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Fatehpur Sikri - Imperial Ghost City

The imperial city of the Mughal dynasty between 1571 and 1584, Fatehpur Sikri was built by Mughal Emperor Akbar. The architectural grandeur of this deserted city cannot be described in words and one can only experience the aura of its magnificent edifices by seeing them. Fatehpur Sikri is located only 40 km from Agra city.





Bulund Darwaza


Buland Darwaza, the colossal triumphal arch, was built in 1575 on the southern wall of the courtyard. It celebrates Akbar's conquest of Gujarat. The towering portal has the height of 176 feet from ground level and 134 feet over the top step. The grand recessed central arch is the most magnificent of its kind in the entire range of Mughal architecture in India. The Buland Darwaza commands the landscape for miles.




























Modest ornamentation with calligraphy contains a famous line: The world is but a bridge: Pass over but build no houses on it.











 

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Panch Mahal

Panch Mahal, a five storeyed pavilion, stands on the western line of the courtyard. This is the badgir, the Persian wind tower for ladies of the harem. The jail screens between the 176 differently carved pillars have disappeared. Once these screens provided purdah (cover) to queens and princess on the top terraces enjoying the cool breezes and watching splendid views of Sikri fortifications and the town nestling at the foot of the ridge. In the courtyard Akbar played pachisi (checker board) with dancing girls as live pieces.







 

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Diwan-I-Khas


At the northern corner stands a small but grand single-storey structure of Diwan-I-Khas with the most magnificently sculptured and most photographed stone column at the center of the hall. It bursts forth into a set of 36 closely set vaulted and pendulous brackets supporting a circular platform from which radiate four passages.



















































 

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Tomb of Sheikh Salim Chisti

In 1580-81 eighty years after the saint died in 1572, Akbar built the tomb in red sandstone. In 1606, Qutubuddin Khan Koka, on orders from Jehangir, covered the edifice in white marble. Much later in 1866, a district magistrate of Agra replaced the plaster dome with white marble. The magnificence of the splendid jail screens carved out of huge marble slabs shows a rare perfection of craftsmanship. The dramatic serpentine brackets supporting the wide chajja on all four sides of the edifice have an amazing grace. The real grave lies in an undisturbed repose in the crypt, closed to visitors. Women devotees longing for a child come here and tie a colored thread to the jails. In a gesture of thankfulness they come back when their wish is granted










 

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Diwan-I-Aam


As one enters Sikri from the Agra Gate, one of the nine gateways on the way to the palace complex, Diwani-I-Aam, or the hall of public audience appears first. It is a huge rectangular walled-in courtyard where petitions were heard, proclamations made, embassies received and entertainment programs held. The royal balcony, set within a frame of jail screens, appears on the western front. In front of the royal seat, a stone hook is still found embedded in the ground. As per tradition, Akbar's pet elephant Hiran was tied to this hook to crush to death under its feet the head of the guilty. If it refused to obey thrice, the victim was freed.




 

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