About Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri near Agra was the short-lived capital of the Mughal Empire. Commissioned by Emperor Akbar in 1571, Fatehpur Sikri was built on the site where a holy man called Shaikh Salim Chishti was said to have predicted the birth of Akbar’s third son, who would become the leader of the empire.
Fatehpur Sikri was built in honour of this prediction and also following Akbar’s victory in conquering Gujarat. Indeed, “Fatehpur Sikri” is translated as the “city of victory”.
Completed in 1573, Fatehpur Sikri was a magnificent city with numerous palaces, monuments, mosques and houses as well as public buildings. Today, the city is a ghostly sight, with its buildings intact but entirely empty save for the tourists.
Interestingly, Fatehpur Sikri is the origin of several board games. At the time of its existence, people (usually women) were used as the pieces and games were played at the Parcheesi Court.
Fatehpur Sikri was abandoned in 1585, when Lahore became the new capital. This was arguably due to the need to move to be nearer tribal conflicts, but it has been posited that the reason was inadequate water supplies. It would serve as an emergency capital once more in 1691 when a plague made Agra uninhabitable, but only for a few months.
Visitors can walk through Fatehpur Sikri to see structures such as the great Jama Masjid mosque and the building where Akbar addressed his people – the Diwan-i-khas – amongst others. All the buildings are similarly designed, creating an overall sense of continuity. In 1986, Fatehpur Sikri became a UNESCO World Heritage site.