The deserted city, lies along the top of a ridge. This new capital of Akbar, had to be abandoned only 14 years after it was created, due to lack of water. But the splendid palaces and mosques remain as a vanquished dream.
However, this ghost city is worth a view as the buildings in Fatehpur Sikri can be classified into religious and secular. On the one hand are Jami Masjid and the Dargah of Sheikh Salim Chishti whose latticework is among the finest in India. The Bais Palace, House of Birbal, House of Mariam, Panch Mahal, Shahi Darwaza and the Buland Darwaza definitely deserve a visit.
To offer gratitude to the Muslim saint Salim Chishti, Akbar built the first planned city in Indo-Islamic style - Fatehpur Sikri, the capital of the Mughal Empire between 1571 and 1585. However, the city was abandoned 14 years after its creation. A shortage of water is believed to be the reason. Akbar then moved his capital to Lahore and within 20 years Fatehpur Sikri was deserted and has remained that way ever since. When Akbar returned to the area in 1598 he set up shop in Agra, which led some to conclude that the city had been nothing more than whim of an emperor.
Fatehpur Sikri could witness the rise of the pomp and pageantry of the Moghul Monarchs, who lavished love and wealth on this fabled city, only for a very short period as the city was abandoned 14 years after its creation. However, their love and riches brought a change in the culture and life-style among the people of Agra, which is a mere 37 km away. Today however the buildings in this ghost city can be classified into religious and architectural wonders.
Climate & Geogaphical Location
Summers are hot and dry and the winters are cool and sunny. 37 km south-west of Agra lies the ruins of Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted capital of Mughal emperor Akbar at an altitude of 230 meters above sea level.
How to Reach
Fatehpur Sikri is well connected via Agra at 37 km by road, rail and air. By air, Kheria airport at Agra is the nearest airport and is well connected to cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Khajuraho, Jaipur, Varanasi and other important cities. By rail, the nearest and main railheads are Agra Cantt, Raji-ki-Mandi and Agra Fort railway stations, which are well connected to Delhi, Gwalior, Bhopal, Bangalore, Jammu Tawi and other parts of the country. By road, Fatehpur Sikri is well connected by good motorable roads from Agra. From Agra, one can further drive to Delhi, Mathura, Faridabad and the neighbouring states of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh as buses depart from Agra for Khajuraho, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Mathura frequently.
The first enclosure of the palace is a vast courtyard in which the emperor gave daily public audience and dispensed justice. A large open courtyard surrounded by cloisters, the Diwan-I-Am gave access to a large quadrangle which contained all the major functions of the palace, and the finest buildings of Fatehpur Sikri. Beside the Diwan-I-Am is the Pachisi courtyard, set out like a gigantic game board. It is said that Akbar played the game Pachisi here, using slave girls as the pieces.
At the northern end is the Diwan-I-Khas or the Hall of Private Audiences. An astonishing chamber dominated by a massive carved pillar, it supports a fantastic balcony. While its exterior is plain, its interior design is unique. A stone column in the centre of the building supports a flat-topped throne. Narrow stone bridges radiate from the corners of the room and meet at the throne. While some think Akbar spent time on the throne discussing and debating with scholars others believe it was from which he meted out justice.
The very first building and the largest of all the palaces, it was named after Akbars wife, the daughter of the Maharaja of Amber, and a Hindu. The interiors inside are a good blend of Gujarat, Mandu and Gwalior and traditional Islamic designs and also the Hindu columns and Muslim cupolas. Its blue tiled roof is the only splash of colour in Fatehpur Sikri.
This is an extraordinary 5-storied columnar structure set in the corner of the palace and commanding a view of the palaces below. Used by Emperor Akbar as a pleasure pavilion for special consorts, this amusing palace was used by the ladies of the court and originally had stone screens on the sides. These have now been removed, making the open colonnades inside visible. Each of the five storey is stepped back from the previous one until at the top there is only a tiny kiosk, its dome supported by four columns. The lower floor has 56 columns, no two of which are exactly alike.
When Akbar returned to Fatehpur Sikri, after a successful campaign of Gujarat the victory arch was constructed. The southern entry to the mosque was remodelled into a stupendous, 15 storied high gateway.
Salim Chistis Tomb
This jewel like tomb is made in white marble on the exterior while the inside is done well with mother-of-pearl, lapis-lazuli ,and topaz. It lies in the courtyard of the mosque. Salim Chishti was the sage who prophesied that Akbar would get three sons. And it came true. Thus, this place has become a wish fulfilling shrine where ladies without kids pray for a child. Just as Akbar came to the saint four centuries ago looking for a son, so do childless women visit his tomb today. The carved marble lattice screens are probably the finest examples of such work youll see anywhere in the country.