Fatehpur Sikri, a fort town built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, is 37 kms from Agra. Fatehpur Sikri was built during 1571 and 1585 and is completely built from red sandstone. Akbar intended this to be his capital but due to the shortage of water was forced to move to Lahore.
The town itself is now lost with less than 30000 locals and the monuments are near ruins. It is a tourist town, and from the minute you enter, you will be greeted by hundreds of hawkers. Ask the officer at the ticketing office, for an official guide and he will make sure that you see all there is to see and also will keep the other hawkers away.
Once you enter the world heritage monument, you are surrounded by what at one time would have been sheer opulence. It’s a world within a world. Akbar, lived in style and it is evident from his gardens, the palaces, harems, bathing pools and the residence complexes.
Inside the complex the major points of interest are the Panch Mahal – the palace of Five Storeys, the Dargah Of Sheikh Salim Chisti – where childless women come for blessings, the Buland Darwaza – the largest gateway in India, the Palace of Jodha Bai – the palace of Akbar’s hindu queen, and the The Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India. The Dargah is also known for its lattice work, one of the best in India.
There are many places within the complex that make you wish you were a prince in the kingdom of Akbar. Near the Panch Mahal, is a grand layout of the ancient game of ludo. While Akbar sat in the middle, beautiful maidens were used as the moving pieces and they would move as Akbar commanded. Now that’s life.
Fatehpur sikri literally glows during sunset. The red sandstone buildings lend themselves to the plummeting sun, and as the rays bounce off, the beauty of this ancient site leaves you feeling warm. Fatehpur Sikri is a must see by itself, although it is visited only by those with extra time after visiting Agra.