Fatehpur Sikri

From Academic Kids

Template:World Heritage Sites in India

Fatehpur Sikri is a 16th-century capital city built by the Mughal emperor Akbar on a rocky outcrop near the city of Agra in India. Being a ceremonial capital, it does not have fortifications. Fatehpur Sikri is unique in terms of its layout as well as its architecture, which are generally considered to express the personality and principles of Akbar.

Missing image
Buland Darwaza

Akbar preached and practised tolerance and syncretism. He also formulated an inclusive philosophical system called the Din-i-lahi taking the best from different religions. He formed political, administrative and personal alliances with Hindus. Fatehpur Sikri reflects some of these ideologies and influences, not surprisingly, because Akbar had a large say in its design.

In the layout of the city, there has been a conscious attempt at producing rich spatial effects by the organisation of built forms around open spaces in interesting ways. Of particular note is the way in which shifts in axes occur as one moves along the city and the location of squares in important places with buildings forming a backdrop or envelope. Unlike other important Mughal cities (such as Shahjahanabad, which has a very formal planning), Fatehpur Sikri has aspects of informality and improvisation.

Missing image
Panch Mahal

The buildings of Fatehpur Sikri show a synthesis of various regional schools of architectural craftsmanship such as Gujarati and Bengali. This was because indigenous craftsman from various regions were used for the construction of the buildings. Influences from Hindu and Jaina architecture are seen hand in hand with Islamic elements. The building material predominantly used is red sandstone, quarried from the same rocky outcrop on which it is situated.

There are both religious and secular buildings in the city.

Some of the important buildings in this city are

  • Naubat Khana- Drum house- near the entry, where important arrivals are announced.
  • Diwan-i-Am- Hall of Public Audience- a building typology found in many Mughul cities where the ruler meets the general public. In this case it is a pavilion like multi-bayed rectangular structure fronting a large open space.
  • Diwan-i-Khas- Hall of Private Audience- famous for its central pillar with thirty-six voluted brackets supporting a circular platform for Akbar.
  • Raja Birbal's house- the house of his favourite minister who was a Hindu. Notable features of the building are the horizontal sloping sunshades or chajjas and the brackets which support them.
  • Jodh Bai's palace- the palace of his favourite queen, a Hindu from Gujarat. The building shows Gujarati influence and is built around a courtyard, with special care being taken to ensure privacy.
  • Pachisi Court- a square marked out as a large sized board game (modern day Ludo) where live coins- people- participated.
  • Char Chaman Tank- a tank with a central platform and four bridges leading up to it.
  • Panch Mahal- A five-storied structure.
  • Buland Darwaza-or the Gate of Magnificence- one of the gateways to the Jami masjid, a stupendous piece of architecture from the outside, gradually making a transition to a human scale in the inside.
  • Jami Masjid- the mosque, built in the manner of Indian mosques, with aisles or liwans around a central courtyard. A distinguishing feature is the row of chattris- small domed pavilions- over the sanctuary.
  • Tomb of Salim Chisti- a white marble encased tomb within the mosque courtyard.

Fatehpur Sikri took many years to build, but was abandoned only a few years after occupation because of lack of fresh water, being as it is on high, rocky ground.

Fatehpur Sikri is a World Heritage Site. Some contemporary Indian architects, notably B.V. Doshi, have cited it as an important source of inspiration. Architect or layperson, this city never fails to capture the imagination and wonder of those who have experienced its urban spaces and seen its buildings.

External links

fr:Fatehpur-Sikr kn:ಫತೇಪುರ್ ಸಿಕ್ರಿ sv:Fatehpur Sikri


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