Fatehpur Sikri: The City of Victory
The flanking bastions, high battlements, majestic palaces and the huge fortified walls— it is a sheer miracle to note how little has changed, especially when it comes to Fatehpuri Sikri in Uttar Pradesh.
Lauded as one of the best preserved Mughal architectures in India, Fatehpur Sikri is a historical city about 37km away from Agra. The city is also lauded for giving birth to the famous fables of Emperor Akbar and his Navratnas—the 9 court advisers. The site is also called as the 'City of Victory' to mark the victory (fateh) of Emperor Akbar over the Rajput rulers of Sikri Garh.
Travel to Fatehpur Sikri for its stunning palaces, majestic courtyards, private quarters and the 5 mile long fort wall. Craftsmanship of West Bengal and Gujarat is explicit in the carvings and etching done on the walls of the buildings in the city.
The history of Fatehpur Sikri states that it was set up by Akbar in 1569 as a sign of respect to Shaikh Salim Chisti—the saint who predicted the birth of Akbar’s heir. It was planned by the architect Tuhir Das based on the Indian aspect of art. This planned wall city served as the capital of Mughal Empire from 1571-1585. It took almost 15 years for its completion but was later deserted due to water crisis.
A blend of Hindu, Jain and Islamic styles is evident in the architecture of Fatehpur Sikri. Locally made red sandstone called ‘Sikri sandstone’ was incorporated in the construction. The pavilions near the main city palace are laid in defined geometric patterns inspired from the fortified sites of Arab and central Asia. The city is surrounded by walls on 3 sides and a previously existing lake on the 4th side.
According to a legend, the city ran out of water due to a curse by an old man. He was the father of a famous dancer in Akbar’s court named Zarina. She was falsely accused of a theft planned by Madhavi— the maid of Queen Jodha Bai out of jealousy. Hurt by the accusation made on his daughter, the father cursed the city. Soon the wells dried up and there was no water left for the people.
Following are the main tourist attractions of Fatehpur Sikri
Also known as Gate of Magnificence, the stunning gateway was erected in 1576 AD. Emperor Akbar built it to celebrate his triumph over Gujarat. It serves as the southern entrance to the city. The structure boasts of being the World's highest gateway with height of 54m.
The monument reflects a beautiful combination of Mughal and Persian style of architecture. It is also called as the Gate of Victory. A deep well is situated just outside the Darwaza. The top of the structure is seen covered with Chhatris which are an integral part of Indian architecture. Intricate carvings have been done on the walls of the gateway.
It is the Hall of Private Audience. It stands in the north-eastern side of the complex. The building is square in shape and is topped with four chhatris on its roof. A heavily carved pillar in the hall makes it look even more attractive. A platform is placed at the top of this pillar which was presumably the seat of Emperor Akbar.
The central pillar has 32 spiral-shaped brackets. Diagonal galleries run across the hall where the court ministers used to sit during regal days. The building can be entered from its four sides. Emperor Akbar had a great tolerance toward every religion which can be seen in the motifs drawn on the pillar.
Also called as 'Badgir', a Persian word which means ' Windcatcher'. It is a five-storey building. The idea behind its construction was to build a palace where the princesses and queens could enjoy the cool breeze and view of the city. The Persians had initiated this style of architecture after their arrival in India.
There are four floors in the building. The size of each floor goes on decreasing as you head in upward direction of the palace. There are 84 pillars on the first storey, 56 pillars on the second, 20 pillars on the third and 12 pillars on the fourth storey of the palace. The capitals of these pillars bear rich carvings in the shape of flower vase or arch patterns.
Jodha Bais Palace
Jodha Bai was the wife of Mughal Emperor Akbar. Standing close to the Panch Mahal, this palace belonged to Empress Jodha Bai. She was a Hindu, therefore one can spot Hindu motifs like srivatsa mark, elephants, parrots, hamsas and lotuses.
The citadel stands as a perfect blend of Mughal and Rajput architecture. Curvilinear-shaped pillars adorn the courtyards of the palace. There are several compartments in the harem connected through courtyards. Red coloured stones have been used in the construction. Every room is embellished with Hindu related designs and patterns. The main part of the palace has 8 pillars with Chhatris on the roofs.
Excursions from Fatehpur Sikri
Globetrotters can also hop to nearby places like Bharatpur(24km), Agra(35km), Mathura(69km) Firozabad(79km) and Faridabad(89km).
Shopping in Fatehpur Sikri
Loha Mandi, Sadar Bazaar and Raja ki Mandi are some of the famous shopping destinations included in the Fatehpur Sikri Travel Guide. Variety of clothes can be seen lined in the streets of Raja ki Mandi. Foodies can savour some lip-smacking Mughlai cuisine in the restaurants of Loha Mandi.
When to Reach
June- September is the best time to visit the city as the weather is pleasant and ideal for sightseeing. Urs Celebration (March- April) is also a sought after time to travel to Fatehpur Sikri.
How to Reach
Air: Agra Airport (40km) is the nearest aerodrome to the site connected to major Indian cities.
Rail: Agra Cantonment railway station (40km) is the closest railhead to the destination.
Road: Government buses run from Agra for the destination. Tourists can opt for taxis or auto-rickshaws to commute within the city.
Fatehpur Sikri Tour Package is like a bonus for exploring different facets of North India tourism. Book for one and witness the North India's most stunning architecture, right away.
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