Sikri is a fascinating ghost city built in the 16th century, 37 km from Agra.
Built during the second half of the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar, Fatehpur
Sikri (the City of Victory) was the capital of the Mughal Empire for only some
10 years. The complex of monuments and temples, all in a uniform architectural
style, includes one of the largest mosques in India, the Jama Masjid.
This historic site was founded by Akbar the great, who at
26 years did not have a heir. He went to a saint, Shaikh Salim Chishti who lived
in a city called Sikri. His blessing gave Akbar 3 sons. As a gesture, Akbar
built a whole new city in Sikri. It was built between 1569 and 1585 and was
intended to be the joint capital with Agra, but was soon deserted because the
water system could not support any residents. It remained untouched for over 400
years now and its palaces are a remainder of the extravagance of the Mughals.
The city was intended to embody the noble ideals, and the humanitarian bent of
this dynamic emperor. The finest monuments within this area are the Diwan - i -
Am, Diwan - i - Khas, Panch Mahal, Jama Masjid, Panch Mahal, Buland Darwaza and
the tomb of Saint Sheikh Salim Chisti.
Reasons to Visit
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.
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.
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.
To the left of the Sunehra Makan is the largest and the most important building in the
royal palace, named after Akbar’s Rajput wife, Jodha Bai. This spacious palace
was assured of privacy and security by high walls and a 9 metre guarded gate to
the east. The architecture is a blend of styles with Hindu columns and Muslim
Hawa Mahal &
To the right of Jodha Bai’s palace is Hawa Mahal, the Palace of Winds. This
small-screened wind tower faces the garden and is attached to the palace. The
garden is laid out in the Char Bagh style with straight walls intersecting at
right angles and divided by shallow channels.
To the north west of the Jodha Bai’s Palace is the 2 storeyed palace occupied by Akbar’s
two senior queens- ruqnayya begum and salima sultan begum. It has two
storeys-four rooms and two porches with pyramidical roofs below and two rooms
with cupolas and screened terraces above. The building combines hindu and muslim
atyles of srchitecture.
Sheikh Salim Chisti
To the North of the Mosque is the Dargah of Sheikh Salim Chishti. This Dargah was built
in 1570. Here, childless women come for blessings of the saint. Even Akbar was
blessed with three sons, when he came here. The lattice work in the Dargah is
among the finest to be found any where in India.
One of the largest mosques in India, Jami Masjid was built in 1571 AD. Inside,
there is a vast congregational coutyard. To the right, at the corner, is the
Jammat Khana Hall and next ot this is the tomb of the royal ladies. To the left
of the Jami Masjid is the Stone Cutters’ mosque, the oldest place of worship at
Fateh Pur Sikri. It is entered through the eastern entrance known as the Buland
This gate can be approached from the outside by a 13-metre flight of steps which adds to
its grandeur. The gate erected in 1602 AD to commemorate Akbar’s victory over
Deccan is the highest and grandest gateway in India and ranks among the biggest
in the world.