Whether the famed victorious city was built over an ancient Jain piligrimage centre or an abandoned place of worship of Hindus will be matter of debate for a long time to come by historians. The famous moghul emperor who reigned from 1556 upto 1605 almost half a century is supposed to have planned and constructed the new capital to honour Sufi Saint Salim Chisti. The construction took almost 15 years and it served as the Moghul capital from 1571 to 1585. Once again Fathepur Sikri was abandoned due to shortage of water and frequent warfare with Rajputs. The city was name Fateh which meant victory in Arabic.
Our trip to Fatehpur Sikri was planned in such a manner that we were able to cover Agra fort and Taj Mahal too. We had booked a cab to pick us up from Agra Cantt. and proceeded towards Fatehpur Sikri enroute we visited a resort and lost precious 1 hour which could have been utilised to cover more of the fortress.
Some of important buildings inside the Fatehpur Sikri fort complex are :
Buland Darwaza : A huge arched gateway with the centre arch being hollow and two side archways at the side created to signify symmetry for the dome like structure. The artistic edifice is built out of sand stone and shades of border is finished with marble. There are 2 incriptions on the wall addressed by Mariam to her son Isa “the world is a bridge, just pass over it, refrain from building house over it. ….
Jama Masjid : This edifice is built for Jumma prayers by multitude of the population. It was first building created inside the fortress with the massive entrance. It is decorated in white marble. The courtyard is beautifully laid out for prayers with marble inlays. Epigraphical evidence points out to the edifice built in 1571-72 AD.
Jodha’s Palace : She was know as the Mariam uz Zamani or the principal queen of Akbar. Many historians dispute the name, since the Akbarnama refers to Rajput princess name as Heer Kumari, maybe it was her pet name. She gave birth to the prince Salim who later on went to become Emperor Jehangir. The marriage was a political alliance between the Rajputs and Moghuls literally. She was married in Feb 1562. She remained a Hindu and refused to be converted. Most of religious festivals of Hindu such as Holi, Janamastami, Dusherra and Diwali were celebrated with great fanfare in her palace. Many a times Akbar participated in the festivity to show solidarity with the Hindus. Whether Jodha was real or not but she was a reel character for films and serial which won accolades.
Panch Mahal : A five storeyed palatial structure built for the royal ladies. The final dome which is located on the fifth floor resembles a Chatri where the emperor & queen might be seated. The columns 176 in all support the superstructure. The columns 176 in all support the superstructure. The ground floor consists of 84, first floor 56, Second floor 20, Third floor 12, and top floor 4 columns. The emperor visited the upper floor during full moon nights and the queen or consort would sneak around the third floor and join the emperor for a romantic night.
Birbal’s House : It shows that Akbar gave importance to his hindu court jester Birbal. He developed friendship with Akbar due to his witty and intelligent answers to some of puzzles posed. Folks tales were built on his fabled solutions to many a knotty problems. The folklore is converted into comic books to teach the children even today. Birbal was one of the Navarathna’s in the court of Akbar.
Salim Chisti’s Tomb : This tomb is built with marble in the Jama Masjid Complex. It is a single storeyed structure built in honour of the sufi saint Salim Chisti ( 1478- 1572 ). The building is filled with airy jalis all round. The front portion of the building is laid out in marble.
History has been time and again remind us that we should take care of the water bodies and harvest them to recycle and use the rain water. But we never seem to have learnt a lesson or two from the past.