the Buland Darwaaza. The Buland Darwaaza is an impressive edifice in red and gold sandstone, inlaid with inscriptions from the Quran. In front of it, in two neat rows, sit people selling religious keepsakes, roses, postcards, and cheap jewellery. On the right, sitting in one of...Read More

Fatehpur Sikri

Agra District, Uttar Pradesh