Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri is located on a pre-historic site with archaeological evidence dating to the 2nd millenium BC.  One of the Moghul leaders, Babar, won an important battle here in 1527 AD and later, his grandson, the great leader Akbar moved the capital from Agra.  The Sufi Saint Salim Chishti resided highly revered this area as a holy spot adding to the prestige of the location.  That this was a holy spot further influenced Babar when he selected the site for his capital.  Most of the buildings that are now at the site were constructed between 1572-1585 and are made of local red sandstone that is quarried nearby.

The grounds at the site were immaculately groomed and there were very few people around.  It was nice to be able to roam around the ancient buildings without any crowds & without any organized “supervision.”

The designs of the Imperial grounds were quite elaborate including the capital structure, administrative buildings, and housing for the ruler and his family.  The buildings were in wonderful condition owing to the site being declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The detail inside of the buildings was very intricate with a great amount of detail in the facades and stone carving.  I was very impressed with not only the beautiful stonework, but also that the site has remained in such good condition.  I really enjoyed wandering about the 500-year-old buildings.

On the west side of the palace complex lies the great Jami Masjid Mosque.  Inside the main courtyard by the mosque lies Salim Chishti’s tomb (top photo and below).

Inside the eves of the walkways, hundreds of local craftsmen created handiworks of all kinds.  The prices, while relatively inexpensive dropped to only 10 or 20% of the original asking price after I continued strolling by (I wasn’t in the market to buy anything).  But, considering the “new” lower prices, I decided to buy a pair of sandstone carved candle holders.  Only one of the two survived the ride home in my luggage.  The second of the two fragile pieces broke into a hundred pieces after passing through several airport screenings and many baggage handlers.

Later, while I was in Agra, I found that I had still overpaid for these candle holders by two or three hundred percent…

It was in these courtyards that Akbar’s court theologians debated the different religions.  Akbar invited religious leaders from Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, and many more.  They debated the differences of each religion and tried to find common ground in all religions.  Akbar later determined that it was wrong to try and press one’s religious views on another or cause them to change their faith.


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