Fatehpur Sikri – a deserted Moghal captial

Posted: January 31, 2012 in 2011 Winter - India, India

This superb fortified ghost city of  Fatehpur Sikri was the doomed capital of the Mughal empire between 1571 and 1585, during the reign of Emperor Akbar. Doomed to fail as it was constructed a long distance from the nearest river, so water shortages were an issue from day one… not the most intelligent of ideas you may think. So why was this splendid city built? Well the Mughal Emperor Akbar was childless and sort the services of the Sufi Saint Shaikh Salim Chisti – a wise main and prophet, who predicted he would have a son and subsequent heir to the thrown. The prophecy came true so Akbar built his new capital here as royal sign of gratitude to the Sufi who who lived in a cave on the ridge at Sikri.

Below a photo within the Jama Masjid

A white marble encased tomb of the Sufi saint, Salim Chisti (1478–1572) who had given Akbar the prophecy of an heir being born

The city was a melting pot of religions, philosophy and learning, Akhar himself enjoying long discussions in the Diwan-i-Khas (photo above) – Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. He himself advocating that the true religion was a blend of the four. The building having the appearance of a two-storey pavilion, when in actual fact the building is a single space with an particularly clever central carved ornate column that opens out to four walkways to the corners of the structure (photo below.)

It’s architecture mirrors Akbar religious point of view and blends traditional Indian columns, Islamic cupolas and turquoise-blue Persian roof tiles….

Below Buland Darwaza a 54 metre high gate leading into Jama Masjid 1576-1577  ‘victory arch’, built to to commemorate the Akbar’s successful Gujarat campaign. Inscribed over the archway it says,

“Isa (Jesus) Son of Mary said: The world is a bridge, pass over it, but build no houses on it. He who hopes for an hour may hope for eternity. The world endures but an hour. Spend it in prayer, for the rest is unseen”.


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