To see the true and ancient Mongolian city you will have to get on a bus, there is no other way. Pooran stayed in a parking lot, and told us where to take the bus that went up to the old city. Our first experience in an Indian bus, just 10 minutes and 10 rupees per head and journey.
The bus was full of local and foreign tourists, broken cloth seats, tourists standing up to the last inch of the cabin, all very tight . On the bus on the way back we sat in the passenger seat of the bus, and watched as he talked on the phone, sent messages, talked to everyone who crossed by car, horse or walk, a show.
Fatehpur Sikri ” The city of victory ” was the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire for 14 years . A city built by Emperor Akbar between 1571 and 1585. It is said that it was abandoned because of the water shortage and because the Agra Fort was much safer, given the constant attacks of his rebel son. Today its structure is preserved in perfect condition.
But who was Akbar? He was emperor of the Mongol Empire at age 26. A kingdom that stretched from the Himalayas to the end of the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan). Concerned that he could not have an heir to his empire, he went to Sikri Hill to consult the Sufi saint Salin Chishti, who lived there.
Legend has it that the saint provided (clear, not directly) 3 children, and in gratitude this city was built (where the tomb of the saint is also preserved), becoming the Mongol capital.
One day of Akbar began early, in public and private hearings (in all its rooms we can appreciate these spaces). After the meal, he retired to take a nap , which coincided with the hot hours in India, and after resting the plan varied according to the day, but giving great prominence to the prayers.
It is a huge space, which will take several hours to see (when you enter the mosque area you lose track of time) and that, as with the Agra Fort, we recommend you hire one of the guides that will be offered right in the box office.
The City of Fatehpur Sikri can be differentiated into two zones:
What to See in the Civil Area of Fatehpur Sikri?
This is the area where the palaces, courtrooms, as well as the Diwan-i-Aam and Diwan-i-Khas buildings are located . It is the area where we can observe the structures and buildings in perfect condition, besides being paid, it is very quiet and will allow us to get away from the hustle and bustle of the streets of India for a few hours.
Akbar Pavilion, with a large courtyard that was used for public hearings. Surrounded by roads that were probably once full of shops and stalls in a bustling city. The simplistic design of the Diwan-I-Aam shows us another side of the emperor, in which we find the philosophy that gave rise to the principles of Din I Ilahi , a religion that Emperor Akbar founded and popularized.
Din I Ilahi , was a religion that tried to unite the best of all the religions of the world , taking elements of Islam, Christians, Hindus, Jainists, Sikhists and Zoroastrists. Religion died, when he did.
It is the famous pavilion of Akbar’s private audiences. Square building, very easy to recognize for its 4 towers in each corner , and possibly being the most photographed in the civil area. The Diwan-i-Khas can be entered to observe the details of its interior and its central pillar, which supports a circular platform.
The queens of Akbar and her maids gathered here to play parchis . It is a palace with 5 floors, open on each side to fight against the high temperatures of Agra.
A few meters from the Diwan-I-Khas we find another courtyard where there is a pond with a walkway that leads to a platform in the center, where musicians played for Akbar .
The entire civil area was full of local tourists, who were walking in pairs or families quietly taking photos and many selfies (yes, with us too). Interestingly, the tranquility is over when we enter the religious area. Must check out the route of Palace on Wheels train which shows all the destinations.
What to see in the religious area of Fatehpur Sikri?
The religious area of Fatehpur Sikri, is the area of most traffic , environment, merchants and of course, religious.
Unlike the civil area, entering here is free , which explains the return to the bustling and never boring India .
The main attraction is the great Jami Masjid mosque , although we can also find the great Buland Darwaza gate and the tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti.
The Great Mosque, 165 meters high, is one of the largest in all of India .
You do not get to appreciate the surroundings and the history of the place, since there is no 10 seconds of peace in the whole enclosure.
With each step we had a 6-year-old boy trying to sell us something, a mother asking us something to eat for her son or any merchant talking to us in perfect Spanish without accepting an ” No” in an edge.
Like any mosque, it is necessary to take off your shoes. In this case, you will be warned that you can not take pictures , but where the law is, is the trap.
The Great Door Buland Darwaza:
54 m high, it was built by Akbar after the conquest of Gujarat in 1573 and is the most impressive monument of all Fatehpur Sikri.
Dozens of local tourists and merchants stand at their doors to try to sell you a tray of freshly peeled fruits, a postcard of Fatehpur Sikri or a chess board; Any tangible thing is salable.
From its doors and looking towards its stairs, you can enjoy a perspective of the new Fatehpur Sikri, with views of the entire city .
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Tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti:
Small white marble building in front of a pond, with dozens of people queuing to see the tomb of the famous Sufi saint . In this case I did not enter, I preferred to enjoy the surroundings and take some photos.
How to Get to Fatehpur Sikri?
Before finishing, some useful information to get to Fatehpur Sikri.
We carefree in all our adventure for the Rajasthan of “how to get” to the sites, since we always went with Pooran and his Suzuki.
Let’s see where and how to get to Fatehpur Sikri:
Agra : by bus, from Idgah station in Agra. They leave every 30 minutes and is worth 100 rupees. You can also negotiate the price with some tuktuk on duty, so you live an authentic experience, although somewhat slower.
Jaipur : can be reached by bus, train and private vehicle. The fastest is the train, due to the poor condition of the roads, although the most comfortable private vehicle.
Other ways to get there : As SaltaConmigo has it , you can also get there from Sawai by train. Either, you can take the Palace on Wheels Rajasthan which is the most famous luxury train in India. So, we suspect that it will be possible from many other destinations that have rails in India.