Fatehpur Sikri Part 2 : Royal Enclosures

In my last post, I had covered the history of rise and abandonment of Fatehpur Sikri as capital of Mughal empire under Emperor Akbar and Buland Darwaza, Tomb of Sheikh Salim Chisti and Jama Masjid (Fatehpur Sikri – rise and abandonment of great Mughal era capital – Part 1 ). In the second and final post, I will be covering the royal enclosures which are located north east of the Mosque.

Royal Enclosures at Fatehpur Sikri:

Jodhabai Palace 

The Jodhabai Palace or Shabistan -I – Iqbal was the principal haramsara of Akbar. There is no historical evidence supporting the existance of Jodha Bai.The best part of the palace is that the entrance is not straight to ensure that no one can see directly from outside inside the palace. It consist of a large open quadrangle surrounded by royal suites surrounding from four sides.

There is a place in the centre for keeping Tulasi plant in the centre which was worshipped by Hindu queen. The construction design reflects the religious tolerance during the Emperor Akbar era.

The Azure Blue tiles on the roof of the palace is another highlight of the construction which adds to the beauty of the place.

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Azure Blue tiles on one of the Royal suites

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Corner view of Jodhabai Palace

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Beautiful carvings on pillars and walls at Jodhabai Palace

Diwan I Khass ( Jewel House): The Diwan I Khass ( hall of the private audience) as the name suggests was a place where Akbar used to meet selected auduiences. It is a square-shaped chamber with openings on all four sides.

The highlight of the hall is the intricately carved central tower which is also known the Lotus Throne. The pillar supports a walkway which connects the 4 corners of the first floor into a central circular platform meant for the emperor Akbar which gave him a central view of the hall.

The structure is said to be used for speacial purposes as  Ibadat Khana ( Hall for religious discourses) or Diwan I Khass ( hall of the private audience) or  Tuladana ( weighing ceremony) of emperor and princes on the Persian New Year day.

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Diwan I Khas

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Lotus Throne

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Central pillar of Diwan-I-Khas

Panch Mahal

The Panch Mahal is a unique five story pyramidal structure supported by 176 coloumns. The building was said to be used for entertainment purposes and was often used for various theatrical, musical and dance performances. From the top floor, view  of entire royal enclosures is visible.

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Panch Mahal

Birbal’s House

The Building was an integral part of the Haramsar and is a double storied structure raised on pillars and arches of plain masonry. There are four rooms on the ground floor and two domed chambers on the upper storey. There are beauitful carvings on the lower rooms on walls and roofs. Since it was close to Ladies palace, it is highly unlikely that this was used by Birbal. It was probably used as residence of Akbar’s queens Ruqiyya Begum and Salima Sultan Begum.

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Birbal’s house

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Beautiful caarved pillars and wall at Birbal Palace

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Carvings on roof of Birbal palace

Lower Haramsara

This place was intended for housing the servicing maids of the royal ladies palaces. The stone rings were probably used for fixing the curtains as partition. The huge size of the structure shows the number of maids kept for maintenance of ladies palaces.

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Lower Haramsara view

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Lower Haramsara view from outside

Mariam’s house

Mariam’s house was built for Mariam-uz-Zamani, the Hindu wife of Emperor Akbar and mother of Jajangir. She was born as Heer Kunwari, a Rajput princess of Raja Bharmal of Amer. She was married to Emperor Akbar in 1562 CE. She was honoured with the title Mariam-uz-Zamani (“Mary of the Age”) after she gave birth to Jahangir. There is some misconception that Mariam’s house was for a Christian wife of Akbar due to similarity of name Mariam with Mary. The house has beautiful painting on the roof and walls which had faded with time which give glimpes of the glorious past.

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Mariam’s house

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Painted walls of Mariams House

Turkish Sultana House (Hujra-I- Anup Talao)

This beautiful pavallion next to Anup Talao has a small chamber with rich carvings inside the chamber and pillars with carvings of fruits giving impresion of being a place of relaxation.

 

Anup Talao

The Anup Talao or Kapur Talao is a 29.10 meter open water tank and was intended for imperial amusement and private functions. There is a central square in the middle of tank connected with fourth small bridges.

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Anup Talao

At the end of the trip, I must say that Fatehpur Sikri is one of the gem of Mughal Architecture.

Tips:

  1. One can take taxi from Agra or Bus from Idgah Bus stand in Agra. There are direct bus to Fateh Pur Sikri or bus which drop about 1.5 km close to Fateh Sikri and take an auto to reach Buland Darwaza
  2. Best time to visit :  from Oct – mid March
  3. If you are visiting Agra, you can see Taj Mahal and Agra Fort in early morning and visit Fatehpur Sikri in second half of the day.
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