The Diwan-i-Khas or Hall of Private Audience is made out of red sandstone. Its main feature is a central octagonal column which is covered with carvings and has thirty six serpentine brackets which hold a platform where Akbar used to sit. The platform is reached by first floor walkways from each of the four corners of the building.
It is also thought that the building housed one of Akbar's treasuries.
Akbar the Mughal Emperor, conceived the idea of constructing Fatehpur Sikri as his capital after conquering Gujrat. This place was a village named Fatehabad and to honour the Saint Salim Chisti, who blessed him with a heir to throne Prince Salim.
It was the first planned city of the Mughals and also the first one designed in Mughal architecture, an amalgamation of Indian architecture, Persian and Islamic architecture. It served as the Mughal Empire's capital from 1571 until 1585. Though the court took 15 years to build, it was abandoned after only 14 years because the water supply was unable to sustain the growing population and unrest in the North-West.
Mariam uz-Zamani Begum Sahiba (Imperial Princess), née Rajkumari (Princess) Hira Kunwari, alias Harkha Bai (October 1, 1542 – 1622) was a Rajput princess who became the Mughal Empress, after her marriage to Mughal Emperor Akbar. She was the eldest daughter of Kachwaha Rajput, Raja Bharmal of Amber, the older name of the Rajput State of Jaipur.
Her notability arises from her marriage to the Mughal emperor Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar. She was also the mother of emperor Nuruddin Salim Jahangir, her husband's heir.
Her name as recorded in Mughal chronicles was Mariam-uz-Zamani. This is why the mosque of Mariyam Zamani Begum was constructed in Lahore, Pakistan, in her honour. She has been also referred to as Jodha Bai or Jodhabai. Hira Kunwar, Akbar's first Rajput wife, was the eldest daughter of Raja Bhar Mal of Amber. She was also the sister of Bhagwandas and the aunt of Man Singh I of Amber, who later became one the nine jewels (Navaratnas) in the court of Akbar.
This is where Emperor Akbar used to meet the general people and people's representatives from the provinces.
Diwan-i-Am or Hall of Public Audience, is a building typology found in many cities where the ruler meets the general public. In this case, it is a pavilion-like multi-bayed rectangular structure fronting a large open space. South west of the Diwan-i-Am and next to the Turkish Sultana's House stand Turkish Baths.
Jama Masjid or Jami Mosque meaning the Large Mosque congregational mosque, and was perhaps one of the first buildings to come up in the complex, as its epigraph gives AH 979 (A.D. 1571-72) as the date of its completion, with a massive entrance to the courtyard, the Buland-Darwaza added some five years later. It was built in the manner of Indian mosques, with iwans around a central courtyard. A distinguishing feature is the row of chhatri over the sanctuary. There are three mihrabs in each of the seven bays, while the large central mihrab is covered by a dome, it is decorated with white marble inlay, in geometric patterns.
Mia Tansen ( 1506 – 1589) is considered among the greatest composer-musicians in Hindustani classical music. He was an extraordinarily gifted vocalist, known for a large number of compositions, and also an instrumentalist who popularized and improved the rabab (of Central Asian origin).
During his lifetime he has composed many Hindustani Ragas, which are still popular till date. The legend says when he used to Sing Raga " Mallhar" , it used to rain and when he used to sing Raga "Deepak", the lamps used to lit. I had the opportunity to hear both the Ragas played by Pandit Ravi Shankar on Sitar!
He was among the Navaratnas (nine jewels) at the court of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Akbar gave him the title Mia (an honorific, meaning learned man). His contribution to the world of music is priceless and is still worshiped by leading singers and composers of the world. He is believed to be the father of Hindustani Music.
Another legend is that Akbar's daughter Meherunnissa was enamoured by Tansen and had a role in his coming to Akbar's court.Tansen converted to Islam from Hinduism, apparently on the eve of his marriage with Akbar's daughter.
Panch Mahal is a five-storey palace in Fatehpur Sikri.
It is also known as "Badgir", which means wind catcher/tower. Panch Mahal stands close to the Zeenana quarters or Harem and that supports the fact that it acted as a pleasure palace. This is an extraordinary structure, entirely columnar, consisting of four storey of decreasing size disposed asymmetrically upon a ground floor, which contains 84 columns. The pillars, that originally had jaali between them, support the whole structure. Once these screens provided purdah (cover) to queens and princess on the top terraces enjoying the cool breezes and watching splendid views of Sikri fortifications and the town nestling at the foot of the ridge.
The pavilion gives a majestic view of the fort that lies on its left. It is built by Akbar and only took 10 years to build the whole city.
Diwan-i-Khas, or Hall of Private Audience, is a plain square building with four chhatris on the roof. However it is famous for its central pillar, which has a square base and an octagonal shaft, both carved with bands of geometric and floral designs, further its thirty-six serpentine brackets support a circular platform for Akbar, which is connected to each corner of the building on the first floor, by four stone walkways. It is here that Akbar had representatives of different religions discuss their faiths and gave private audience.
Buland Darwaza: Set into the south wall of congregational mosque, the Jama Masjid at Fatehpur Sikri, this stupendous piece of architecture is 54 meter high, from the outside, gradually making a transition to a human scale in the inside. The gate was added some five years later after the completion of the mosque ca. 1576-1577 as an 'victory arch', to commemorate the Akbar's successful Gujarat campaign. It carries two inscriptions in the archway, one of which reads: "Jesus Son of Mary (on whom be peace) said: The world is a bridge, pass over it, but build no houses on it. He who hopes for an hour may hope for eternity. The world endures but an hour. Spend it in prayer, for the rest is unseen".
The central portico comprises three arched entrances, with the largest one, in the center, is known locally as the Horseshoe Gate, after the custom of nailing horseshoes to its large wooden doors for luck.Outside the giant steps of the Buland Darwaza to left is deep well.
It is said and believed, after the birth of Prince Salim, he was breast fed by Bibi Jainab. daughter of the Saint Chishti.Your prayer is not complete unless you also visit and offer respect to the Tomb of Bibi Jainab, who was daughter of Saint Salim Chishti. The daughter of Sheikh Salim Chishti, was the foster mother of Emperor Jahangir. The emperor was deeply attached to his foster mother, as reflected in the Jahangirnama and he was extremely close to her son Qutb-ud-din Khan Koka whose was made the governor of Bengal and his descendants are still to be found in Sheikhupur, Badaun.
Please read the history taken courtesy wikipedia below:
Qutub uddin Khan Koka's mother, the daughter of Sheikh Salim Chishti, was the foster mother of Emperor Jahangir. The emperor was deeply attached to his foster mother, as reflected by the following paragraph in the Tuzk-e-Jahangiri(The memoirs of Jahangir or Jahangirnama :
In the month of Zi-l-qada the mother of Qutubuddin Khan Koka who had given me her milk and was as a mother to me and even kinder than my own mother... was committed to the mercy of God. I placed the feet of her corpse on my shoulders and carried her a part of the way (to her grave). Through extreme grief and sorrow I had no inclination for some days to eat, and I did not change my clothes." --- Jahangirnama, Memoirs of Mughal Emperor Jahangir)
It is believed that by offering prayers at this Mazar whatever one wishes will definitely get fulfilled . There is also a ritual of tying a thread at the marble windows of this Dargah to in order to have one's wishes fulfilled and, consequently, many threads can be seen to be tied there. Many people don't believe this theory but I believe in this as our marriage for next five years we wanted to have a child and underwent many treatment including IVF. Then , we decided to visit Mata Vaishno Devi at Jammu and Fatehpur Sikri, and we were not returned empty handed. The doctors felt we never required any treatment!!!!!!
Shaikh Salim Chishti was Sufi saint during Mughal Empire in South Asia. Salim Chishti (1478 – 1572) was one of the famous Sufi saints of the Chishti Order in India. Salim Chishti was the descendant of the famous Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti whose tomb is in Ajmer, Rajasthan.
Salim Chisti, leading his Shaikzada division, fought in the Battle of Haldighati on the side of Akbar against Maharana Pratap.
Salim Chishti was a greatly revered Sufi Mystic who, it was thought by many, could perform miracles. The Mughal Emperor Akbar-e-Azam went to the shrine of Hazrat Ashraf Jahangir Semnani, but on his travels, had received inspiration to go to see Salim Chishti. Akbar came to the holy man's camp, deep in the desert, seeking a male heir to his throne. Salim Chishti blessed Akbar, and soon the first of three sons was born to him. He named his first son Salim (later emperor Jahangir) in honor of Salim Chishti. A daughter of Sheikh Salim Chishti, was the foster mother of Emperor Jahangir. The emperor was deeply attached to his foster mother, as reflected in the Jahangirnama and he was extremely close to her son Qutb-ud-din Khan Koka who, was made the governor of Bengal and his descendants are still to be found in Sheikhupur, Badaun.
The tomb of Shaikh Salim was originally built with red sandstone but later converted into a beautiful marble mausoleum. Salim Chishti's Mazar (tomb) is in the middle of The Emperor's Courtyard at Fatehpur Sikri. Childless women, particularly those without a male heir, still continue to pray on bended knees before his tomb.
Although officially called Sonahra Makan (golden house), this rectangular standalone structure is commonly referred to as Mariam's House. Historians, however, disagree as to which Mariam exactly lived here. Some say it was the Portuguese Christian wife of Akbar, while others believe it was his Indian Moslem wife, Mariam Zamani, mother of Emperor Jehangir (as an aside, Mariam Zamani's mausoleum is located in Sikandra, near Akbar's Tomb). The interior of Sohahra Makan is beautifully painted in different colours, which once included the golden colour that gave the house its name.
Facing the Royal Palace of Fatehpur Sikri, the eastern gate of the Jami Masjid complex was appropriately named, Badshahi Darwaza, i.e. "Royal Gate". It is from this entrance that Emperor Akbar entered the mosque to perform his daily prayers. Although much smaller than Buland Darwaza, measuring only 18 metres in height, Badhsahi Darwaza is equally beautiful and follows similar architectural lines. It was built using red sandstone and decorated with white marble in outstanding geometric and floral motifs (resembling those seen at Akbar's Mausoleum in Sikandra). Outside the gate, the path walked by Akbar on a daily basis still leads to the palace complex.
Although Fatehpur Sikri was abandoned by the Mughals shortly after its construction, a new town has since developed around the grand mosque and the palace complex. This houses of the inhabitants are interspersed among some historic structures to the south and north of the main historic monuments. Likely, the population depends on tourism for a large part of its income. Attached are photos taken from a distance.
For those with more time to explore Fatehpur Sikri, there are numerous other interesting ruins beyond Jami Masjid and the imperial palace complex. These include mausoleums, mosques, palaces, hammams and caravanserais, and often require a short hike on an unpaved road. Attached are a couple of examples I've encountered from a distance. Unfortunately, I had little time to spare and was unable to make the hike, but it leaves me with something to do the next time I am in Fatehpur Sikri.