Architecture at Fatehpur Sikri

  • Sikri town ( in  Agra ) was founded as the capital of Mughal Empire in 1571 by Emperor Akbar.
  • The city came to be known as Fatehpur Sikri, the “City of Victory”, after Akbar’s victorious Gujarat campaign in 1573.
  • Its architects were R Roy and Dhruv Chawla and was constructed using Indian principles.
  • Akbar planned the complex on Persian principles.
  • But the influences of his adopted land came through in the typically Indian embellishments.
  •   The buildings of Fatehpur Sikri show a synthesis of various regional schools of architectural craftsmanship such as Gujarat and Bengal.
  • This was because indigenous craftsmen were used for the construction of the buildings.
  • Influences from Hindu and Jain architecture are seen hand in hand with Islamic elements.
  • The easy availability of sandstone in the neighbouring areas of Fatehpur Sikri also meant that all the buildings here were made of the red stone.
  • The Imperial Palace complex consists of a number of independent pavilions arranged in formal geometry on a piece of level ground, a pattern derived from Arab and central Asian tent encampments.
  • In its entirety, the monuments at Fatehpur Sikri thus reflect the genius of Akbar in assimilating diverse regional architectural influences within a holistic style that was uniquely his own.

1 . Buland Darwaza

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Buland Darwaza at Fatehpur Sikri is 55 metres high . The gate was added around five years after the completion of the mosque c. 1576-1577 as a victory arch, to commemorate Akbar’s successful Gujarat campaign.

2 . Tomb of Salim Chishti 

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A white marble encased tomb of the Sufi saint, Salim Chisti(1478–1572),is located within the Jama Masjid’s  courtyard  . The single-storey structure is built around a central square chamber, within which is the grave of the saint . Surrounding it is a covered passageway for circumambulation, with carved Jalis, stone pierced screens all around with intricate geometric design and an entrance to the south.

3 . Tomb of Islam Khan I

On the left of the tomb of Salim Chishti , to the east, stands a red sandstone tomb of Islam Khan I, son of Shaikh Badruddin Chisti and grandson of Shaikh Salim Chishti, who became a general in the Mughal army in the reign of Jahangir. The tomb is topped by a dome and thirty-six small domed chattris and contains a number of graves, some unnamed, all male descendants of Shaikh Salim Chisti.

4 . Jama Masjid

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It is a Jama Mosque meaning the congregational mosque  with a massive entrance to the courtyard, the Buland-Darwaza added few years later. It was built in the manner of Indian mosques, with iwans around a central courtyard. A distinguishing feature is the row of chhatri over the sanctuary. There are three mihrabs in each of the seven bays, while the large central mihrab is covered by a dome, it is decorated with white marble inlay, in geometric patterns.

5 . Ibadat Khana

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It was a meeting house built in 1575 CE by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, where the foundations of a new  faith, Din-e-Ilahi were laid by Akbar.

6 . Diwan-i-Aam

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Diwan-i-Aam or Hall of Public Audience is a pavilion-like multi-bayed rectangular structure fronting a large open space.

7 . Diwan-i-Khas

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Diwan-i-Khas or Hall of Private Audience, is a plain square building with four chhatris on the roof. However it is famous for its central pillar, which has a square base and an octagonal shaft, both carved with bands of geometric and floral designs . It is here that Akbar had representatives of different religions discuss their faiths and gave private audience.

8 . Naubat Khana

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Also known as Naqqar Khana meaning a drum house, where musician used drums to announce the arrival of the Emperor. It is situated ahead of the Hathi Pol Gate or the Elephant Gate, the south entrance to the complex, suggesting that it was the imperial entrance.

9 . Anup Talao

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Anup Talao was built by Raja Anup Singh Sikarwar .

10 . Mariam-uz-Zamani’s Palace

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The building of Akbar’s Rajput wives, including Mariam-uz-Zamani, shows Gujarati influence and is built around a courtyard, with special care being taken to ensure privacy.

11. Pachisi Court

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A square marked out as a large board game, the precursor to modern day Ludo game where people served as the playing pieces.

12 . Panch Mahal

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A five-storied palatial structure, with the tiers gradually diminishing in size, till the final one, which is a single large-domed chhatri.  The floors are supported by intricately carved columns on each level, totalling to 176 columns in all.

13 . Hiran Minar

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The Hiran Minar, or Elephant Tower, is a circular tower covered with stone projections in the form of elephant tusks.

14 . Birbal’s House

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The house of Akbar’s favourite minister, who was a Hindu. Notable features of the building are the horizontal sloping sunshades or chajjas and the brackets which support them.