A city built on the beauty of red sandstone, Fatehpur Sikri was founded by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar. Fatehpur Sikri is basically a fortified ancient city and served as the political capital of the Mughal dynasty from 1572 to 1585. Located in Uttar Pradesh, northern India Fatehpur Sikri is a symbol of the rich vibrant culture of the Mughal dynasty during Medieval India.
History of Fatehpur Sikri
As per historic records, the place gets its name after Salim Chishti, a Sufi Saint. Akbar had apparently visited the Sikri village for a consultation from Salim Chishti. He had successfully predicted the birth of Mughal Empire’s future heir Jahangir. When the prediction came true, Akbar built his very new capital in the village of Sikri considering the place to be highly auspicious. He even built a tomb in honour of the Saint Chishti which is famously known today as Jama Masjid.
Sikri was actually a village first noticed by Babar when he defeated Rana Sangha. As a token of thanksgiving he have the place a title Shukri. The name Fatehpur came later when Akbar marched from here to defeat the rulers of Gujarat. Hence the name Fatehpur Sikri, the City of Victory.
Fatehpur Sikri Heritage – An Architectural Marvel
The entire gateway of the ancient city is made out of red sand stone. The sunset at Fatehpur Sikri amplifies the beauty of the palace walls. The city in itself stands as a masterpiece of the ancient Indo-Islamic culture. Fatehpur Sikri also houses several other Mughal structures displaying both Hindu as well as Muslim Architectural influences. Due to shortage of water supply in Fatehpur Sikri, the capital of the Mughal Empire was shifted to Delhi in 1586.
Fatehpur Sikri is listed amongst the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1986. The city has a fortification wall which stretches around 11 km and has several gateways such as Agra gate, Chor gate, Delhi gate, Ajmeri gate, Lal gate, Tehra gate, Birbal’s gate, Gwalior gate and Chandanpal gate.
When is the best time to visit Fatehpur Sikri?
The ideal time to plan a Fatehpur Sikri is the between the month of November to February. The climate during this period is extremely pleasant in Fatehpur Sikri.
How to reach Fatehpur Sikri?
Fatehpur Sikri is well connected through different roadways with entire rest of the country. The nearest airport from Fatehpur Sikri is in the city of Agra. In case of roadways, Fatehpur Sikri is very well connected with Jaipur, Delhi and so on.
The distance between Fatehpur Sikri and Agra is just 39 kms. You can even reach this place through bus or train. The Fatehpur Sikri Railway Station is quite nearby and is just a distance of 1 km from the city centre. The railways also have good connectivity with Agra and other neighbouring cities.
You can even choose to self-drive/rent a taxi to reach Fatehpur Sikri. In addition to tourist taxis as well as buses, you can choose to travel in regular buses which are completely operated by UPSRTC.
Heritage and Key attractions in Fatehpur Sikri
The very first thing that you can easily see when you enter Fatehpur Sikri is the 54-metre tall Buland Darwaza. It is a historic gate built by Akbar to commemorate his victory over the rulers of Gujarat. Also known as the Gate of Magnificence, the gate serves as a doorway to Fatehpur Sikri. It is said that it took 12 years for the craftsmen to carve out this grand door. Red sandstones along with black and white marbles have been incorporated to build this beautiful structure.
In addition to Buland Darwaza, there are several other places to see in Fatehpur Sikri which gives you a glimpse of the architectural beauty which was present during the Mughal Dynasty.
Jama Masjid is a historical mosque built within the city of Fatehpur Sikri. Constructed during the 17th century, it is also one of the first buildings to be built inside the city and is a World Heritage Site. Jama Masjid is also known as the Friday Mosque and is the most visited place in the city of Agra. The mosque is also considered as a pilgrimage centre by many devotees. The structure has a single dome with two halls on its either sides. The entire Masjid is built keeping in mind the Islamic Architecture along with a touch of Persian Style. The interiors of the mosque are filled with beautiful floral designs in watercolour paintings.
Tomb of Salim Chishti
The tomb signifies the burial place of the famous Sufi Saint, Shaikh Salim Chishti. It is located in the mosque’s courtyard. Akbar had ordered the construction of this tomb as a mark of respect as he predicted the birth of Akbar’s future heir, Jahangir. The main building is covered with marble screens from all its sides. The main chamber’s door carries inscriptions as well as patterns from the Quran. The floor is made up of marble with colourful stones over it. The tomb of Salim Chishti is also known for fulfilling wishes with respect to child birth and hence is largely visited by devotees across the country.
The most extraordinary building is the Fatehpur Sikri is the Panch Mahal. The building has for four storeys which are built asymmetrically in descending order. The Mahal served as a shelter place for the royal ladies of the Mughal dynasty. The building also has 176 Jaalis signifying the existence of Purdah System which had to be followed by the Queens. The Mahal also has a pool in front of it and is named Anoop talab.
Birbal was the favourite Hindu minister of Akbar at his court. Birbal’s House is located near Jodhabai’s Palace. The building has four rooms which are connected internally with open doorways. The interiors of the building have a single border with few geometrical and floral designs, along with some tile work.
In addition to all these monuments, there are several structures which should be visited while in Fatehpur Sikri such as Hiran Minar, Jodha Bai’s Palace, Pachisi Court, Ibadat Khana, Diwan I Khas and Diwa-I-Alam.
Stay options in Fatehpur Sikri
One can come find several hotels in Fatehpur Sikri which offer very decent accommodations. Hotel Goverdhan, Kadamb Kunj Resort as well as Tourist Complex are few of the most popular choices amongst tourists who are looking forward to staying nearby Fatehpur Sikri. One can choose to stay in Bharatpur. Regenta Resort Bharatpur is an ideal place to stay. You can even choose to go back to Agra after spending a day at Fatehpur Sikri as the distance is less than an hour away.
The proud capital of the Mughal Empire, Fatehpur Sikri is one of the must go places to visit if you are interested in the history of the Mughal Dynasty. The place is surrounded by walls on three sides and by a lake on the fourth side. The architecture of the majority of the buildings here is based on Indian as well as Mughal architecture.
Though Akbar moved his capital from Fatehpur Sikri, the place still serves as a masterpiece carved out in red stone. Each and every monument in Fatehpur Sikri has its very own tale to tell.