Last few days were very hectic for me, especially when the occasion was the marriage of my younger sister.As the marriage was in Delhi I decided to use it to the hilt, perhaps that was the reason that I decided to combine the marriage celebration with my wanderings.
Yeah jo weekend wanderer ki atma hai na,
yeh kabhi sudar nahi sakti
|Wandering soul of a weekend wanderer
Therefore once all marriage functions got over, I decided that the time has come for me to escape to my next destination.This time my partner in crime was non other than my wife (Thank god she is getting used to my wayward ways). Before she could react with any ifs and buts I told her that I have booked 2 tickets for the morning train Taj express and we are going to Agra.
|All set to catch Taj Express to Agra
Taj Express left Nizamuddin Station at 7.08 am and we reached Agra Cantt at 10.45 am. As this program of mine was as usual on the spot decision so there was no particular research or bookings made by me. On the train I enquired from the people as to how should I reach Fatehpur Sikri. I was told that there are lots of buses going to Fatepur Sikri from Idgah Bus Stand, however while coming back there could be issue as the return service is little dicey. Alternatively I can catch Shared Jeep while coming back. As my visit was only for a day so saving time was very high on my agenda otherwise I would have loved to travel on local transport.Luckily for me I happen to see this IRCTC travel office at the Agra Cantt Station itself and believe me my problem got sorted out. They had this car facility which you can hire and visit Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort and Taj Mahal in a day. They had other choices too but my time limit was permitting me this only.
We quickly jumped into the car and were soon on our way to Fatehpur Sikri. Our car maneuvered through the narrow and busy streets of Agra and in no time we were on the highway, our car speeding through the fields and villages and my heart knew no joy because it was my childhood fantasy to be at Fatehpur Sikri.I could feel the Mughal History opening its door for me.
Rasta hamara takna, Darwaaza khula rakhna
Lene tujhe O gori, Aayenge tere sajna…
|Fatehpur Sikri Here I come
For majority of tourist if it is Agra then it must be Taj Mahal but honestly speaking as far as I was concerned it was not the Taj that was beckoning me instead it was the Mystical Fatehpur Sikri. One may be tempted to ask me why Mystical, well actually there is a childhood fascination attached to my wanting to come to Fatehpur Sikri.The dream to go and see this mystical and ghostly town germinated when I happen to watch this hindi movie Lal Pathar which presented the place in mystical light, full of intrigue and suspense.
|A ghost town or a mystical marvel
Ab bas kya tha Chipak gayi yeh yaad and mai hamesha bolta raha ki ek din Fatehpur Sikri Zaroor jaunga.
Bhai kisne sach hi kaha hai Purana pyar aur purani yaad jaldi peecha nahi chodti….Satati rehti hai.
So with an excited heart beat and baited breath I was all set to explore this Moghul legacy.
|Entering through the Agra Darwaza
As our car entered the complex through the Agra Darwaza , I began to get the fleeting glances of the Fatehpur Sekri. First look of the ruins after entering this Agra Gate was just a teaser of things to follow.
|First sightings as we entered the Agra Gate
After a 5 minutes drive from here we reached the parking lot of the Fatepur Sikri. From here onwards one has to take the State bus till the entrance of the Fatepur Sikri Gate.My car driver had informed me that they will charge 10 Rs and I need not pay for my return journey.(Its a different thing that they did charge for my return journey and never gave me a ticket for the same).This bus journey lasted less than 5 minutes and I found myself standing at the gates of Fatehpur Sikri.
I bought the entry ticket from the gate. Rs 20, and moved into the complex. Before entering this let us get through some history of this place.
In the year 1568 Akbar,on advise of his close aide decided to take the blessing of the Sufi Saint Salim Chisti who lived in this town of Sikri around 40 kms away from Agra.The saint not only blesses Emperor Akbar with a son and heir but also with additional sons. Shortly after this visit Akbar gets the news that his wife is expecting a child.The over-joyous Emperor then builds a magnificent house for his pregnant queen near the saint’s dwelling at Sikri.In the year 1959 queen Jodha gives birth to the child who is named Salim, after the Sufi saint. This same prince Salim later came to be known as Emperor Jahangir. Considering the Sufi saint to be a good omen Akbar decides to shift his capital from Agra to Sikri. Here after he personally supervise to build an architect marvel, a complete planned walled city , which almost took 15 years to complete in planning and construction of series of Royal Palaces, Harem, courts, Mosque and other administrative building which encompasses Mughal and the Persian culture in one of the most beautiful manner.
|Map of the complex (source Internet)
With the Map given above our journey together of this city will be more easier and interesting. As you can see We moved in from behind the ticket counter and was greeted by this board.
|Moving from here towards the Jodhabai Palace
We entered from here and upon coming inside the grand picturesque Red sandstone complex unfolded before us.
|Part of Jodhabai Palace
Walking towards the right but further ahead we come across the entrance of Jodhabai Palace.
|Grand entrance of Jodhabai Palace
Jodhabai was also known as Mariam -uz-Zamani. This title was bestowed upon her when she gave birth to Jahangir .Jodhabai’s palace is basically a structure built as a house of the principal queen.The outer walls of this fort is 32 feet tall.Entering from this entrance you come to a large courtyard.
|Large courtyard at the centre of Jodhabai palace.
This whole palace complex measures around 320 feet by 215 feet consisting of this large central courtyard with buildings arranged around its periphery.One can also find lots of influence of Hindu architecture especially when you note the pillars,niches or brackets.
|Influence of Hindu Temple architecture
Another interesting thing that one notice is the application of blue glaze tiles on one of the roof and cupola.
|Blue glaze tiles on the roof
Standing at the centre of the courtyard of this Palace I relived the history. Thinking how the queen lived, It is believed that she was politically involved in the administration through out her life until Noorjahan became empress. It was now time for me to move out of this palace to another part of the Fatehpur Sikri Complex and see what more it has to offer me. Till the time you absorb this historical journey soon I’ll join you with the next part of Fatehpur series till then happy reading.
Link to Fatehpur Sikri Part 2 fatehpur-sikri-series-part-2 DIWAAN-E-KHAAS