Fatehpur Sikri is a historic city which is a mere ghost town today. If you walk down the lanes of history you will find that this city had a glorious beginning in the hands of the great Muhgal emperor Akbar back in 1570 A.D. This ancient city bears many fine architectural monuments which bear testimony to a blend of Indian, Persian and Mughal architectural influences.
The history of the origin of this city is quite interesting. Akbar had visited a saint known as Salim Chishti who then foretold that the emperor would have a second son who will survive to become a great ruler. The Sufi saint was then residing in a cavern near a ridge at Sikri. When in 1569 a second son was indeed born to Akbar, he decided to move his capital from Agra to Sikri in honor of the saint Salim. The son was also known as Prince Salim, who later grew up to become the great emperor Jehangir.
The Mughal emperor then started the construction of an architectural wonder of a town, based on the influences of the Persian architecture which he had witnessed during the rule of his ancestor, Timur. The complex was made up mostly of sandstone since it was readily available in that part of the country. The palatial complex consisted of several pavilions which were arranged geometrically as per the tent formations in Arabic nations. The monuments erected at Fatehpur Sikri show the architectural genius that Akbar was.
The history of the Sikri region goes way back. It is geographically the upper portion of the Vindhya mountain ranges. It was then located around a natural water body lake around which evidences of civilization can be found, dating back to the stone age. There are evidences of this region having been occupied earlier than Akbar, during the Mahabharata times. A stone sculpture that was found during excavation around this site reveals that there was a Jain temple in that region dated around 1010 A.D. which named the region as Sekrikya.
After Akbar constructed this imperial complex in 1571, he ruled from here till 1585. This place was abandoned then due to scarcity of water which could not support the growing population and due to turmoil brewing from the North West. After Akbar shifted his capital to Lahore, he could not come back to this place except once during 1601. Later on, this area was briefly occupied by the Mughal emperor Muhammed Shah. Since then, there were a few towns people who remained in that area, including mainly families of masons and sculptors till the early 1900s.
Thus, the Fatehpur Sikri history is rich and nostalgic, with the empty walls of the imperial town echoing a past that could not sustain a future.
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