Fatehpur Sikri is a hidden gem simply 37 km (23 mi) southwest of the bustling metropolis of Agra. This majestic city has a wealthy and intriguing historical past with roots tracing again to the Sikarwar Rajputs, a fierce subclan of warrior Rajputanas from North and Jap India who managed the realm briefly on the finish of the twelfth century. They’d be later ousted by the primary of the Mughals, Babur, within the early sixteenth century. Though vacationers flock to the well-known Taj Mahal all 12 months spherical, Fatehpur Sikri is a real diamond within the tough.
Inhabited because the Painted Gray Ware Interval (1200 BC – 500 BC), this historic city rose to prominence beneath the rule of the Mughal Emperor Akbar the Nice, who made it part of his capital metropolis within the sixteenth century. With its wealthy cultural heritage, Fatehpur Sikri is a real testomony to the grandeur and opulence of the Mughal kings.
The deserted Mogul metropolis of Fatehpur Sikri in northern India. ( Cezary Wojtkowski / Adobe Inventory)
The Majestic Purple Structure of Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri served because the capital for a cumulative complete of 14 years, earlier than being deserted fully when it was shifted to Lahore in 1585. A lot later, it was utilized by the British in India as a army outpost. At this time, Fatehpur Sikri is famend worldwide for its beautiful pink sandstone work and majestic pink buildings that don’t appear to have aged in over half a century.
Architecturally vital, historians usually level to the city planning of Fatehpur Sikri as a blueprint and evolution for Mughal city planning. Fatehpur Sikri was marked by magnificent administrative, non secular, and residential quarters, with palaces, public buildings, mosques, and residing quarters for the courtroom, military and servants of the king, amongst others.
The identical has been witnessed within the development of Shahjahanabad, the walled metropolis now generally known as Previous Delhi (a part of the bigger metropolitan metropolis of Delhi). Constructed beneath the reign of Shah Jahan (1628 to 1658), the walled metropolis of Shahjahanabad incorporates the majestic Lal Qila (Purple Fort) and the Jama Masjid (Arabic for “Friday Mosque”). Even after abandonment, it remained an space for non permanent visits by subsequent Mughal emperors.
The Panch Mahal palace at Fatehpur Sikri in India. ( Public domain )
The Tranquil Backyard Metropolis of Fatehpur Sikri
Situated on the banks of the River Yamuna, Fatehpur Sikri was a beacon of hope for the primary Mughal emperor, Babur, and his son, Humayun. Its tranquil setting, away from the chaotic metropolis of Agra, supplied a protected haven and an opportunity to indulge within the Mughal’s love of deliberate gardens.
The considerable water provide made it a really perfect location for the imperial military to arrange camp and the Mughals envisioned it as a lush, backyard metropolis the place they might relaxation, loosen up and indulge in the fantastic thing about the northern plains. With its handy location and picturesque environment, it is no surprise that Fatehpur Sikri rapidly rose to prominence within the Mughal Empire.
Earlier than it turned generally known as Fatehpur Sikri, the village was merely known as Sikri up till the Sultanate interval. This period lasted from 1206 to 1526 AD and was characterised by the rule of 5 heterogeneous Turkish empires in North India, shaped by slaves from Central and Western Asia. These conquerors introduced with them not solely the observe of Islam but additionally a spread of cultural parts, together with delicacies, structure, language, clothes and extra, that had a profound affect on the social and political panorama of the Indian subcontinent.
Depiction of the circumcision ceremony for Akbar’s sons in his newly constructed capital metropolis of Fatehpur Sikri. Dancers in Chaghatai Turkish gown carry out as Akbar’s weight in gold is being distributed to the poor. ( Public domain )
The Rising Significance of Fatehpur Sikri
By this time, Sikri was beneath the management of directors known as hakims (actually “rulers”), from the Bayana area (modern-day Rajasthan). The development of a mosque and tomb, in addition to different residential and non secular buildings, is recorded throughout this era, originating from the early 14th century beneath Allaudin Khilji.
Allaudin Khilji was a cruel chief of the Khilji Dynasty, the second Turkish slave dynasty to rule the Indian subcontinent from 1290 to 1320. He conquered huge areas of northern and japanese India, in addition to made incursions into central and southern India.
At the moment, Sikri was an necessary Muslim settlement throughout the Khalji and Tughlaq intervals, serving as an administrative heart within the Bayana area. Later, Humayun, son of Babur, sought refuge from Sher Shah Sur in Sikri throughout his 1540 to 45 AD exile.
Sher Shah Sur, an Afghan Pashtun ruler and expert administrator, displaced Humayun from the sub continental throne. In 1555, Humayun reclaimed the empire by defeating Islam Shah Sur, Sher Shah’s son. Sadly, he died unintentionally whereas falling from the steps of his library in Delhi in 1556, paving the best way for his son, Akbar, to prematurely take over the throne.
Shaikh Salím Chishtí with Mughal Emperor Akbar. ( Public domain )
The Nice Salim Chishti: Akbar’s Non secular Mentor and Information
One in all Islam Shah Sur’s larger contributions was honoring the nice Sufi saint, Salim Chishti, with the constructing of a khanqah or khangah at Fatehpur Sikri. This was a sort of state-sponsored housing venture for Sufis, a non secular order of Islamic ascetics and mystics.
Sheikh Salim Chishti, one of many well-known Sufis of the Chishti order, got here from the household of Baba Farid Ganj-e-Shakar of Punjab. The Chishti order, throughout the bigger fold of Sufism, had been famend for his or her preaching of affection, tolerance, and openness.
Born in Delhi, the younger mystic Salim moved to Fatehpur Sikri along with his father Sheikh Bahauddin, himself a famed Sufi of his occasions. Salim Chishti, by the way, would bless Akbar with the start of a son, coined Salim (later emperor Jahangir), when the Mughal emperor visited him and requested for his blessings.
Akbar had desperately been hoping for a male inheritor and over the course of 28 years had made a number of unsuccessful makes an attempt with a number of wives on this enterprise. After visiting Sheikh Salim, Akbar would find yourself having three sons with the daughter of Raja of Amber, Man Singh I, of whom Salim was the primary of the three, named in honor of the nice saint.
Salim Chishti tomb at Fatehpur Sikri. ( Roop Dey / Adobe Inventory)
Constructing a Khangah in Honor of Salim Chishti at Fatehpur Sikri
After the start of Salim in 1569, Akbar made a thanksgiving pilgrimage to the dargahs (a time period to indicate a tomb or shrine of Sufi saints) of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer and of Baba Farid at Pakpattan. He returned to Fatehpur Sikri after two years, ordering the development of a brand new metropolis adjoining to the khanqah of Sheikh Salim (the Sheikh would go away in 1571).
Sheikh Salim’s khanqah housing venture attracted the poorest of the poor, together with the poor stonecutters of the realm, who paid homage to him by constructing a small mosque across the cell the place he carried out his each day prayers.
Abul Fazl, Akbar’s courtroom historian and grand vizier between 1579 and 1602, and creator of the voluminous Ain-i-Akbari (in Persian), ranked Sheikh Salim as amongst these “who pay much less consideration to the exterior world however purchase huge data and perceive the mysteries of the guts.” Beneath the affect of Sheikh Salim Chishti, the Mughal emperor adopted the Chishti precept of sulh-e-kul, peace with all, because the official state coverage.
The good Mogul discoursing with a Humble Fakir by Sir Harry Hamilton Johnston. ( Public domain )
The Architectural Group of Fatehpur Sikri
On the coronary heart of Fatehpur Sikri lies the free-standing sq. generally known as the Diwan-e-Khas (Corridor of the Particular), the place the king would meet necessary dignitaries and emissaries. This was in distinction to the Diwan-e-Aam (actually which means “the Corridor of the Widespread Man”), the place the king would maintain viewers along with his folks. The positioning of the Diwan-e-Khas on this courtyard was symbolic, which means to emphasise Akbar as a common ruler presiding over all folks and religions.
Your complete fortified construction at Fatehpur Sikri lies on an remoted, elevated, rocky ridge, from the place the imperial metropolis begins. On the northern entrance lies the Agra Gate (within the course of town of Agra), with a triple-arched gateway. Upon getting into this gate lies the aforementioned Diwan-e-Aam, a big complicated with galleries on all 4 sides. There may be an imperial field in a single gallery, designed particularly for the emperor.
Upon crossing this, got here Prince Salim’s quarters, residing very near the emperor’s chambers. Crossing this can be a lovely pink sandstone column with delicate carvings on three sides to type porticos round a small corridor known as the Daftar Khana or “the document room.” There may be some dispute over this, as many up to date students believes that is the Ibadat Khana or “the home of worship,” the place Akbar would meet with monks and students of each faith.
Fatehpur Sikri close to Agra in India.( Rechitan Sorin / Adobe Inventory)
There may be additionally a royal eating corridor, with kitchens close by, and cordoned off from the feminine quarters fully. An exquisitely constructed seraglio generally known as Shabistan-i-Iqbal, the palace of Salim’s mom Mariam-uz-Zamani, has lovely moldings and brackets throughout. The emperor’s seven or eight foremost wives lived there, while the remaining lived within the minor harem, with unique entry from the emperor’s space, lined from any public scrutiny.
The imperial palace of the king was separated into two distinct zones: the personal Daulat Khana-e-Khas (Residence for Royalty) and the general public Daulat Khana-e-Aam (Residence for the Widespread Man). The personal courtyard boasts breathtaking constructions such because the Anup Talao (talao actually means lake), a powerful pool, and the Panch Mahal , a five-story colonnaded rectangular constructing. The courtyard additionally options the intricately carved and embellished Turkish Sultana’s room, formally generally known as the Hujra-i-Anup Talao , which was utilized by Akbar to obtain friends.
Lastly, the Jama Masjid , the earliest accomplished constructing on this summit of the ridge which included the tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti, acquired additional elaborations beneath Jahangir in 1606. To the south of the courtroom at Fatehpur Sikri lies the 40-meter-tall (131 ft) Buland Darwaza (the lofty gate), constructed to commemorate the victory at Gujarat in 1572. It stays one in all Akbar’s best monumental achievements until date
Prime picture: The Buland Darwaza, or Excessive Gate, was in-built 1602 as the principle entrance to the Jama Masjid mosque at Fatehpur Sikri in India. Supply: Shuklaankit90 / CC BY-SA 4.0
By Sahir Pandey
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