The city is predominantly built from red sandstone, about 40 kms from Agra – built by the Mughal Emperor Jalal-ud-din Mohammad Akbar, or Akbar the great, in honour of the great Sufi saint Salim Chisti.
Akbar’s tolerant religious views and interest in literature, architecture and fine arts gives the buildings at Fatehpur Sikri a charismatic blend of Islamic and Hindu elements in their style and design.
The stand-out sights here have got to be the massive entrance gate, the stunning 55 metre high Buland Darwaza, the Jama Masjid mosque and the thre palaces – said to be built for Akbar’s three wives; one a Muslim, one a Hindu and the thirsd, a Christian. The tomb of the Muslim saint, Salim Chisti is a white marble construction surrounded by unnamed tombs of his descendants – when we were there goats were wandering around the tombs scavenging for anything they could find to eat.
The Jama Masjid mosque is still in use for worshippers and is a cool respite from the scorching heat reverberating off of the sandstone walls outside.
There are good views when the sky is clear over the river, where the water buffalo cool off in the hot sun, to the Taj Mahal in the distance.
If you get a guide, you can learn about the history and stories of this fabulous place and it is well worth it.
The buildings here are wonderful, but do get a guide as there is not much information available and the background story is fascinating.
We came here in May, with temperatures around 40°c, pretty hot to be trudging around a sprawling tourist sight, but well worth it – just take lots of water with you.
You will be mobbed by unauthorised guides wearing official guide-looking badges, but do get an authorised guide. Our driver found one for us, who was very good.
Fatehpur Sikri is only 40 kilometers from Agra, which, if you have been to India, you know can take a pretty long time, according to the time of day. It is less of a hustle-and-bustle than Agra, but there are some touts offering all sorts of souvenirs or their services as a guide. Make sure you get an official guide and do negotiate the price beforehand.
Our visit here took around 3 hours, which is about as much that you will need to see everything here.
We also came from an early morning visit of The Taj Mahal, so both are doable in a day, but you will be exhausted after it and well deserving of a cool mango lassi and a butter chicken…
Food and drink
There are quite a few food and drink stalls on the way to Fatehpur Sikri, selling cold bottled water, masala chai and street food.
For restaurants, you will have to leave the palace and walk or drive down to the main town.
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