Friday, March 13, 2009



Fatehpur Sikri (the City of Victory - built either in memory of Babur's victory over Rana Sanga in the battle of Khanwa, about 40 km from Agra, or in honour of the famous Sufi saint Slim Chishti) was, from 1571 until 1585, the capital of India's Mughal Empire under Akbar. The complex, a blend of Hindu and Islamic styles, was abandoned only fourteen years after its creation, allegedly due to lack of water. The complex of monuments and temples includes one of the largest mosques in India, the Jama Masjid. It was included in the UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1986.

"ENTRANCE - The Jodha Bai's palace is the largest and most important part of Imperial Harem. The palace consists of a rectangular block, with several Hindu motifs, which confirms that the occupant was a Hindu lady. The upper structure of the building includes chhatris, chhaparkhats, semi circular domes and triangular khaprel roofs"


"MARYAM'S HOUSE - Profusely painted, in colour combination with gold, this building was abode of Akbar's Mother Hamida Banu Begum, who was entitled Maryam Makani (Equal in rank to Mary). The building, standing over a rectangular plinth, which is 18.23m north to South by 14.75m East to West, is composed of four rooms. Rama and Hanuman, most popular Hindu deities are carved in relief of the brackets. The interior has beautiful paintings depicting elephant fights, hunting, battle scene and tournaments"



"PANCH MAHAL - The five-storey palace, also known as «Badgir», which means wind catcher/tower, stands close to the Harem and that supports the fact that it may have been a pleasure palace. Containing 84 columns, the pavilion gives a magnificent view of the fort that lies nearby"



"SULTANA HOUSE is a sandstone pavilion topped with a stone roof. The geometrical pattern on the ceiling is similar to Central Asian wood carvings"

"DIWAN-I-KHAS - The Hall of Private Audience of the emperor"

"CENTRAL PILLAR of the Diwan-I-Khas. It has thirty-six voluted brackets supporting a circular platform for Akbar..."

"PACHISI COURT - It seems the name derives from a ludo-like game played here by the ladies of the harem..."

"VIEW of the Court taken from the Khwabgah, the emperor's private sleeping quarters"

"ANOOP TALAO - The pool is, according to the guide, associated with Akbar's legendary musician Tansen who, it is said, could light oil lamps with the magic of his voice..."


"BADSHAHI DARWAZA - Akbar used this gateway to enter the complex, just in front of the mosque"

"JAMA MASJID - Said to be one of the most beautiful mosques in the world, it was completed in 1571. The mosque is composed by a central nave with a single dome, two colonnaded halls on either side, with two square chambers crowned with domes"

"HUJRA - Cloistered prayer rooms with flat-roofed pillared galleries"

"TOMB OF SHEIK SALIM CHISHTI, built by Akbar in 1580 and 1581, is one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture. Situated facing south towards Buland Darwaza, it enshrines the burial place of the Sufi saint"

"BULAND DARWAZA, meaning «great gate» in Persian and also known as the «Gate of Magnificence», is the largest gateway in the world. It was built by Akbar in 1602 to commemorate his conquest of Gujarat"


Anonymous said...

Hi Folks! Akbar’s capital city didn’t last for long, due to lack of water, it seems... However, what remained is quite impressive! Enjoy, comment and have a lovely weekend! Forget Friday 13th... ;))

Olivier said...

encore une découverte, superbe le "Panch Mahal" et le "Buland Darwaza"
des architectures de reve

hpy said...

C'est si monumentale...

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Great pictures! Loved the colours!

Maria Verivaki said...

i've always thought of india as a hot country, but it was obviously cool enough for you to wear warm clothing!

Lakshmi said...

so you have left rajasthan ..welcome to fatehpursikri and agra..lovely pics as always

Baron's Life said...

Friday 13th is a good day. Enjoy your weekend too. This are great shots of some excellent architecture.

Venksh said...

Gil wow nice picture's Mughal architecture is one thing i like very much bcos with no modern equipments they hav built such superb structure thats really great...

So Taj will be coming this month end great Iam waiting for it...


eye in the sky said...

i missed fatehpur sikri when i was in agra. darn! now i know what i missed. beautiful photos, as usual! wow!

P.N. Subramanian said...

I too have visited Fatehpur Sikri but as it was to be it was altogether a different experience to re-visit the same place through your great pictures. GIL the GREAT. Regards.

Jen Laceda | Milk Guides said...

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem! These are lovely photos!

alice said...

Cette pierre rouge, ciselée comme de la dentelle, une splendeur. Sais-tu de quelle pierre il s'agit? Peut-être du grès?
Bon weekend, Gil!

alicesg said...

It is so beautiful. I wondered if the king really walked around his palace. It is so huge. Thanks for sharing trotter, have a nice weekend.

Anonymous said...

Lovely pictures... what great architecture... I'm still a bit envious of your holiday!!

Anonymous said...

Gil, another splendid post. It's an amazing world, I would say it seems almost an imaginary fantastic world. I like a lot Jama Masjid mosque and all the fine architectures!
Have a good week!

Anonymous said...

Gill, beautiful series from Agra and F'Sikri :)

Shionge said...

Through you, I've discovered far more places to visit. Not sure I'll ever get a chance but it is certainly an eye-opener.

Thank you for visiting me always.

Thérèse said...

The BULAND DARWAZA is beautiful and so different from the rest.
One feels really small next to each one of these structures!

Unknown said...

Thanks for this wonderful tour.
Gorgeous pictures of a beautiful place.

Marguerite-marie said...

tout est beau , j'aime beaucoup cette pierre rose un peu fanée et ces photos tantôt lumineuses tantôt un peu brumeuses merci de nous dépayser ainsi.

Chuckeroon said...

Yes, yes, I know......for two weeks it's been "Must see Trotter!". Anyway...back on track now. Where does the time go to?

As always a tour worth taking, Trotter.

bindu said...

It's so humbling to see these empty palaces where such a grand piece of indian history was played out.

Have you read The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan? If not, I think you will enjoy it immensely, having seen these palaces now. It is a beautifully written piece of fictional history about empress Nur Jahan, Akbar's daughter-in-law. It's a treat.

A Lady's Life said...

Enjoyed visiting your site and will spend some time here...where did you learn to take photography like this...they are an amzing treat to the mind and soul.
Thank you

Joy said...

I always enjoy your photos, especially when it features the flowery, colourful walls!

Thanks for visiting Norwich Daily Photo and leaving your comment. Happy weekend and come back tomorrow!

A Pinay In England
Your Love Coach
I, Woman

Cutie said...

Isn't the place hot? How can you be wearing such thick clothing. And they really have plenty of unique buildings.

SusuPetal said...

Can't stop wondering how bright the colors of these buildings have been when they've been new. Just amazing.

99 said...

You really made me laugh with your comment in my blog about Pi Day. You´re not just culture sensitive, you´re also hilarious...
Have a great weekend meu amigo

Ash said...

Fabulous place and pictures. Majestic, literally!!

lyliane six said...

Toujours aussi beau et instructif, les visiteurs on encore les costumes qu'ils devaient porter à l'époque de la construction des palais tout reste dans "l'authentique".
C'est le printemps à Lisbonne vous allez bientôt chanter la célèbre chanson d'Amalia: " Avril au Portugal". La semaine prochaine c'est le salon du tourisme à Paris, je vais aller y faire un tour pour avoir d'autres renseignements sur l'inde du Nord.
Bonne semaine à vous 2.

Ron said...

Awesome, awesome pictures. Another fine place to see through your lens. I really like the archetecture of the palaces. Keep them coming:)

RuneE said...

I know India is a very large country, but what a wealth of beautiful palaces!

My favourite picture must be No. 5 & 6 due to the depth you composition gave them. Just like being there.

Azer Mantessa said...

i've seen this one on channel discovery but unfortunately they were showing the lack of water factor rather the buildings.

this blog with pics sure is more comprehensive.

Jal Mahal to be a hotel, sure is going to be more attractive.

Anonymous said...

Lovely pictures of my India !!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Akbar's captital city certainly had some wonderful architecture -- I like the balconies, wind catcher towers and intricate carvings. It's always nice to see you and your wife in your blog photos. Do you alwsys tour with an organized group, and have a guide?

Nikon said...

Wow, Gil, that is quite a series of photos!
Amazing shots - I love that "central pillar."

Anonymous said...

Wow! Awesome subject! Awesome photos as usual. If it weren't for you, I wouldn't get to see all these wonderful places and structures. Thank you!


Anonymous said...

And to think I marvel at the beautiful stained glass windows in our old old tiny tiny country church out here. Wonder how I would react at seeing structures such as these. A friend of mine just got back from India. She talked so much about the gorgeous colors. ~ Have a super great week G. ~ Lynn

PeterParis said...

Yes, as you say, so much for such a short period! Fortunately that most of the buildings are still there!
The gateway is really something!

Anonymous said...

Excellent photos. I went to Fatephur Sikri some years ago and was continually frustrated by the outlandish waste of the maharajahs and leaders of the time. To build all this to find out there was no water and leave it on 14 years later is a staggering waste.

Jo's-D-Eyes said...

hi Gil.
did you survive the 13th? I did and we all did I quess, I like the Moskee' JAMA MASJID 'the most! from this series, and of course the COUPLE (you and your wife), you are so lucky just to travel so much. We cannot wait for a trip but we're too busy...

Your blog is a great travel to me, I like to join you by visiting your blog

Anonymous said...

Hi everybody! We’re getting closer to the end of this first trip to India, and I can see from your comments that you seem to be a bit tired; it must be my fault, as surely the country more than justifies the attention that was given to it here… ;))

Le «Buland Darwaza» est encore beaucoup plus impressionnant si on le regarde du coté de la rue et non du coté de la mosquée, comme c’est le cas dans la photo que j’ai prise ; malheureusement je n’avais pas d’angle pour prendre la belle photo… ;))

Monumentale ? Majestueuse… ;))

Glad that you liked; always good to have the input of an insider expert!!!

The temperatures in early February 2008, when we were in the «Golden Triangle» were basically from 6º through 23º centigrade, quite far from the 46º C they reach during the summer… ;))

I’m almost at the end of this first tour, but I can’t take the idea out of my mind: have to get back to Rajasthan… ;))

Friday 13th, black cats, broken mirrors… what else? Nespresso? ;))

Yeah, the means were scarce, but labour force and time were not an issue on those days… Your Taj is coming closer; actually Blogtrotter is already in Agra… ;))

That was a great mistake… ;))

Thanks! It’s always a different (sometimes weird) experience to see we know under a different perspective! Glad that you liked!!

Hope every thing is fine, since it seems you’re having a great time in Telavive and Jerusalem…

Exactement: sandstone=grès… Du moins c’est ce qu’on peut lire dans les guides et les dictionnaires… ;))

Alice SG,
Kings walked everywhere and surely, at least, around the Harem… ;)

Don’t be envious: you’re there I just visited… ;))

Fabulous, I would say! Actually, there are so many interesting places to see just in Rajasthan that I wonder how long it will take to see all the others in the rest of India; I’ve learned of a couple who are heading there for a 10 week trip… must confess that I’m a bit envious, but I think they will be catching the worse of the weather: summer heat and then the monsoon… ;(

Thanks! Glad to see you back…

Never say never… who knows; one day, instead of making your «n» trip to a known place, you make a diversion and land there… ;))

That gate is absolutely stunning; and this is not the best perspective, but I couldn’t make it to the road entrance side, with the steps going up… ;(

You’re welcome. My pleasure! Great to have you commenting here for the first time!!

Merci! Mais en ce qui concerne la brume tu es surement l’expert n.º 1!! En fait, tes promenades au fil de l’eau sont superbes !!

Where does the time go to? Good question… ;)

I haven’t read the book, but I’ll try to find it, as well as time to read it… ;)). From your description it seems to be most interesting!!

Never learned to take pictures and I believe it shows on this blog… ;)
Thanks for your first time comment here; look forward to reading you here often!!

Some of those frescos are absolutely stunning!!

The place is hot or cold depending of the seasons: hot in summer, not so hot in winter… ;)). Anyhow, we never had more than 23º centigrade there and sometimes, in the early morning or in the evening, temperatures were below 10º centigrade…

That’s an amazing experience: restore the original colours… They must have been quite warm and strong, as the colours of Rajasthan are legendary…
Hope things are running ok with you!

Thanks! I thought it was quite appropriate for the day… ;))


Pendant toute cette semaine on a eu 26º/27º centigrade à Lisbonne et le soleil partout… mais il y a des gens (ces types de la météo) qui parlent encore de la pluie à venir… ;))
J’avais prévu un programme pour le reste du Rajasthan que je n’ai pas pu faire (Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer…). Je crois qu’on ne peut pas manquer ça… ;))

They have a lot there and I’ve seen only an infinitesimal portion of them… But one day I’ll get back… ;))

Large and full of wonderful palaces, forts… Incredible, indeed, as they are advertising on TV these days… I wish I could have got back there this here… ;(

I also like Discovery Channel, but sometimes they shoot on the side… ;)
I don’t know if Jal Mahal Jaipur is going to become a hotel, but the one in Udaipur is fabulous (at least from the pictures I saw and the stories I’ve heard from friend there!!

Your India is lovely!!

Usually I never travel on organized group… at least for the last thirty years or so… but in some places we do hire guides! Actually in India, we booked a private tour for the two of us: I’ve chosen the itinerary and the Hotels, the car, etc… in Agra and Jaipur, and the travel agency provided the driver and the local guides…!

That’s a masterpiece, that pillar!!

You’re very kind! There are many places to see those sites and best one is surely on the spot… ;))

There is a proverb in Portuguese language (don’t know the English equivalent) that says «the one who hasn’t a dog hunts with a cat…». So, I don’t think it’s wrong to marvel at what we have just close by… though «saints at home don’t perform miracles…» ;))
Tuesday morning has some peculiarities… ;))

Today it would be considered a «white elephant»… ;)

It’s a bit difficult (not to say odd), though quite widespread, the idea of judging former behaviours with the patterns of our present times. The concept of waste had probably a completely different meaning… ;))

Survived 13th, black cats and broken mirrors… ;))

Emery Roth said...

This may be the most beautiful and mysterious place you have taken us to yet. In any case, I think this posting is my favorite.

Do you mean to say this place has survived all those centuries empty and abandoned??? Amazing! It is not only the beauty of the buildings that is amazing, but the unity of style since it was all built for one person in a short period.

You'd think that before they got too many years into building it they might have discovered the water problem? Or maybe the boss just didn't believe what the guys in the field were telling him.

Terrific post. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The town was abandonned as Akbar's capital only some years after having been built, for reasons which are not entirely clear, though lack of water seems to be an explanation... It seems to have been used barely until 1748, when it was left desolate until restoration started in 1898...
Maybe water wasn't the only reason for abandoning the city...

indicaspecies said...

Two visits to Fatehpur Sikri already, and still I do not tire of the place. A pleasure to see it this time through your lens.:)

Trotter said...

Actually I've to thank you as you were the first to draw my attention to Akbar's capital!!