Imagine spending 15 years planning and building a brand new capital, only to abandon it after another 14 years. That is what the Mughal emperors of India did here.
The UNESCO World Heritage List includes more than a thousand properties with outstanding universal value. They are all part of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.
Date of Inscription: 1986
Category: Cultural site
UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre’s short description of site no. 255:
Fatehpur Sikri is located in Agra District in the State of Uttar Pradesh in the North East of India. It was constructed at south-east of an artificial lake, on the slopping levels of the outcrops of the Vindhyan hill ranges. Known as the “city of victory”, it was made capital by the Mughal emperor Akbar (1556-1605 AD) and constructed between 1571 and 1573 AD. Fatehpur Sikri was the first planned city of the Mughals marked by magnificent administrative, residential and religious buildings comprised of palaces, public buildings, mosques, living areas for the court, the army, the servants of the king and an entire city. Upon moving the capital to Lahore in 1585 AD, Fatehpur Sikri remained as an area for temporary visits by the Mughal emperors.
One may ask why one should build a capital city only to leave it after a few years. The reason is two-fold: One is that the water reservoir was not sufficient to uphold the needs of the court and soldiers. Second is that it was vulnerable due to its proximity to enemy territory. Poor planning aside, this is today a place to visit on the Golden Triangle tour between Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. The Fatehpur Sikri is located between Jaipur and Agra and offers splendid views and fascinating buildings.
The story from my visit is yet to be written.
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