Monday, April 2, 2012

Fatehpur Sikri

The red sandstone city Fatehpur Sikri is an interesting ghost town that can be seen on a day trip from Agra or a couple hour stop on a journey through Rajasthan. It was a thriving capital for roughly 20 years and the reason for its decline is still unknown. Though crowded and very, very hot, it’s a fantastic place to see if you’re in the area.

In 1568, Mughal Emperor Akbar, who was ruling India at the time, came to visit the small village of Sikri, some 40 km east of Agra. Despite the fact that he was married to his beautiful wife, Jodhabai and had over 300 concubines, he was still childless. But in Sikri, he encountered a saint who told him that his wife would give him a son within 3 years. And when the pregnancy occurred, Emperor Akbar decided to move his entire court to Sikri and renamed it Fatehpur - The City of Victory… Fatehpur Sikri.

In 1585, Akbar wearied of the hot, dry climate and gave up his palace in Fatehpur Sikri and moved back to the cooler climes of Lahore. Within a few years, the pomp and pageantry of the city vanished. It is thought that the city simply ran out of water to supply the populace, which hastened its decline, but the monuments endure to this day. There is a good sized modern village down the hill from the ruins and worshippers still come to the large Jama Masjid Mosque which was one of the first buildings to be constructed in the city.

The palace complex is truly beautiful with it’s many buildings. What remains now is a very well preserved ghost town that gives valuable insight into the architectural style from its period in history. The city has a mosque, several palaces, a caravanserai and broad streets and squares all made of Red Sandstone. It’s definitely worth a visit!

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