"The GRAND center of Akbar's world...for 15 years." Top 5 Page for this destination Fatehpur Sikri by 850prc
Fatehpur Sikri Travel Guide: 241 reviews and 743 photos
Back in the mid-1500s, the renowned emperor Akbar the Great was living a splendid life over in nearby Agra. Being the all-powerful Moghul Emperor, Akbar had darn near anything that a 16th century world could offer. Riches, wives, armies, power. He had it all. He also had children....female children. Now being a dad myself and having a daughter, I'd say that little girls are a very special blessing.
But in 16th century India, the failure to father a male heir put into serious question the issue of royal succession. And on a side note, it put one's manhood into a bit of quandry as well. Bottom line, Akbar wanted a boy.
Well, in 1569, a mystic named Salim Chisti prophesized that Akbar, in combination with one of his wives, was about to get his male heir. When this prediction turned out to be true, Akbar was ecstatic. He decided to move his capital and royal court to the mystic's home village, a place called Sikri. Seeing as how Sikri itself was just a place in the road, this meant that an entire new palace needed to built, and so Akbar began construction of Fatehpur Sikri, which translates as "City of Victory".
So, the magic of having a son led to the creation of a true wonder of the Moghul world, the royal city of Fatepur Sikri. As it turns out, the royal court only chose to reside there for about fifteen years, after which the entire complex was abandoned.
The abandonment of the palaces and the local climate being very conducive to architectural preservation has worked in combination to give today's world an incredible glimpse into the grand royal past of India. And with Fatehpur Sikri being located only some 40 km away from heavily-touristed Agra, there is a steady stream of tourists partaking of Akbar's one-time dream city.
When one sees the gradeur of Fatehpur Sikri, it's shocking to imagine it being abandoned after only fifteen years. A common thought is that a lack of water led to the decision. Then as now, this part of India is desert and subject to rain shortages.
However, we were assured by our guide in Fatehpur Sikri that water was NOT the reason for the city being abandoned. It was more of a military move, as Akbar and his generals felt that the city was difficult, if not impossible, to defend against invaders from Persia and the middle east. THAT was the reason that this special place was left to the sands of time, in favor of a return to the facilities and defenses of Agra Fort.
(The photo to the left shows the remains of a large water vessel found on-site at Fatehpur Sikri. As it turns out, an elaborate water collection, retrieval and preservation system incorporated into the construction of the city made it one of the least likely cities to have water issues in 16th century India)
Akbar had to have a lot of bedrooms at Fatehpur Sikri, party because he had more than a few wives, and harem ladies. The Haren girls shared space, but the wives demanded their own space - not surprising considering that each was, in her own way, his queen.
We toured all of the princesses' boudoirs and suites, and not surprisingly, the one housing the lady who gave Akbar the male heir was the best of the bunch. Akbar didn't yet know what modern science has learned, with regard to sex determination - that it's totally a function of the male partner. So when Akbar finally found a way to donate a Y chromosone instead of another X, his now-favorite queen literally drew a winning hand of "king high" in the serious competition regarding royal room choice and planning at Fatehpur Sikri.
- Pros:A perfect window to the past grandeur of the Mughal Empire
- Cons:There is so much to see and learn, it's hard to keep it all straight on a short visit.
- In a nutshell:An invaluable opportunity to learn of the largesse, power, influence and - yes- cruelty of the Mughal emperors
The 54-meter high Buland Darwaza or triumphal gateway was built in 1575 to celebrate Akbar's successful Gujarat... more travel advice
Just adjacent to the treasury building and not far from the Diwan-i-Khas is the "astrologer's chair". Akbar was - as... more travel advice
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