The mystique of Fatehpur Sikri

Print edition : July 08, 2016

The Badshahi Darwaza through which Akbar entered the Masjid-Dargah complex. Photo: SHASHANK SHEKHAR SINHA

The Masjid-Dargah Complex, crowned by the majestic Buland Darwaza (not in picture), made famous because of the Sufi saint Salim Chishti. Photo: SHASHANK SHEKHAR SINHA

Akbar (1542-1605).

The Abdarkhana (left), where fruits, water, food and beverages were kept for the emperor, and the Panchmahal, a four-storeyed columnar structure which may have served a recreational purpose and offered a good panoramic view of the surroundings. Photo: SHASHANK SHEKHAR SINHA

The Buland Darwaza, which was constructed to commemorate Akbar's conquest of Gujarat. Photo: SHASHANK SHEKHAR SINHA

The exquisitely carved "Turkish Sultana's Pavilion" (right) as seen from the Anup Talao. The Jewel House at extreme left. Photo: SHASHANK SHEKHAR SINHA

The Anuptalao complex (literally “peerless pool”) with the restricted access Diwankhana-i-Khas and Khwabgah in the background. Photo: SHASHANK SHEKHAR SINHA

Inside the Diwankhana-i-Khas, which contained Akbar’s imperial chambers (Khalwatkada-i-Khas) and resting place (Khwabgah). Photo: SHASHANK SHEKHAR SINHA

The marble tomb of Salim Chishti. Built in 1580-81, it is particularly known for its serpentine ornate brackets on the pillars, chajjas (eaves) and the parapet. Photo: SHASHANK SHEKHAR SINHA

The richly-carved pillar and the circular platform inside the Diwan-i-Khas, or "Jewel House". Historians have not been able to agree on the use that Akbar put it to. Photo: SHASHANK SHEKHAR SINHA

The courtyard of the principal Haramsara, where Akbar's wives lived and which was popularly known as "Jodha Bai's Palace". The distinct blue-tiled ribbed roof of one of the residential structures was used to break the monotony of the red sandstone. Photo: SHASHANK SHEKHAR SINHA

One of the residential structures of the principal Haramsara. Photo: SHASHANK SHEKHAR SINHA

Mariam's House, also called Sunhara Makan, or “Painted House”, after the beautiful murals and gold-coloured paintings that once decorated it. Scholars believe it belonged to the queen mother Mariam Zamani (Hamida Banu Begum). Photo: SHASHANK SHEKHAR SINHA

Inside the 'Turkish Sultana's Pavilion'. It has beautiful carvings on brackets, pillars and pilasters, and gives the semblance of intricate woodwork rather than stone masonry. Photo: SHASHANK SHEKHAR SINHA

The stone platform in the Diwankhana-i-Khas where Akbar used to have discussions. Photo: SHASHANK SHEKHAR SINHA

The Diwan-i-Aam, with the imperial pavilion from where Akbar dispensed justice to the people. Photo: SHASHANK SHEKHAR SINHA

The prayer hall of the Jami Masjid profusely decorated with inlaid stone and painted geometrical and floral motifs. Photo: SHASHANK SHEKHAR SINHA

Clothed in layers of legend and folklore, Fatehpur Sikri, the city that Akbar built and made his capital, was an architectural marvel of medieval India. A journey back in time to explore its real historical importance.Text & photographs
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