Fatehpur Sikri Agra, India
The city of Fatehpur Sikri is located at a distance of 40 km from Agra. According to legend, the Emperor Akbar, who did not have a male heir, was delighted when a son was born to him after he made a pilgrimage to visit the Sufi saint Sheikh Salim Chisti. To commemorate this event he decided to name his son Salim (later known as Jahangir) and to build a perfect city to honour the Saint.
Fatehpur Sikri was built to symbolize the power of Akbar's empire, to represent the meaning of Allah's message to mankind and to display the wonders of the Islamic faith. Completed in 1578, Fatehpur Sikri has a grand palace where Akbar's court functioned for a few years, until the shortage of water caused the city to be abandoned.
Other grand monuments in Fatehpur Sikri are Panch Mahal, the Buland Darwaza, a mosque dedicated to Sheikh Salim Chisti, a tomb for the Sufi saint within the mosque, a prayer hall for the new religion called Din-i-Illahi started by Akbar and halls of public and private audience, the Diwan-i-am and Diwan-i-Khas.
The Panch Mahal is a five-storeyed palace where the Akbar's wives and the ladies of the harem lived. The carved lattice screens of the Panch Mahal shielded the women from view while allowing them to see what happened outside. Akbar is believed to have played games of chess or chequers with court attendants as pieces moving across the paved courtyard.
The Buland Darwaza is a grand gateway built by Akbar to celebrate his victory over the rulers of Gujarat. The towering portal rises 176 feet from ground level. The grand recessed central arch is the most magnificent gateway India. The words on the arch in Islamic calligraphy state: "The world is but a bridge; Pass over but build no houses on it."
The magnificent palaces and buildings of the abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri stand today as a testimony to the power of nature over the grand ambitions of the mighty Mughal Emperor Akbar.