The name Fatehpur Sikri evokes a nostalgia of history amongst Indian minds. The richest period of history can be attributed to the Mughal period, Akbar being one of the emperors who shone the brightest for his deeds. And Fatehpur Sikri stands for all the architectural wonder that this emperor’ time could conjure up.
This is officially a city and a district but in reality, this historical façade is a mere ghost town of the past though it has a present day population of 28804 as per census data. The façade of Fatehpur Sikri remains a historical monument – deserted – though it was built to support a sprawling ancient city.
So how did this ancient city come about? If you want to know about Fatehpur Sikri, the history if this place is quite interesting. It is told that Akbar initially had a son and twins. But the twins did not survive and died. After that, Akbar was in search of another heir and came to visit the Sufi saint Salim Chishti who lived in a cavern near the Sikri area. The saint foretold that Akbar would soon have a son and it happened as predicted. To celebrate the birth of his son, Akbar named his son Salim after the saint. This Prince Salim was to grow up to become the renowned emperor Jehangir. When Prince Salim was two years old, Akbar went back to Sikri and started to build an architectural wonder of a historic town known as Fatehabad. This town was later to be known as Fatehpur Sikri.
However, his dream to build this architectural wonder of a town and to have his people prosper in this city was shortlived. After fifteen years since it completed construction, the lake which was the natural source of water for this city, fell short for providing water to the growing population in this region. Also, there started disturbances which perpetrated this city from the North West frontier. Hence, the city was abandoned and the glorious height that it reached was shortlived.
So how is this ancient city today? Today it is part of the Agra province and is one of the major tourist attractions. This phantom city is immaculately preserved within wherein one can witness various monuments which are architectural wonders from the Mughal times.
The places to see within Fatehpur Sikri are numerous. From the Buland Darwaza, the main entrance to this ancient city, to the Tomb of Shaikh Salim Chisti, there are numerous noteworthy monuments. The nine jewels of Akbar’s court whose intellect and insight were greatly revered, presided in this city during his rule. Birbal Bhawan is the place which is dedicated to his greatest court advisor, Birbal. Besides, the inner courts where Jodha Bai stayed, the inner harem of the Hindu wives can all be witnessed inside this ancient city walls.
Thus, Fatehpur Sikri is one of the historic monuments which is timeless and has rightly earned the status of a world heritage site.