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Fatehpur Sikri – A World Heritage Site (1985)

The royal city at Fatehpur Sikri, situated 26 miles west of Agra was built during the second half of the 16th century by the third Mughal emperor Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri (the City of Victory) was the capital of the Mughal Empire for only some 15 years. The complex of monuments and temples, all in a uniform architectural style, includes one of the largest mosques in India, the Jama Masjid. Fatehpur Sikri is a concrete expression of the towering personality, the ambition and the exquisite taste of the great king.

Akbar is also reputed to be a very tolerant ruler, and the buildings at Fatehpur Sikri blended both Islamic and Hindu elements in their architectural style. One of the buildings even reflects the new sycretistic faith founded by Akbar, Din-e-ilahi, which though very short-lived remains a matter of controversy.

Popular legend has it that since Akbar was without an heir for a long time, he made a pilgrimage to the renowned Sufi saint, Sheik Salim Chisti, to seek his blessings. When a son -- later to be known as Jahangir -- was born to him, Akbar named him after the saint as a mark of his gratitude and built the new capital to mark his birth. Construction of the new ceremonial capital,

with its elaborate palaces, formal courtyards, reflecting pools, harems, tombs and a great mosque, commenced in 1571. A large number of masons and stone carvers worked hard on an area that was over two miles long and a mile wide; they used a brilliant red sandstone available locally, which provides the buildings with much of their lustre.
Shortly after the work was completed fifteen years later, it was realized that there was a lack of an adequate water supply and the pristine complex was abandoned.

The sprawling city is divided into two parts, the Palace Complex which has nine monuments and the Mosque Complex.

Some of the important buildings in this city, both religious and secular buildings, are:
Naubat Khana – Drum house: near the entry, where important arrivals are announced.
Diwan-i-Am – Hall of Public Audience: a building typology found in many Mughal cities where the ruler meets the general public. In this case it is a pavilion like multi-bayed rectangular structure fronting a large open space.
Diwan-i-Khas – Hall of Private Audience: famous for its central pillar with thirty-six voluted brackets supporting a circular platform for Akbar.
Raja Birbal's house: the house of Akbar's favourite minister, who was a Hindu. Notable features of the building are the horizontal sloping sunshades or chajjas and the brackets which support them.      Next....
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Distances From Agra
Taj Mahal Tours
   Delhi (203 km)
   Khajuraho (393 km)
   Lucknow (363 km
   Sikandra (10 km)
   Varanasi (577 km)
   Mathura-Vrindavan (58 km)
   Gwalior (118 km)
   Jaipur (232 km)
   Same day Trip to Agra by Train
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