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Fatehpur Sikri

'Fatehpur Sikri' (, ) is a city and a municipal board in Agra district in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. Built near the much older Sikri, the historical city of Bharat, as it was first named Sikrigarh, was constructed by Sikriwal Rajput Rajas Last Emperor Maharana Sangram Singh beginning in 1500. At Seventh attack of Akbar Sikriwal Rajput left Palace after that Sikrigarh was named Fateh(victory)pur Sikri.There was a temple of Sikriwal Rajputs Kuldevi(Named Chamad Devi)In front of Lal Darwaja of Sikrigarh(at present Fatehpur Sikri).After victory on sikrigarh Akber served as the capital from 1571 to 1585.[1] He was named Salim to honour the saint and would later rule the empire as Emperor Jahangir. Here after the second birthday of Jahangir in 1571, Akbar then 28 years old, decided to shift his capital from Agra to the Sikri ridge, to honor Salim Chishti, and commenced the construction of a planned walled city which took the next fifteen years in planning and construction of a series royal palaces, harem, courts, a mosque, private quarters and other utility buildings.[2] He named the city, Fatehabad, with Fateh, a word of Arabic origin in Persian, meaning "victory", it was later called Fatehpur Sikri.[3] It is at Fatehpur Sikri that the legends of Akbar and his famed courtiers, the nine jewels or Navaratnas, were born . One of them, musician and singer Tansen is said to have performed on an island in the middle of the pool Anup Talao.[4] Built during the 16th century, the Fatehpur Sikri is one of the best preserved collection of Mughal architecture in India.[5]

According to contemporary historians, Akbar took a great interest in the building of Fatehpur Sikri and probably also dictated its architectural style. Seeking to revive the splendours of Persian court ceremonial made famous by his ancestor Timur, Akbar planned the complex on Persian principles. But the influences of his adopted land came through in the typically Indian embellishments. The Easy availability of sandstone in the neighbouring areas of Fatehpur Sikri, also meant that all the buildings here were made of the red stone. The imperial Palace complex consists of a number of independent pavilions arranged in formal geometry on a piece of level ground, a pattern derived from Arab and central Asian tent encampments. In its entirety, the monuments at Fatehpur Sikri thus reflect the genius of Akbar in assimilating diverse regional architectural influences within a holistic style that was uniquely his own.[4]

The Imperial complex was abandoned in 1585, shortly after its completion, due to paucity of water and its proximity with the Rajputana areas in the North-West, which were increasingly in turmoil. Thus the capital was shifted to Lahore so that Akbar could have a base in the less stable part of the empire, before moving back Agra in 1598, where he had begun his reign as he shifted his focus to Deccan.[6] In fact, he never returned to the city except for a brief period in 1601.[7][8] In later Mughal history it was occupied for a short while by Mughal emperor, Muhammad Shah (r. 1719 -1748), and his regent, Sayyid Hussain Ali Khan Barha, one of the Syed Brothers, was murdered here in 1720. Today much of the imperial complex which spread over nearly two mile long and one mile wide area is largely intact and resembles a ghost town. It is still surrounded by a five mile long wall built during its original construction, on three sides. However apart from the imperial buildings complex few other buildings stand in the area, which is mostly barren, except of ruins of the bazaars of the old city near the Naubat Khana, the 'drum-house' entrance at Agra Road. The modern town lies at the western end of the complex, which was a municipality from 1865 to 1904, and later made a "notified area", and in 1901 had a population of 7,147. For a long time it was still known for its masons and stone carvers, though in Akbar time it was known and 'fabrics of hair' and 'silk-spinning'. The village of Sikri still exists nearby.[9]

Contents


Architecture of Fatehpur Sikri

Site plan of Fatehpur Sikri Fatehpur Sikri sits on rocky ridge, 3 km. in length and 1 km. wide, and palace city is surrounded by a 11 km wall on three side with the fourth being a lake at the time.[10] Its architect was Tuhir Das and was constructed using Indian principles. The buildings of Fatehpur Sikri show a synthesis of various regional schools of architectural craftsmanship such as Gujarat and Bengal. This was because indigenous craftsmen from various regions were used for the construction of the buildings. Influences from Hindu and Jain architecture are seen hand in hand with Islamic elements. The building material used in all the buildings at Fatehpur Sikri, palace-city complex, is the locally quarried red sandstone, known as 'Sikri sandstone'.[11][12] It is accessed through gates along the five-mile long fort wall, namely, Delhi Gate, the Lal Gate, the Agra Gate, Birbal's Gate, Chandanpal Gate, The Gwalior Gate, the Tehra Gate, the Chor Gate and the Ajmere Gate.[13] A panoramic view of the Fatehpur Sikri Palace Buland Darwaza, the 54 mt. high entrance to Fatehpur Sikri complex Jama Masjid, Fatehpur Sikri Jama Masjid]] courtyard, Fatehpur Sikri The central pillar of Diwan-i-khas Panch Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri Some of the important buildings in this city, both religious and secular are:

  • Buland Darwaza: Set into the south wall of congregational mosque, the Jama Masjid at Fatehpur Sikri, this stupendous piece of architecture is 54 metre high, from the outside, gradually making a transition to a human scale in the inside. The gate was added some five years later after the completion of the mosque ca. 1576-1577 [14] as an 'victory arch', to commemorate the Akbar's successful Gujarat campaign. It carries two inscriptions in the archway, one of which reads: "Isa(Jesus) Son of Mary said: The world is a bridge, pass over it, but build no houses on it. He who hopes for an hour may hope for eternity. The world endures but an hour. Spend it in prayer, for the rest is unseen".
    The central portico comprises three arched entrances, with the largest one, in the centre, is known locally as the Horseshoe Gate, after the custom of nailing horseshoes to its large wooden doors for luck.[15] Outside the giant steps of the Buland Darwaza to left is deep well.
  • Jama Masjid: It is a Jami Mosque meaning the Friday Mosque congregational mosque, and was perhaps one of the first buildings to come up in the complex, as its epigraph gives AH 979 (A.D. 1571-72) as the date of its completion, with a massive entrance to the courtyard, the Buland-Darwaza added some five years later.[14] It was built in the manner of Indian mosques, with iwans around a central courtyard. A distinguishing feature is the row of chhatri over the sanctuary. There are three mihrabs in each of the seven bays, while the large central mihrab is covered by a dome, it is decorated with white marble inlay, in geometric patterns.[11]
  • Tomb of Salim Chishti: A white marble encased tomb of the Sufi saint, Salim Chisti (1478 1572), within the Jama Masjid's sahn, courtyard. The single-storey structure is built around a central square chamber, with has the grave of the saint, under a ornate wooden canopy, encrusted with mother-of-pearl mosaic. Surrounding it is covered passageway for circumambulation, with carved Jalis, stone pierced screens all around with intricate geometric design, and an entrance to the south. The tomb is influenced by earlier mausolea of the early 15th century Gujarat Sultanate period. Other striking features of the tomb are white marble serpentine brackets, which support sloping eaves around the parapet.[16]
    On the left of the tomb, to the east, stands a red sandstone tomb of Islam Khan I, son of Shaikh Badruddin Chisti and grandson of Shaikh Salim Chishti, who became a general in the Mughal army in the reign of Jahangir. The tomb is topped by a dome and thirty-six small domed chattris, and contains a number of graves, some unnamed, all male descendants of Shaikh Salim Chisti.[17]
  • Diwan-i-Aam : Diwan-i-Am or Hall of Public Audience, is a building typology found in many cities where the ruler meets the general public. In this case, it is a pavilion-like multi-bayed rectangular structure fronting a large open space. South west of the Diwan-i-Am and next to the Turkic Sultana's House stand Turkic Baths.
  • Diwan-i-Khas: the Diwan-i-Khas, or Hall of Private Audience, is a plain square building with four chhatris on the roof. However it is famous for its central pillar, which has a square base and an octagonal shaft, both carved with bands of geometric and floral designs, further its thirty-six serpentine brackets support a circular platform for Akbar, which is connected to each corner of the building on the first floor, by four stone walkways. It is here that Akbar had representatives of different religions discuss their faiths and gave private audience.
  • Ibadat Khana: (House of Worship) was a meeting house built in 1575 CE by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, where the foundations of a new Syncretistic faith, Din-e-Ilahi were laid by Akbar.[18]
  • Anup Talao: A ornamental pool with a central platform and four bridges leading up to it. Some of the important buildings of the royal enclave are surround by it including, Khwabgah (House of Dreams) Akbar's residence, Panch Mahal, a five-storey palace, Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Private Audience), Ankh Michauli and the Astrologer's Seat, in the south-west corner of the Pachisi Court.
  • Hujra-i-Anup Talao: Said to be the residence of Akbar's Muslim wife, although this is disputed due to its small size.
  • Mariam-uz-Zamani's Palace: The building of Akbar's wife, Mariam-uz-Zamani shows Gujarati influence and is built around a courtyard, with special care being taken to ensure privacy.
  • Naubat Khana: Also known as Naqqar Khana meaning a drum house, where musician used drums to announce the arrival of the Emperor. It is situated ahead of the Hathi Pol Gate or the Elephant Gate, the south entrance to the complex, suggesting that it was the imperial entrance.[19]
  • Pachisi Court: A square marked out as a large board game, the precursor to modern day Ludo game where people served as the playing pieces.
  • Panch Mahal: A five-storied palatial structure, with the tiers gradually diminishing in size, till the final one, which is a single large-domed chhatri. Originally pierced stone screens faced the fa ade, and probably sub-divided the interior as well, suggesting it was built for the ladies of the court.[20] The floors are supported by intricately carved columns on each level, totalling to 176 columns in all.[21]
  • Birbal's House: The house of Akbar's favorite minister, who was a Hindu. Notable features of the building are the horizontal sloping sunshades or chajjas and the brackets which support them.

Other buildings included Taksal (mint), 'Daftar Khana (Records Office), Karkhanas (royal workshop), Khazana (treasury), Turkic styled Baths, Darogha's Quarters, stables, Caravan sarai, Hakim's quarters etc.[14]

Demographics

Fatehpur Sikri had a population of 28,754. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Fatehpur Sikri has an average literacy rate of 46%, lower than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 57%, and female literacy is 34%. In Fatehpur Sikri, 19% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Administrative establishment

A view of the present Fatehpur Sikri, outside the historical city. Fatehpur Sikri is one of the fifteen Block headquarters in the Agra district[22] it has 52 Gram panchayats (Village Panchayat) under it.[23]

The Fatehpur Sikri, is a constituency of the Lok Sabha, Lower house of the Indian Parliament, and further comprises five Vidhan Sabha (legislative assembly) segments [24],:

  1. Agra Rural
  2. Fatehpur Sikri
  3. Kheragarh
  4. Fatehabad
  5. Bah

In all there are 12 villages of Sisodia Rajputs near Fatehpur Sikri fort in Agra district. These are Daultabad, Nayavas, Satha, korai, Behrawati, Byara, Undera, Kachora, Singarpur, Vidyapur, Onera, Arrua.

Transport

Fatehpur Sikri is about 39 km. from Agra. The nearest Airport is the Agra Airport also known as Kheria Airport at Agra at 40 km, nearest railway station is the Fatehpur Sikri railway station, around one km. from city centre . It is suitably connected to Agra and neighbouring centres by road, where regular bus services of UPSRTC ply, apart from Tourist buses and taxies.[25]

Gallery

File:Fatehpur Sikri 099.JPG|Buland Darwaza File:Fatehpur Sikri 039.JPG|Nawab Islam Khan's Tomb File:Fatehpur Sikri 042.JPG|King's Gate File:Fatehpur Sikri 047.JPG|King's Gate File:Fatehpur Sikri 120.JPG|Entrance to Queen's Palace File:Fatehpur Sikri 175.JPG|Diwan-i-Khas File:Fatehpur Sikri 146.JPG|Mariam-uz-Zamani House File:Fatehpur Sikri 163.JPG|Anup talao (pond), the platform in the middle was used for singing competitions

Further reading

References

External links

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