Fatehpur Sikri – the quiet sight
As opposite to the sights we have seen before, Fatehpur Sikri will stay in my memory as quiet and peaceful. Before day 3 we were always visiting the sights together with lots of other tourists, but at Fatehpur Sikri it sometimes felt as if we were alone. It might have been because we started very early at that morning or maybe because of the foggy weather. Whatever it was, I enjoyed it very much.
On our way from Agra to Jaipur our driver Ravi stopped for us at Fatehpur Sikri and dropped us at the central tourist parking place. You have to do a short walk from the parking place to the bus shuttle station. Ignoring the shops and guys who want to sell tourist gifts to us we managed the walk pretty fast and entered the tourist bus to Fatehpur Sikri.
Fatehpur Sikri – history
Fatehpur Sikri’s old name was Vijaypur Sikari. Akbar, the 3rd Moghul, decided to move the capital of the Mughal Empire from Agra to this place about 37 km from Agra. He decided to build a walled city with royal palaces, harem, courts, a mosque, private quarters and other utility buildings and named it Fatehabad, with Fateh, a word of Arabic origin in Persian, meaning „victorious.“
The construction of his city took about 15 years and it was later named Fatehpur Sikri. The city was build between 1569 and 1574 and Akbar and his court moved into the palaces in 1571. It is said that Akbar himself was closely involved in planning the city and its buildings. He should have been responsible for the architectural style of the buildings. The buildings are build with the easy available sandstone and you can see the influence of his Persian origin and as well the Indian influences. Soon after Akbar and his court moved to Fatehpur Sikri, it had to be left in 1585 after the water in this area disappeared.
After 1585 Akbar’s capital was shifted to Lahore. Fatehpur Sikri was occupied by a later Mughal emperor, later by Marathas and at least it was used by the British army as headquarter. After the abandonment of the city, people destroyed buildings to sell off the red sandstone. A great number of buildings made of brick and stone were completely lost. It was restorated by the British Empire starting in 1881.
Entering the palace you first cross the Diwan-i-Am. The main palace and courtyard are obtained thanks to extensive restoration work of British archaeologists before India’s independence in 1947 from Britain. Located in the palace complex is the“Diwan-i-Am“ (audience hall), surrounded by porticos. In the northwest corner of the Diwan-i-Am opens a simple archway onto a second courtyard where the private audience hall Diwan-i-Khas is located.
Fatehpur Sikri yard – Pachisi game
This is a panorama of the central place at Fatehpur Sikri – Courtyard of Daulat Khana. Please click here or on the picture below to get to the Multires-Panorama! In the central of this place you can see the Pachisi game, which is an indian game and precursor of our todays „Mensch Ärgere Dich Nicht“ (Germany) or „Sorry“ or „Trouble“ . It is said that Mughal Akbar liked to play this game with 16 harem slaves dressed in 4 different colors instead of normal pawns 😉 .
A beautifully sculptured column, the so-called throne pillar on which rested the throne, is the center of the hall. Not far away there are the three rooms of the treasury, decorated with representations of mythical sea creatures. In the center of the courtyard is the „Pachisi Court“, a huge stone pitch for Pachisi.
The Anup Talao pavillion (also named „house of the turkish female sultan“) is situated southwest of the Pachisi field. The house was probably the palace of one of Akbar’s favorite women. It is decorated with balconies and carvings in Kashmiri style and shows Turkish, Persian and even Chinese influences.
Akbar’s private palace, the Daulat Khana („Happy Place“), lies on the other side of the garden. It consists of a number of richly ornamented buildings. The building on my photo here may have been a government office where the accounts were kept. A domed pavilion, named Astrologer’s Seat, fronts the southeast corner.
The Panch Mahal or five-store palace rises northwest of Khwabgah. It narrows to a single tower chamber and is build on 176 different columns. The ground floor consists of 84 pillars which is significant number of Hindu astrology.
Women’s Quarters – Miriam’s House
Near the closed women’s area, at the „Sunahra Makan“, it is told that the mother of Akbar, Mariam Makani or one of his women has lived. The building is also known as „Miriams House“ or „Palace of the christian queen“, although nothing points to a connection between Akbar an a christian woman.
Fatehpur Sikri Gallery:
Fatehpur Sikri is definitely worth visiting! Try to be there very early in the morning. Starting early will be payed by a quiet scenery and relaxed sightseeing.
Jaipur – coming soon