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World Heritage Series Fatehpur Sikri

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  About the Book: Fatehpur Sikri is the third in a series of travel guides being published by the Archaeological Survey of India with the aim of introducing the visitor to the World Heritage Monuments in India. Extensive historical research and a focus on architectural details make this book an invaluable companion for anyone wishing to explore the imperial city Emperor Akbar built and then abandoned after 14 years. The guide takes the traveler to the many monuments within th...

 

About the Book:

Fatehpur Sikri is the third in a series of travel guides being published by the Archaeological Survey of India with the aim of introducing the visitor to the World Heritage Monuments in India.

Extensive historical research and a focus on architectural details make this book an invaluable companion for anyone wishing to explore the imperial city Emperor Akbar built and then abandoned after 14 years. The guide takes the traveler to the many monuments within the imperial palace complex, and to the dargah of the Sufi saint, Shaikh Salim Chishti and other monuments around it.

Specially commissioned photographs, architectural illustrations and easy-to-follow site maps make the book a visual delight.

Also included is a comprehensive section of all the information a traveler needs to make his way to Fatehpur Sikri - from when to visit to where to stay, from tourism information offices to airline offices.

Fatehpur Sikri was built by Akbar as his imperial capital but was suddenly abandoned after 14 years. The complex houses a range of palaces and pavilions built in the Mughal architectural style and for a variety of purposes.

There is a story attached, often not strictly true, to almost all the buildings in Fatehpur Sikri, but this only adds to the charm of the place. Turkish Sultana's Pavilion, Jodh Bai's Palace, Birbal's House are superb examples of Akbar's fusion style of architecture.

Among the other buildings at Fatehpur Sikri, the Diwan-I-Khass with its intricately-carved central pillar, the pyramidal Panch Mahal and the imposing Buland Darwaza Deserve special mention.

Visitors are advised to stay the night at Fatehpur Sikri to fully savour the medieval city's splendour and to watch the peacocks dance in the faint light of the early morning.

 

Forword

Fatehpur Sikri is the third guidebook in a series being brought out by the Archaeological Survey of India to showcase the 16 World Cultural Heritage Sites maintained by them. Fatehpur Sikri is one of India's most prominent tourist sites and due to its proximity to Agra, also one of the most visited.

In order to maintain the pristine glory of the complex, the ASI has drawn up an elaborate Master Plan for Fatehpur Sikri. Efforts are being made to ensure that, although all tourist facilities are provided, the ambience of the heritage city is maintained. Extensive conservation work is being carried out, including the landscaping and greening of all open spaces within the complex, and a special effort is also being made to remove all unauthorised structures within the medieval city.

Founded in AD 1571 by Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar (1542-1605), the third Mughal ruler of India, this sprawling capital city is located 37 kms west of Agra. This medieval city built in honour of Shaikh Salim-ud-din Chishti was the capital of Akbar between 1571-85.

Exhibiting the vibrant features of sixteenth century Mughal architecture, the majestic monuments dot the slopes of the dominantly sandstone ridge overlooking the vast (now dried up) lake towards the north-west. This city, enclosed by a 11 kms long fortification wall pierced with numerous gateways, accommodates the remains of the ancient township built for common people to the south of the ridge. The imperial edifices built of sandstone, however, are clustered at the top of the ridge and include halls, palaces, gardens, pleasure resorts, hammams (baths), mosques and tombs, apart from the remains of the quarters for noblemen.

Fatehpur Sikri stands out as one of the best examples of medieval urban planning, particularly in its blending of religious, secular and defence architecture. The continuance of this magnificent tradition can be seen in Lahore, Agra and Delhi.

The palace complex and the Jami Masjid are some of the early projects undertaken at Fatehpur Sikri (1569-74) and together denote the blend of elegance and magnificence in Mughal architecture. The famous Buland Darwaza was added later to commemorate the victory of Akbar over Gujarat.

Among other important buildings are the tomb of Shaikh Salim Chishti, the Naubat or Naqqar Khana (drum house), Taksal (mint), Karkhanas (royal workshops), Khazana (treasury), Hakim's Quarters, Diwan-i- Khass, Diwan-i-Am, Maryam's House, also called Sunahra Makan, Jodh Bai's Palace, Birbal's House, etc.

Under a sustained field archaeological research programme, explorations and excavations have been carried out since 1977-78, revealing hitherto unknown facets of the cultural heritage of this medieval city.

 

Introduction

Fatehpur Sikri represents an enigma for the student of medieval Indian history.

A city brilliantly conceived and actualised, it was abandoned after just fourteen years as the imperial capital of one of the mightiest empires in history.

Descended as they were from the peripatetic warrior clans of Timur and Chenghiz Khan, the early Mughals were quite accustomed to life in tented encampments. Babur, it is said, was happiest in a tent pitched in a pleasant garden. The hapless Humayun was much too besieged as emperor to devote much attention to buildings, although it must be said that he did begin to lay the foundations of a city he called Dinpanah in Delhi. However, his architectural ambitions were rudely cut short by Sher Shah Sur, who wrested not only his throne but also his city project.

By the time Akbar became emperor in 1556, the Mughal empire had settled down. By the late 1550s,Akbar had survived rebellions and attempted coups and had begun to win control over increasing areas in north India. Convinced about the importance of architecture in empire-building, Akbar, embarked on a sustained and systematic programme of construction. Beginning in the 1560s, he constructed forts in Agra and Lahore, and smaller ones at Attock, Allahabad, [aunpur and Ajmer.

 

Contents

 

Title Page no
Foreword 5
Introduction 6
Gateways and Bazaars 12
Imperial Palace Complex 18
• Din-i-Ilahi 37
Imperial Harem 38
Jami Masjid and Chishti Monuments 54
• Chishtis 67
• Recent Excavations 70
Environs of Jami Masjid 72
Hiran Minar and Waterworks 78
Hammams 84
Practical Information 90
Further Reading 93
Glossary 94
Index 95

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Item Code: IDD745 Author: S A A Rizvi Cover: Paperback Edition: 2002 Publisher: Archaeological Survey of India ISBN: 8187780096 Language: English Size: 8.6" X 4.6" Pages: 96 (Color illus: 61, B & W illus: 2, Figures : 1, Map : 1) Other Details: Weight of the Book: 185 gms
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