Abandoned city in northern India founded by the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1571. Fatehpur Sikri is a palace complex, built by the Mughal Emperor Jalal’ud-Din Muhammad Akbar (reg.1556-1605), son of Humayun and grandson of Babur. The palace complex is situated on the ridge of a hill about 40 meters in height by the side of an artificial lake. The city touches the easternmost tip of Rajasthan and is located on the main route between Agra There were two main phases of construction for the complex: 1572 to 1575, when the main buildings were raised and finished, and 1575 to 1585, when passages and corridors where added to the existing buildings according to the needs of the Emperor and his family The whole complex is spread in three plateaus on receding levels with respect to the topography of the ridge. The mosque complex is located on the uppermost level of the ridge, and consists of the Great Mosque (Jami Masjid, with the tomb of Shaykh Salim Chisti incorporated into its courtyard), which dominates the entire architectural composition by means of its size, and a small palatial complex called the Nayabad quarter (including the Rang Mahal).
The palace complex is laid out on the two lower platforms, covering approximately 250 square meters The buildings of the complex can be grouped in two main zones. The middle plateau is the most private, housing the residential buildings: the northern palace (Birbals Palace), the Shaqh-i Isbal (Jodh Bai’s Palace), the Sonahra Makan (Miriam’s Palace), the guest house (hospitalia) and the stables (Shahi Bazar and Mina Bazar). The lowest plateau is occupied by the public and semi-public areas of the palace complex, comprising the public audience hall (Diwan-i Am), the (attributed) private audience hall (Diwan-i Khass), the Ank Michauli and Astrologer’s Seat, the Panj Mahal, the imperial apartments (Khwabgah), the royal quarters (Daulat Khana), including the library (Kutubkhana), the state archives (Daftar Khana), the Anup Talao pavilion and the storage house (Abdar Khana). Most of the buildings of the public and semi-public area face east, while the Khwabgah faces north. The first major structure built at the site was Jami Masjid (congregational mosque) which was completed in 1571 the year At the time of its construction it was the biggest mosque in India measuring 160 m east- west by 130 m north-south. The central courtyard is surrounded by arcades of pointed arches which lead into small cell-like rooms. The centre of the west of the courtyard is dominated by the sanctuary which has a huge central iwan leading on to a domed area in front of the main mihrab. Either side of the central dome are two smaller domes each covering the area in front of a smaller mihrab
Fatehpur SikriLive map1- Entrance (Diwan-i-Amm)2- Diwan-i-Khass3- Daulat Khana4- Astrologers Seat5- Panch Mahal 3 26- Anup Talao7- House of the Turkish Sultana 48- House of Miriam9- Palace of Jodh Bai 110- Garden11- House of Birbal 5 10 7 8 6 9
1 . Entrance (Diwan-i-Amm) Mughal fusion of Hindu and Muslim architectural styles was embodied in spacious courtyards, wide palaces, and open pavilions, quarried from the local sandstone and cooled by numerous water channels, ponds, and tanks. The first court of the palace complex towards the Diwan-i Amm, the entrance to Akbars private residence. An oblong complex comprising a large quadrangular space, 112.38 meters north-south and 55.20 meters east-west, it is wrapped by a colonnaded passageway (dalan) composed of one hundred and eleven bays The dalans, constructed from red sandstone, are set on a raised plinth and are composed of square stone columns with plain bases and slightly molded capitals. These are surmounted by simple brackets supporting stone lintels and a continuous eave (chhajja). The Emperor’s pavilion is a small rectangular structure of red sandstone, measuring 9.27 by 6.65 meters, positioned symmetrically to the enclosure and projecting slightly into the courtyard. In plan, it is a single chamber with stone walls 1.10 meters thick surrounded by a portico, 3.05 meters wide. The flat-roofed chamber itself rises above the porticos. The portico is shaded by a stone-tile roof (khaprel) resting upon carved brackets, above which runs the same carved parapet as the one over the dalans. The eastern portico is divided by two exquisitely carved three-part trapezium screens, with the Emperor’s seat in the center.
2 Ceremonial Platform Diwan-i Khass, Fatehpur Sikri The free-standing structure situated in the center of this courtyard has come to be identified as the Diwan-i Khass This is a square two-storey building with a balcony supported on heavy corbels above which is a chajja also supported on heavy corbels Built in red sandstone, it is a square, symmetrical building measuring 13.18 meters/side on the exterior. It stands on a paneled plinth, 0.75 meters high. From without it appears double-storied; its four elevations are identical On the roof there are domed chatris at each corner Inside the building consists of a two-storey hall with a gallery at first-floor level. Bridges which run diagonally from the corners of the gallery connect to a balcony supported by a central pillar. The pillar is richly carved in the Hindu tradition with a mass of heavy corbels supporting the circular balcony above. The arrangement of a square building with a central pillar may reflect some Hindu mandala whereby the central column represents the axis of the world
3. Daulat Khana and Astrologers SeatFatehpur Sikri Daulat Khana means "treasury." Daulat Khana is one of the monuments of Fatehpur Sikri The Daulat Khana was Akbar’s private quarters. It overlooked the palace of his Turkish Queen. The Daulat Khana housed the imperial library and sleeping quarters. It encompasses a series of buildings decorated with intricately carved stone screens, elaborate brackets, broad attic and beautifully carved columns. The library room on the ground floor had a rich collection of 50,000 manuscripts. Akbar often had them read out to him, as he himself was illiterate. The emperor also had a resting area on the same floor. The sleeping quarters, Khwabgah, was on the second floor, decorated with Persian insciptions.
4. Astrologers Seat, Fatehpur Sikri Red sandstone domed pavilion, a typical element of Indian architecture that was widely adopted by the Mughals. Called a "chhatri," literally meaning umbrella, the function of this specific chhatri is unknown. Popular legend calls it the "Astrologer’s Seat. The pavilion is square in plan, 2.74 meters per side, and is situated on an extension of the same plinth (1.07 meters high) that supports the Ankh Michauli. Traces of a stone railing, which once enclosed it, still remain At each corner is a column, square at the base, with a carved floral motif on all sides. The column shaft is divided into two sections: the lower section is square in section and transitions via a floral design into the upper section, which is shaped into an octagonal section. Serpentine struts (toranas) emerge at a 45 degree angle from a carved stone monster’s head (makara) on the octagonal shaft, rising to meet under the center of each lintel.
5. Panch Mahal ,Fatehpur Sikri The Panj Mahal is a rectangular colonnaded structure open on all sides and built from local red sandstone. It is positioned to act as a "transition" building between the semi-public spaces that surround the Daulat Khana courtyard and the more private spaces of the Royal Harem. The building is comprised of five levels, with the ground floor measuring 22.05 meters north– south by 17.65 meters east–west, and the upper floors decreasing in their horizontal dimensions as they rise, forming an asymmetrical pyramid stacked over the southeast corner. The final, fifth level is a domed chhatri. The total height of the structure equals the total length of its ground floor The ground floor is laid out in 8 aisles running east-west and 6 running north-south, with a total of 84 columns. Double columns appear in the outer row along the east elevation; they are also used in the interior rows that align (in plan) with the location of the upper floor. The ground-floor columns are octagonal in section, with the exception of four circular ones The Panch Mahal as seen from the courtyard of the Daulat Khana Interior view of detail of double-column capital
The ground floor has a carved jaali balustrade, and no projecting chhajja. Interior view of detail of column capital Interior detail of column capital The first floor above ground level is 6 aisles deep east-west and 4 aisles deep north-south, with a total of 56 columns. On this floor the external columns are doubled not only along the east elevation, but along the west and north as well. The corner columns form four- fold arrangements: the columns are round and each one of them bears a unique design. This floor is the most ornate and details in its carvings. A deep chhajja projects from the ceiling of the first floor outwards The second floor above ground continues to recede to the southeast, with 4 aisles east-west and 2 aisles north-south. As with the first floor, it has double columns on the eastern external side and a projecting chhajja with a carved frieze. The third floor contains 12 columns, doubled and bracketed along the exteriors. Instead of a projecting chhajja, it has a characteristic jaali balustrade. On its fourth floor above ground, the building is crowned by a square chhatri with a cupola roof. The pavilion is aligned with the second and third rows of columns of the floors below The form of the building is one solution to the problem of adequate ventilation in a multi- story structure.
6-Anup Talao The Anup Talao, or "peerless pool," was completed in 1576 on a wide platform (chabutara) to the north of the Khwabgah (imperial apartments) in the Mahal-i Khass courtyard. The Anup Talao is a red sandstone masonry tank, square in plan and bilaterally symmetrical. A square island platform stands in its centre. Stone bridges, 0.61 meters wide and supported by stone columns with bracket capitals, span 10.06 meters from the center of each side of the platform to the side of the tank. Another name for the Anup Talao, the "Char-Chamad," refers to these four bridges. The tank served to cool the air near the Khwabgah. It formed part of a system of mini-tanks and canals built on the eastern platform of the Khwabgah. The tank measures 29.26 meters per side and is 3.66 meters deep. The island platform (9.14 m2) is flanked by a jaali balustrade, and has a raised seat (chabutra, 3.66 m2) in its center Two consecutive series of six broad stairs step down from the sides of the tank to the original water level (0.96 meters, or just below the twelfth step). The tank was originally filled via one water channel from the waterworks near the Elephant Gate to the west: the water was carried via a stone duct north of Birbal’s Place, Miriam’s Garden, and the Kothi. A second channel came from the eastern waterworks. Overflow was diverted to the tank found north of the building with a central column (Ekastambha-Prasada), to keep the level of water in the Anup Talao constant.
7-Turkish Sultanas House Detail of ornamentation in carved sandstone on the veranda Exterior view of close-up of Detail of the interior panels, decorated south façade, showing columns with exotic animals in lush foliage and carving on roof edge Northeast of the Anup Talao is a profusely ornamented chamber popularly referred to as the "Pavilion of the Turkish Sultana," and now more simply referred to as the Anup Talao pavilion Square in plan, the pavilion measures 3.96 per side on the interior, and features a khaprel ceiling. Along its west elevation is a rectangular portico, 2.64 by 4.07 meters, with the same floor-ceiling height as the main chamber and supported on piers that are square in section and octagonal columns. Carved in floral and geometric patterns, the main chamber is one of the most richly ornamented structures of the entire complex. Opulent carvings adorn dado panels, columns, pilasters, double columns, brackets, and friezes. Every square meters of the interior dado panel is covered with vegetable and animal motifs with distinctive borders of hexagons and swastikas. These panels depict scenes from forests, orchards, and gardens, ingeniously crafted. The pavilion has three windows, each of which are filled with exquisite white marble tracery.
8-House of Miriam West of the Anup Talao court and placed in the center of its own courtyard is a red sandstone building known as the Sonahra Makan (Golden House), on account of its rich interior murals. It is also popularly named "Miriams Kothi" (residence). In terms of function, this structure, with its open and formal character, profuse ornamentation, and lack of bathroom facilities, was likely not used as a residence but rather as a drawing room (baithak) where Akbar would receive his court artists. Measuring 18.24 by 14.75 meters on the exterior, it is bilaterally symmetrical along its long (north-south) axis. Divided into 5 bays along the north-south axis, the building has two main parts. The interior partitioning walls are approximately 1.2 meters thick. The hall is 5.18 meters in height and surrounded on its east, north, and west by a high colonnaded portico that fills the outer 7 bays. From the outside, the entire building appears to be single-storied; however, while the central hall and porticos are single-height, the southern rooms occupy two stories.
Interior detail of patterns on ceiling, Interior close-up of walls and cornice corner and cornice Exterior view from west showing façade and chatthri A continuous stone chhajja runs along each elevation, supported on carved brackets. The carvings depict Hindu deities, symbols, and motifs such as rows of elephants, swans, and kirttimukhas (monsters, lit., "faces of glory"). The building has a flat roof, with a rectangular chhatri over its northern section. This chhattri is composed of eight columns with bracket capitals, carrying lintels that support a projecting horizontal eave. Both the interior and exterior walls of the building were entirely painted, mostly in a figurative style, directly on the surface of the stone. These paintings depicted elephant fights, hunts, battle scenes, tournaments, and architectural subjects. Within the color scheme, deep blue, red, and gold predominated. Indian flora and fauna, as well as typical clothing, was worked into the design
9-Palace of Jodh Bai .The Shabistan-i Iqbal, or Principal Haram Sara, is the largest and best-preserved of the residences of the imperial zenana (harem sara). Its popular name, Jodhbais Palace, is probably a misnomer: Jodhbai was the daughter of Mota Raja Udaisingh of Jodpur and wife to Akbars son Jedhangir. The haram sara is a double-storied structure composed of rooms arranged around a big open-air courtyard. Rectangular in plan, it measures 211.34 meters east to west and 196.5 meters north to south. An adjunct structure housing baths and latrines projects to the south, and a balcony connected to a viaduct projects to the north. From the exterior, the palace appears massive; apart from the entry and its guard-towers, the only apertures in the elevations are jharokhas (projecting balconies) The jharokha balcony is supported on four brackets with a jaali balustrade. Each exterior corner of the palace above the jharokha windows is further protected by a chhajja, which is in turn surmounted by a square base supporting an octagonal drum and a shallow dome. The exterior enclosing walls - constructed of red and yellow sandstone blocks - are plain but for a continuous intermediary frieze with decorative carvings, which indicates the ceiling level of the rooms on the ground floor within, and decorative merlons along the parapet interrupted only by the corner chhajjas.
Exterior view of east entrance of Exterior view of west façade Exterior close-up of façade, entry andguard-house, showing bay windows showing dome and bay window detailed corbels and overhangand chatthris supported by corbels The palace is can only be accessed via a single monumental gateway in the center of its eastern wall The entrance opening is in the center of the gateway, 3.31 meters high and 2.28 meters wide and flanked by Interior detail of carved engaged columns that support stone brackets and a circular portion of ceilingInterior detail of wall massive lintel At ground level, the entrance is flanked on either side by a small decorative arched iwan, or large niche. Above the iwans and to either side of the band of five arches are two jharokha windows supported on brackets The gateway is further protected by a small detached stone guardhouse roofed with a gabled roof to the southeast. Passing through the gateway, one follows a "Z"-shaped path without a direct view into the inner courtyard
The inner courtyard measures 54.9 meters by 49.32 meters. Its central sunken area, 46.95 by 41.85 meters, is accessed via a single step running along all four sides. In its center stands a small square tank. Around the inner court are double-storied residential quarters at the corners and formal "suites" in the centers of each side, excepting the east, which contains theInterior courtyard view towardnorthwest entrance gateway. Along the north and southern walls, the suites are nearly identical In the overall building scheme, the forms of the north and south apartments are similar, and likewise the east and west apartments make a pair.
10-Garden Exterior view toward south, Exterior aerial view toward west looking at pavilion in foreground North of the imperial haram sara, and adjoining the northwest corner of the courtyard of the Sonahra Makran, is is a garden known as "Miriam’s Garden," or the zenana garden. Used by the royal ladies of the palace It was completely enclosed via rubble walls faced in cement. Its doorway was flanked by a guardhouse at the northwest corner of the Sonahra Makran courtyard. The garden is based on a traditional chahar bagh garden, laid out on two terraces, of which the upper measures 27 by 28.4 meters, and the lower approximately 19 by 37 meters. Each level is divided by orthogonal walls into two quarters; flowers, plants, and shrubs lined their sides. The garden was originally paved in stone. On the southeast corner of the upper level stand the ruins of a covered cistern, built below ground level, which held water from the water works at the Elephant Gate. The square tank measures 7.31 meters/side and is 1.22 meters deep. It was used as a swimming and bathing pool for the ladies of the court.
11-Birbals House Interior detail of stone carving Exterior view toward southwestInterior detail of carving looking at double-column arcade Lotus Niche This building is also known as "Birbals Palace," and may have once formed part of the haram sara, with its own covered and screened passage connecting it to the principal haram sara viaduct. It is sited at the northern end of the zenana area at the very edge of the complex, north and west of the principal palace of the haram sara. The house is a two-storied building, splendidly ornamented with carving, both inside and out. From the construction, it would appear that Hindus were the architects; but the decoration, from which it is easy to discover the taste of the occupants, is nearly all Arabian or Persian in style,.
11-Hiran Minar The Hiran Minar ("deer tower") is located north and west of the Hathi Pol, outside of the palace complex, just north of the imperial caravanserai. Measuring twenty-one meters in height, the towers plan is octagonal at its base, circular after the height of 3.91 meters, and topped with a chhatri. The circular part of the tower is decorated with stone spikes, and a circular balcony projects on stone corbels from the upper part of the tower. Exterior close-up view of Its exact function is unknown, but it may have been a lookout towertower showing surface or a distance marker for travelers.decorations and projectingelements
Interior view toward north of Exerior view toward west showing Exterior view looking up at Bulard courtyard showing white marble tomb arched entryway and colonnade Darwasa, steps leading to gateway of Shaykh Salim Chishti The Friday mosque of Fatehpur Sikri is the sacred complex of the fortified imperial city built by Akbar between 1571-85. A congregational mosque organized around a large courtyard, it was the largest mosque in India at the time of its construction The Fatehpur Sikri Friday Mosque complex includes the enclosure of the mosque itself, containing the prayer hall, the tomb of Salim Chishti, and the tomb of Nawab Islam Khan. On the same plateau is the small Nayabad palace, the Stonecutter’s Mosque, and the Rang Mahal. The main imperial entrance to the mosque complex, called the Badshahi Darwaza ("Emperor’s Gate") is located along its eastern edge, opposite the prayer hall, and was likely used by royal palace residents. On the southern side of the courtyard, known as the Buland Darwaza ("Lofty Gate"). A multistoried, semi-octagonal structure, it measures about 40 meters east-west and 20 meters north-south and contains large rooms, passages, and stairways. The exterior (southern) elevation of the Buland Darwaza rises to a height of 40 meters above the level of the mosque’s court.
The Buland Darwaza is clad in red and yellow sandstone, while the rest of the mosque complex is clad predominantly in red sandstone. Within the enclosure wall is a rectangular courtyard, measuring 133 meters east-west and 109 meters north-south. The white marble tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti occupies a prominent position in the court. Approximately ten meters to the east of this tomb is the larger tomb of Nawab Islam Khan The northern, southern, and eastern sides of the courtyard are filled with spacious dalans (arcades), 11.66 meters deep. The dalans are organized in two continuous bays. The inner bay is composed of small hujras (cells), likely used as sleeping chambers for pilgrims and practitioners. The outer bay is a continuous arcade with broad, pointed arches supported on square pillars; it forms the courtyard edge. The main prayer hall is located along the western side of the courtyard, and measures about 88 north-south and 20 meters east-west. Its entry (eastern) elevation of the hall is dominated by a central gateway composed of a high recessed ogee arch set within a rectangular frame and surmounted by a row of domed chattris. Rectangular in plan, the gateway is roofed by a semi-dome and contains three arched openings that lead into the prayer hall. The central archway is clad with bands of red and yellow sandstone, while the smaller arched openings have mosaic inlay work in geometrical patterns.
The interior of the prayer hall is divided into three bays; the central bay is square and measures 12.5 meters per side and is topped by a single dome supported on squinches The two side bays measure approx. 29 meters north-south by 19 meters east-west. Each is composed of a colonnaded hall with a square domed room (8 meters per side), located centrally within this hall along the western (qibla) wall. Within each bay, nine mihrabs are found along the qibla wall, for a total of 21 mihrab niches in the entire prayer hall. The central mihrab niches located within the square domed rooms has been given special attention: set within a larger arch, it is ornamented with inlay stone work, glazed tiles, and carved and painted inscriptions. The mihrabs located in the colonnade on either side of the square domed rooms occur in a double-story pattern. These two side bays of the prayer hall display a combination of arcuate domed construction, present in the 2 smaller square rooms, and a trabeated system of tall Hindu-style pillars supporting a flat ceiling, present in the colonnaded halls. In the square room, corbels start low in the corners to form the transition from rectangular plan to octagonal drum. The drum is finished in plaster and articulated with radiating bands. With the exception of the marble-clad tomb of Salim Chishti, the complex is rendered in red sandstone, with some yellow sandstone accents. Its style and ornamentation owe much to Gujarati architecture
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