Fatehpur Sikri, the city of red sand stone is situated at a distance of 37 Kms of Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. It was built by Akbar in an honor of the great Sufi saint Salim Chisti who predicted the birth of heir of the Mughals. The best thing about this place is, it is easily accessible from the famous wonder “Taj Mahal” and can be coupled in a single trip.
This Red city has two main parts. One covers Buland Darwaza, Shahi Darwaza and the famous Salim Chisti tomb while other part is known as “Fatehpur Fort” which has many distinctive areas such as Jodhabai Mahal, Panch Mahal, Navratan Mahal, Mena Bazar and many more. Both these points lie just few meters away from each other.
The total journey from Agra (city of Taj Mahal) to Fatehpur Sikri is just one and half hour (including traffic time). You can park your vehicle at the parking area (charges around Rs 80/-). From the parking point you need to cover a stretch of 1 and half km to reach the Sikri. You can either hire an auto which charges Rs 150/- or Rs 200/- or you can also opt for government buses which charge only Rs 10/- (one way) and drop you at the gate of Sikri.
By the way, before you reach to the Sikri, you need to accomplish one mission which is saying “No” to all guides who keep running behind you all the way – either explaining the history of this great place or taking promises from you that you will visit their shops at the marble market when you are back. What surprised me more that even kids were following same ritual!
I stepped into the government bus and made my way to Sikri. From a distance itself the huge red sandstone door catches of your attention. This door is also known as King’s Door, as it was allowed to be used by VIP people, which means only by Akbar and his family members.
The entry is free with only two conditions; first, you need to remove your shoes outside and second, shorts are not allowed inside. But you need not to worry; you can always rent shawls to cover yourself. (Rs 20/- or so as you bargain)
As you cross the VIP gate, your immediate focus goes to the bright crimson marble mosque which is perfectly positioned facing to the Buland Darwaza. The mosque houses the tomb of Saint Salim Chisti and holds the special importance amongst locals due to the belief that “if you pray at Darga with your heart and soul then your wish will be granted”. There are many surrounding tombs, of which some are said to belong to the Royal Family members while others remain unnamed.
Exactly opposite to the Mosque is the famous Buland Darwaza which means Grand Door. It has made its entry into the Gunnies world book of records for its super strong 55 meter high architecture. The gate was added around five years later after the completion of the mosque and represents the ‘victory arch’ to commemorate the Akbar’s successful Gujarat campaign. The door (Buland Darwaza) has been adorned with many different sized iron nails which are epitome of gratitude towards the horses who lost their lives on the battlefield.
The other major attractions include famous Anarkali Darwaja (from where Anarkali is said to have fled from Fatehpur Sikri), huge courtyard known as Diwan-I-Am or a Hall of Public Audience (where the ruler meets the general public) and a large porch area where you can see many shopkeepers selling gift articles, jewelry items and miniatures of Taj Mahal. And after so much of walk you can curb your cravings with fruit plate or chips/wafers.
Once you cover this area, collect your footwares and visit Fatehpur Fort at just 3-4 minutes of walkable distance.
The article about Fatehpur Fort will be coming soon! Meanwhile do let me know if you have ever been to Fatehpur Sikri. You can post your comments too…