Fatehpur Sikri Agra IndiaAbout Fatehpur Sikri Agra, Like the cactus flower that for a moment adorns the desert, so was the town of Fateh Pur Sikri, having a brief span of glory and abandoned only after 15 years of its construction, due to scarcity of water in the town. But it is true that no town like Fateh Pur Sikri was ever erected before or can be erected again. This magnificent town once the capital of Mughal Empire still stands majestically, almost untouched by the passage of time.
Building Of The Victory Town
Akbar, built this city in honour of Sheikh Salim Chishti, who had rightly predicted the birth of the son of the childless emperor. Akbar's first son was born in 1569 A.D. and was named as Salim in honour of Sheikh Salim Chishti.On Akbar's return from a pilgrimage to Ajmer he stayed in Sikri village where Khanqah of Sheikh Salim was located he announced his decision to erect a new city in Sikri. After Akbar's conquest of Gujarat in June 1573,the place was named as Fateh Pur "a Victory Town".
He had planned this city as his capital but shortage of water compelled him to abandon the city. After this within 20 years, the capital of Mughals was shifted to Lahore. Fatehpur Sikri was built during 1571 and 1585. Today this ghost city has a population of about 30,000. This deserted city has retained the structures and due efforts of the Archaeological department much of the city has been preserved as it was built.
Attractions Within Fatehpur Sikri Tours
Fatehpur Sikri is one of the finest examples of Mughal architectural splendour at its height. Though the city is in ruins, it is a place to visit if one comes to Agra. But in real terms Fatehpur Sikri is a place where one should spend some time. The sunset over the ruins is sight to cherish. Fatehpur Sikri is the best example of the culmination of Hindu and Muslim architecture.
The Buland Darwaza :
This monumental gateway is the integral part of the Mosque and is the main entrance to the Mosque, facing south. The Persian inscription on the eastern side of the main archway records that Akbar built this gateway to commemorate his conquest over Deccan in 1601A.D.and hence it is south oriented (facing Deccan). This gateway not only commemorates Akbar's conquest over Deccan but it also represents the greatness and grandeur of Akbar's empire.
Jami Masjid :
Jami masjid is the most sacred building in the Fateh Pur Sikri town and hence it is located on the highest point of the ridge, over which the town is intended. It is one of the largest and most ornately finished mosques in the world. The magnificent Buland Darwaja and the splendid courtyard with elegant Tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti adorn this vastest mosque. The mosque was completed in the year 1571 under the supervision of Sheikh Salim and his desendents. Since it is the principal mosque of the town, it is called Jami Mosque or the Friday Mosque, which means congregational mosque.
This lavishly decorated mosque marks the phase of transition in Islamic art, by using various indigenous architectural elements with efficacy. The façade composition of the building comprises of pillared Dalan, with beautiful 'Chhajja' supporting on brackets and the 'Chhatri' on the roof, making an impressive skyline. The main Iwan of the building is rather simple and contains a central arch, which is framed with the panels containing geometrical designs. The 'Iwan' contain three arched openings, which are also framed by panels, and contains fringes .The Iwan is crowned with five Chhatris, which adds to its elegant elevation.
The central 'Mihrab' is most gorgeously ornamented with inlaid mosaic of stones and glazed tiles on the borders .It contains carved inscriptions, which are painted in blue and golden colour combination. The other Mihrabs are also beautifully painted. The whole interior of the Iwan has been painted in stylized floral designs. These paintings are simply watercolour painting applied directly on stone surface.
Panch Mahal :
Panch Mahal, is the tallest tower in the palace complex. The pitched roof in the center demonstrates Christian architectural influence among the Persian (Islamic), Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain elements. This synthesis of architectural influences representing various religions is a reflection of Akbar's desire to create a syncretic religion, called "Din-i-Ilahi", literally meaning, "the Divine Faith", that brought together all the religions of his subjects. Probably Akbar's interest in this pursuit was inspired by his Sufi advisor and teacher, Shaikh Salim Chishti, around whose abode this magnificent city was built.
Ablution Tank :
This tank stands near the tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti. It is a built up of red sand stone and is 8.68m sq. in area and 1.22m deep. These kinds of tanks are essential in every Jami Mosque, as ablutions are required before prayer. This tank is connected to the other water sources through underground pipes.
Jamat Khana :
On the eastern side of Salim Chishti Tomb is located a beautiful red sand stone building enclosed by perforated screens and popularly known as Jamat Khana. As the name suggests the building was used as an assembly hall where the most distinguished disciples of Sheikh Salim Chishti used to pray and carried out their religious and devotional practices. All religious functions and gathering held in this hall were organized by Sheikh Haji Hussain. He was died in 1591A.D. and was buried in the south west corner of the building. After that Jamat Khana was converted in to the tomb of Sheikh's followers. Presently there are 24 graves lies in this building. Most of them are without the name of the deceased though some carries Quranic inscription. Men's gravestone contains a Pen Box or a turban and female's grave contains a flat board with a handle called "Takhti".
Zanana Rauza :
Zanana Rauza or "Women's Tomb" is a dark suite of room containing graves of women's of Sheikh Salim's family. The building is actually a part of northern cloister of the Jami Mosque. The northern wall of the building contains an under ground doorway connected to Salim Chishti's house so that women of Sheikh Salim's family could visit him during his religious discourses. Later on this building was converted into women's graveyard. At present there are two oblong chambers parallel to the wall of the mosque, which are further divided in to two chambers. Stone screens, containing geometrical patterns, again subdivide the outer chamber. This chamber contains grave of "Bibi Mattu Lanbiri" and other uninscribed graves.
Badshahi Darwaja :
Badshahi Darwaja Agra, The eastern gateway of the great mosque facing Agra is called Badshahi Darwaja; "The Royal Door" .The gateway is called so, because Akbar used it while coming from palace to join the congregational prayer. The gateway is a part of mosque wall .It is projecting out of mosque wall in the form of a half hexagonal porch or main entrance.
Tomb Of Sheikh Salim Chishti :
Tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti is one of the finest example of marble work in India. Infact there is no comparison of its lyrical and captivating beauty. It is situated in the quadrangle of Jami Masjid adjacent to the "Zanana Rauza" on the northern side, facing Buland Darwaja. Originally this was the place where Sheikh Salim Chishti carried out his religious discourses. According to Islamic traditions Sufis are buried at the spot where they led their austere life, therefore this site was the obvious choice for making his sepulcher. This mausoleum was completed in the year 1580-81.
The Birka (Cistern) :
The Birka is like a small well located near the prayer chamber of Jami Mosque. This was a great rain water cistern and was constructed by walling up some vaults below the quadrangle, and provided with the flight of steps. Emperor Jehangir mentions in his memoirs that this cistern was built to conserve rain water, as there was scanty of normal water supply in Fateh Pur Sikri.Jehangir called it Birkat which means reservoir or pond. This cistern was originally connected to the other water works through under ground pipes. Presently this cistern collects rain water from Sheikh Salim's tomb and other adjacent buildings.
Other Places to see in Fatehpur Sikri are the Birbal Bhawan, Karawan Sarai & Hiran Minar, Palace of Christian Wife, Palace of Jodha Bai, the Treasury, Diwan -i-Khas, and Diwan-i-am.