Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh
Fatehpur Sikri, which was once abandoned by Akbar has not lost its
charm even a bit after so many years. The majestic marble and red
stone structures of the city still narrate the formidable past of this
ancient city. The hustle-bustle may not be echoed from the abandoned
lanes of the city any more, but the exquisite architectural splendour
of Fatehpur Sikri has left a permanent impression in the legacy of
Turning the Pages of History
Once a small village, Fatehpur Sikri holds a fascinating tale behind its being the capital of Mughal Emperor Akbar. As the legend goes, Akbar, who had no son, decided to seek the blessings ofShaikh Salim Chisti who used to live in the village, Sikri. The saint prophesied that Akbar would have three sons and soon the saint's foretelling came true and Akbar saw the face of his first son Salim, whom he named after the saint. Akbar was so glad that he decided to build his new capital near Sikri and he renamed it Fatehabad (later it became Fatehpur) meaning 'city of victory'.
But the brief glory of Fatehpur Sikri came to an end when Akbar left Sikri and shifted to Lahore to escape the water scarcity in Fatehpur. The abandoned city then slowly started to see the signs of negligence and never regained its lost glory again. But history never forgot the city and now it is one of the most visited tourist destination and is now one of the World Heritage Site in India.
The Attractions That Fascinate
The number of architectural treasures that ornate the city with the colours of red and pink are the finest treasures of the Mughal artistry and royalty. As you take a walk inside the barren palaces and halls, the great majesty and excellence of the Mughals slowly unfolds in front of you.
Buland Darwaza (Gate of Victory)
Designed with precious stone and marble, Buland Darwaza claims to be the largest gateway in the world. Its semi-octagonal shape and dome like roof exhibit typical Muslim architecture. The main gateway is crowned by a row of thirteen domed small kiosks representing a true grandeur of the Mughals.
Diwan-E-Am (Hall of Public Audience)
Diwan-E-Am is a spacious quadrangular hall used for celebrations and public prayers. The pavillion situated in the west holds the Emperor's throne and its intricate artistry beautifies the hall even more. This was the supreme criminal court, which dealt with the cases of treason and armed revolt. According to the traditions, an elephant was tied at the north-eastern corner of the hall. You can see the stone ring even today in that particular corner.
Daulat Khana or Khas Mahal ( Hall of Private Audience)
It is the imperial palace that consisted 'Kwabgah' or Emperor Akbar's private apartments. The palace stands apart from other Mughal architectures due to its Indian style of execution and the absence of Persian grandeur can be felt. The richly carved bell shaped pedestals and elephant head columns of the palace are the features that give it an immense grandeur of royalty.
Jodha Bai's Palace
Built by Akbar for his Rajput wife, Jodha Bai, the palace flaunts the spirit of Hinduism in every bit of its corner. The sacred 'Tulsi' plant situated in the midst of the large courtyard, square doors in place of archways and jutting balconies over doors, all flaunt the Hindu architecture that blends beautifully with the Mughal style with domed turrets and excellent interior ornamentation.
Shaikh Salim Chisti's tomb
Chisti's tomb is built on an inlaid marble platform a metre high from ground level and the cenotaph inside the mausoleum is enclosed by white marble screens adorned with exquisite lattice work. The walls of the verandah are filled with holy inscriptions from the Koran. This mausoleum is venerated especially by childless couples, who come on pilgrimage to invoke the blessing of the saint.
Built by Akbar in 1571 at a cost of 5 lakh rupees, Jami Masjid is one of the largest mosques in India. The walls of the mosque are decorated with excellent marble tracery and exquisite paintings that demand your attention.
Nearest airport is in Agra at a distance of 40 km. Indian Airlines and private alliance airways connect Agra to Delhi, Khajuraho and Varanasi with regular flights. The airport in Kheria is about 6 km from the town and a good service of tourist taxi and auto-rickshaws are available at the airport.
Agra Cantt railway station is the nearest railhead of Fatehpur Sikri. Agra is an important railway station of Indian Central Railways and is served by Delhi-Mumbai. Delhi-Chennai and Delhi-Kolkata trunk lines. The two fastest connections from Delhi are the super-fast Shatabdi Express taking 2 hours and Taj Express taking 2.5 hours to reach Agra. Both the trains return to Delhi giving you a chance of day long excursion to Agra. Pre-paid taxis and auto rickshaws service are available outside the station.
Fatehpur Sikri is connected to Agra and neighbouring centres by regular bus services of UPSRTC. Some of the major road distances are: Agra 40 km, Bharatpur 25 km and Jaipur 225 km.
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