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FATEHPUR SIKRI

Fatehpur SikriWelcome to the city of Akbar's dreams, Fatehpur Sikri, 37km. west of Agra. The red sandstone minarets of this magnificent deserted city pierce the blue sky and offer the visitors a steady stream of surprises.

The City's Origin: Mughal emperor Akbar had no heir. He visited holy men to enlist their prayers for a son. When he visited Sheikh Salim Chishti who was living at the village of Sikri the saint foretold the emperor that he would be blessed with a son. Soon after a son was born to the emperor and was named after the saint. Akbar was so impressed by the sequence of events as foretold, that he resolved to build an entirely new capital at Sikri in honour of the saint.

How to reach : One can reach Fatehpuri Sikri, 37kms. from Agra, by bus or car. Taxis are available on hire from the Cantt. Railway Station, Agra. Buses for Fatehpur Sikri are available from the Cantt. Bus stand and the Bijlighar bus stand at regular intervals.

Entrance : One enters Sikri through the Agra gate. The straight road from Agra was laid out in Akbar's time. Most of the buses drop off visitors at the main entrance and park near the Buland Darwaza.

The walled city of Fatehpur Sikri had nine gates. Beginning on the eastern side from north to south the gateways are Delhi Darwaza, Lal Darwaza, Agra Darwaza, Suraj Darwaza, Chandra Darwaza and Gwalior Darwaza. On the west are Terha Darwaza, Chor Khirki & Ajmeri Darwaza. From Agra Gate one passes the sandstone Tansen's Baradari on the right and proceeds to the Chahar Suq, the place where the imperial band greeted the Emperor's appearances in Diwan-i-Aam.

The Amar Singh Gate lies to the South and is defended by a square bastion flanked by round towers. It had a crooked entrance with dangerous trap points and a steep rise. Its Naubat Khana Court with pillared pavilions is an impressive structure. Visitors are allowed entry through this gate only.

About the Fort : The construction of the Agra Fort was started around 1565 when the initial structures were built by Akbar. Shah Jahan replaced most of these with his marble creations. Some however survived, among them are- Delhi Gate, Amar Singh Gate, Akbari Mahal and the Jahangiri Mahal. The fort is crescent shaped, flattened on the east with a long, nearly straight wall facing the river. it has a total perimeter of 2.4 km. and is ringed by double castellated ramparts of red sandstone punctuated at regular intervals by bastions. A 9 mt. wide and 10 mt. deep moat surrounds the outer wall. An imposing 22 mt. high inner wall imparts a feeling of invincible defensive construction. The route through the Amar Singh gate is dog-legged. the layout of the fort was determined by the course of the river, which in those days flowed alongside. The main axis is parallel to the river and the walls bridge out towards the city.