The architecture. It is beyond brilliant. The intricate details and carvings on red sandstone and white marble is unique to the Mughal Sultanate, and is a visual treat for the eyes. I wish the walls could whisper about the grandeur and charisma of this magnificent empire!
Jalal-ud-din Mohammed Akbar, the greatest emperor of the Mughal dynasty, had built the twin cities of Fatehpur and Sikhri between 1571-1585. The capital city of Sikhri is an example of meticulous urban planning of medieval times. This ancient township is protected by a 11km long fortification wall. A tomb is dedicated to the Sufi saint Salim Chisti. The palace complex houses various important buildings. A tour of the city is like walking into the pages of your school history text book – only to realize that no words can do justice to the pristine glory of the mighty Mughal empire.
How to get there?
By Road from Agra
It is only 37 km away from Agra, towards the west. An hour’s drive from the beautiful mausoleum city.You can hire a cab for approximately Rs 2000 (an air-conditioned Indica which is a four seater) and the price varies based on the number of people commuting. Your hotel will be able to help you with this booking.
Note: The Taj Mahal is closed on a Friday, but Fatehpur Sikhri isn’t. The Taj Mahal is open to tourists on full moon nights (once a month) and the view is of paramount beauty. So plan your tour itinerary accordingly.
What to Carry?
- Carry a cap to avoid the blazing sun and sunscreen during the day in summers
- Warm clothes – It can get icy cold during November to February
- A good pair of walking shoes
- Cash – the cab driver and local shopkeepers do not use debit / credit cards
- A good camera
- Water bottles – it is allowed inside
- Some snacks to eat on the way (not allowed inside the monuments).
Entrance Fee (subject to changes)
- Indian nationals : Rs 40
- Foreign Nationals: Rs 550
- Additional camera charges apply
A tour guide is essential to explain the nitty-gritties of the architecture. Beware of cheats! An official guide would be wearing a white uniform and will have a license. He would charge you approximately Rupees 1500 and would not bargain. You could wait for another travel group to split your expense. However, many fake tourist guides roam at the entrance to con the tourist with a fake ID card and similar uniform. They agree to a lesser price but often provide false information or no information at all.
Babur, the descendant of Chengiz Khan, had noticed a small village and name it Shukri (meaning shukriya or thank you) when he defeated Rana Sangwa at Khanua in 1527. Akbar, Babur’s grandson called it Sikhri and made it his capital between 1571-1584.
Ankh Michauli – The Imperial Treasury
Palace of Jodha Bai – Shabistan-i-Iqbal
While some historians believe that this was the Hindu prayer hall Jodha used, others refute by suggesting that Jodha had a summer palace and a winter palace. Akbar was the only Mughal emperor who allowed his queen’s to follow their own religion. The Jalal carefully examined the doctrines of all religions, customs and ceremonies and blended the best practices to start a religion called Din-i-Ilahi
Turkish Sultana’s Pavilion
The twin city of Fatehpur – meaning land of victory was built next to Sikhri. However, Akbar had to abandon Fatehpur-Sikhri due to the saline content in the water and scarcity of water in this region.
Jami Masjid Complex in red sandstone
Darbar of Salim Chisti in white marble
A sincere attempt to show the magnitude of this architecture. The gigantic gate characterizes the assertion of power and dominance of the most successful Mughal Emperor.
Folklore has it that the some of the people still living in the surrounding areas are descendants of the artisans Akbar had chosen in the 16th century. The skills with which they craft white marble strengthens this belief. Adorn your homes with a relic which reminds you of the exquisite architecture of the Mughal era.
- BARGAIN FURTHER.
- Don’t give in. Try to negotiate further.
- You can start with one third the price the shopkeeper claims. It may sound absurd but you must not pay a penny more than half the amount suggested.
- Check for the authenticity of marble if you are paying more than Rs 2000. Shopkeepers often con the buyers by selling faux marble and charging a premium for it.
- Foreigners (and tourists from other parts of the country) are advised to let the local accompanying you do the talking for obvious reasons (may be your tour guide or cab driver, if they are with you) – but it is essential to build a rapport with the local first!
- Request the shopkeeper to bubble-wrap and pack your purchases for distant travel. You may want wrap it in the folds of a towel or a soft cloth to avoid damage.
- You can get similar artifacts in Agra market for a slightly lesser price, if you have the time. Do not forget to check out jutis in the Agra market. You can get a pair for around Rupees 400 (after a lot of negotiation) to complement your Indian ethnic wear.
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Have you seen the road trail from Manali to Spiti Valley? Click on the link to see the lofty Himalayas and beautiful pictures of Chandertal Lake. The road-trip to Spiti Valley
Shubh Yatra (Happy Journey)!