About 40km west of Agra is the magnificent fortified Mughal city, Fatehpur Sikri, which was formerly the capital of their empire from 1571 and 1585. As the legend goes, Akbar, the most celebrated Mughal emperor, visited the village of Sikri where he was predicted by Sufi Saint Shaikh Salim Chishti that an heir to the Mughal throne would be born. After the prophecy came true, the emperor ordered to build his new capital here. The magnificent part of the architecture is that the-then emperor was liberal enough to build three palaces for each of his favourite wives, one a Hindu, one a Muslim and one a Christian. This Indo-Islamic masterpiece also houses a mosque which is still in use.
This World Heritage Site is a day trip from Agra. The planning and construction of the walled city took more than 15 years to complete. Based on the Persian principles, Akbar had great interest to revive the magnificence of the Old Persian courts. Most of the major Mughal institutions such as the Din-i-Ilahi, Ibadat-Khanah, Tarikh-i-Ilahi, the doctrine of Sulh-i-Kul were founded.
Built of red sandstone in the trabeate beam-and-post order, the palaces have ornamental arches, pillars, brackets-and-chhajjas, chhaparkhats, jharokhas and many more. There are also sparing use of domes and corbelled pendentives.
Fatehpur Sikri had royal palaces, halls for public and private audience, the zenana or the quarters for women, courtyards and grand avenues. Jama Masjid or the grand mosque, which is still in use, was the first construction circling which the entire city was built. Birbal Bhavan and Sheikh Salim Chishti tomb are the other two most visited buildings of Sikri.
Fatehpur Sikri's architecture is truly an all-India character. The prolific Indo-Muslim composite style makes it one of the finest tourism destinations of Uttar Pradesh.
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