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Fatehpur Sikri - The City of Victory
|by Ashish Nangia|
After his victories over the Rajputs, Akbar commemorated his achievement by the building of a new capital. The city was called Fatehpur Sikri and was close to the imperial fort of Agra. Here, within six kilometers of defensive wall, Akbar built palaces, courts of audience, hunting lodges, mosques and triumphal portals.
The city was abandoned soon after its construction, and the reason for this was the lack of any reliable water supply for its inhabitants. Its disuse as a city during the Mughal period is the reason why its buildings have come down to us almost intact, without the changes effected by later emperors on other imperial sites such as Agra, Allahabad and Delhi.
This means that Akbar’s genius at building can be seen fully here, as also his finely developed aesthetic sense. Both formally and in their detailing, the buildings at Sikri are a fine blend of Timurid planning and aesthetics and Rajput art and architecture.
Fatehpur Sikri is also known for two more buildings – the gem of a dargah of Sheikh Salim Chisti, and the Buland Darwaza.
The Buland Darwaza is a massive gate mounted on steps, which faces the old town. It was built to commemorate Akbar’s military victory over Gujarat. This great triumphal portal leads into the mosque court, one corner of which is occupied by Sheikh Chisti’s dargah. This tomb with its filigree screens and exquisite carving was originally planned in red sandstone, but was finally made entirely of marble at the beginning of Jahangir’s reign.
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10/21/2010 19:39 PM
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