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Hotels of Fatehpur Sikri

A hotel in Fatehpur Sikri is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Fatehpur Sikri hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Fatehpur Sikri are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Fatehpur Sikri hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Fatehpur Sikri hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Fatehpur Sikri have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in Fatehpur Sikri
An upscale full service hotel facility in Fatehpur Sikri that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Fatehpur Sikri hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in Fatehpur Sikri
Full service Fatehpur Sikri hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in Fatehpur Sikri
Boutique hotels of Fatehpur Sikri are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Fatehpur Sikri boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Fatehpur Sikri may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in Fatehpur Sikri
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Fatehpur Sikri travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Fatehpur Sikri focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in Fatehpur Sikri
Small to medium-sized Fatehpur Sikri hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Fatehpur Sikri traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Fatehpur Sikri hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in Fatehpur Sikri
A bed and breakfast in Fatehpur Sikri is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Fatehpur Sikri bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Fatehpur Sikri B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Fatehpur Sikri hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Fatehpur Sikri
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Fatehpur Sikri hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Fatehpur Sikri lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Fatehpur Sikri often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Fatehpur Sikri on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in Fatehpur Sikri
A Fatehpur Sikri motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Fatehpur Sikri for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Fatehpur Sikri motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri
फ़तेहपुर सीकरी
View of the modern Fatehpur Sikri
View of the modern Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri is located in India
Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri
Coordinates:  / 27.091; 77.661  / 27.091; 77.661
Country India
State Uttar Pradesh
District Agra
• Total 32,905
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iii, iv
Designated 1986 (10th session)
Reference no. 255
UNESCO Region Asia-Pacific

Fatehpur Sikri (Hindi: फ़तेहपुर सीकरी, is a city in the Agra District of Uttar Pradesh, India. The city was founded in 1569 by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, and served as the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1571 to 1585, when it was abandoned. After his military victories over Chittor and Ranthambore, Akbar decided to shift his capital from Agra to a new location 23 miles (37 km) west south-west , to honour the Sufi saint Salim Chishti. Here, he commenced the construction of a planned walled city, which took the next fifteen years in planning and construction, with a series of royal palaces, harem, courts, a mosque, private quarters and other utility buildings. He named the city Fatehabad, with Fateh, a word of Arabic origin in Persian, meaning "victorious." It was later called Fatehpur Sikri. It is at Fatehpur Sikri that the legends of Akbar and his famed courtiers, the nine jewels or Navaratnas, were born. Fatehpur Sikri is one of the best preserved examples of Mughal architecture in India.

According to contemporary historians, Akbar took a great interest in the building of Fatehpur Sikri and probably also dictated its architectural style. Seeking to revive the splendours of Persian court ceremony made famous by his ancestor Timur, Akbar planned the complex on Persian principles. But the influences of his adopted land came through in the typically Indian embellishments. The easy availability of sandstone in the neighbouring areas of Fatehpur Sikri also meant that all the buildings here were made of the red stone. The Imperial Palace complex consists of a number of independent pavilions arranged in formal geometry on a piece of level ground, a pattern derived from Arab and central Asian tent encampments. In its entirety, the monuments at Fatehpur Sikri thus reflect the genius of Akbar in assimilating diverse regional architectural influences within a holistic style that was uniquely his own.

The Imperial complex was abandoned in 1585, shortly after its completion, due to the exhaustion of the small, spring-fed lake that supplied the city with water, and its proximity with the Rajputana, with which the Mughal Empire was often at war. Thus the capital was shifted to Lahore so that Akbar could have a base in the less stable part of the empire, before moving back to Agra in 1598, where he had begun his reign as he shifted his focus to Deccan. In fact, he never returned to the city except for a brief period in 1601. In later Mughal history it was occupied for a short while by the Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah (r. 1719 -1748) and his regent, Sayyid Hussain Ali Khan Barha, one of the Syed Brothers, was murdered here in 1720. The palaces were occupied by the Marathas after their conquest of Delhi, then transferred to the British army, which used the fortified complex as a headquarters and barracks. Restoration began under Lord Curzon.

Because the palace area has been in nearly continuous use over the centuries, much of the imperial complex which spread over nearly two mile long and one mile wide area is largely intact. It is still surrounded by a five mile long wall built during its original construction on three sides. However apart from the imperial buildings complex and the magnificent mosque, which continues in use, little of the city survives. The former site of the city is mostly barren, except of ruins of the bazaars of the old city near the Naubat Khana, the 'drum-house' entrance at Agra Road. The modern town lies at the western end of the complex, which was a municipality from 1865 to 1904, and later made a notified area and in 1901 had a population of 7,147. For a long time it was still known for its masons and stone carvers, though in Akbar time it was known and 'fabrics of hair' and 'silk-spinning'. The village of Sikri still exists nearby.

Basing his arguments on the excavations by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in 1999-2000 at the Chabeli Tila, senior Agra journalist Bhanu Pratap Singh said the antique pieces, statues, and structures all point to a lost "culture and religious site," more than 1,000 years ago. "The excavations yielded a rich crop of Jain statues, hundreds of them, including the foundation stone of a temple with the date. The statues were a thousand years old of Bhagwan Adi Nath, Bhagwan Rishabh Nath, Bhagwan Mahavir and Jain Yakshinis," said Swarup Chandra Jain, senior leader of the Jain community. A 400 sq-m mound was opened near the village of Nagari, some half a kilometre from the ramparts of the 16th century fort, a sandstone chamber was found, filled with decapitated and broken idols of Jain Tirtankaras.

Fatehpur Sikri: Architecture

General Plan of Fatehpur Sikri City in 1917

Fatehpur Sikri sits on rocky ridge, 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) in length and 1 km (0.62 mi) wide and palace city is surrounded by a 6 km (3.7 mi) wall on three sides with the fourth bordered by a lake. Its architects were R Roy and Dhruv Chawla and was constructed using Indian principles. The buildings of Fatehpur Sikri show a synthesis of various regional schools of architectural craftsmanship such as Gujarat and Bengal. This was because indigenous craftsmen were used for the construction of the buildings. Influences from Hindu and Jain architecture are seen hand in hand with Islamic elements. The building material used in all the buildings at Fatehpur Sikri, palace-city complex, is the locally quarried red sandstone, known as 'Sikri sandstone'. It is accessed through gates along the 5 miles (8.0 km) long fort wall, namely, Delhi Gate, the Lal Gate, the Agra Gate and Birbal's Gate, Chandanpal Gate, The Gwalior Gate, the Tehra Gate, the Chor Gate and the Ajmere Gate.

Buland Darwaza, the 54 mt. high entrance to Fatehpur Sikri complex
Jama Masjid, Fatehpur Sikri
Tomb of Salim Chishti(left) tomb in Jama Masjid courtyard, Fatehpur Sikri
Panch Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri
Hiran Minar Fatehpur Sikri

Some of the important buildings in this city, both religious and secular are:

  • Buland Darwaza: Set into the south wall of congregational mosque, the Buland Darwaza at Fatehpur Sikri is 55 metres (180 ft) high, from the outside, gradually making a transition to a human scale in the inside. The gate was added around five years after the completion of the mosque c. 1576-1577 as an 'victory arch', to commemorate Akbar's successful Gujarat campaign. It carries two inscriptions in the archway, one of which reads: "Isa, Son of Mariam 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 centre, 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.
  • Jama Masjid: It is a Jama Mosque meaning the congregational mosque and was perhaps one of the first buildings to be constructed 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.
  • Tomb of Salim Chishti: A white marble encased tomb of the Sufi saint, Salim Chisti(1478–1572), within the Jama Masjid's sahn, courtyard. The single-storey structure is built around a central square chamber, within which is the grave of the saint, under an ornate wooden canopy encrusted with mother-of-pearl mosaic. Surrounding it is a covered passageway for circumambulation, with carved Jalis, stone pierced screens all around with intricate geometric design and an entrance to the south. The tomb is influenced by earlier mausolea of the early 15th century Gujarat Sultanate period. Other striking features of the tomb are white marble serpentine brackets, which support sloping eaves around the parapet.
    On the left of the tomb, to the east, stands a red sandstone tomb of Islam Khan I, son of Shaikh Badruddin Chisti and grandson of Shaikh Salim Chishti, who became a general in the Mughal army in the reign of Jahangir. The tomb is topped by a dome and thirty-six small domed chattris and contains a number of graves, some unnamed, all male descendants of Shaikh Salim Chisti.
  • Diwan-i-Aam : Diwan-i-Aam 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 Turkic Sultana's House stand Turkic Baths.
  • Diwan-i-Khas: the 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.
  • Ibadat Khana: (House of Worship) was a meeting house built in 1575 CE by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, where the foundations of a new Syncretistic faith, Din-e-Ilahi were laid by Akbar.
  • Anup Talao: Anup Talao was built by Raja Anup Singh Sikarwar A ornamental pool with a central platform and four bridges leading up to it. Some of the important buildings of the royal enclave are surround by it including, Khwabgah(House of Dreams) Akbar's residence, Panch Mahal, a five-storey palace, Diwan-i-Khas(Hall of Private Audience), Ankh Michauli and the Astrologer's Seat, in the south-west corner of the Pachisi Court.
  • Hujra-i-Anup Talao: Said to be the residence of Akbar's Muslim wife, although this is disputed due to its small size.
  • Mariam-uz-Zamani's Palace: The building of Akbar's Rajput wives, including Mariam-uz-Zamani, shows Gujarati influence and is built around a courtyard, with special care being taken to ensure privacy.
  • Naubat Khana: Also known as Naqqar Khana meaning a drum house, where musician used drums to announce the arrival of the Emperor. It is situated ahead of the Hathi Pol Gate or the Elephant Gate, the south entrance to the complex, suggesting that it was the imperial entrance.
  • Pachisi Court: A square marked out as a large board game, the precursor to modern day Ludo game where people served as the playing pieces.
  • Panch Mahal: A five-storied palatial structure, with the tiers gradually diminishing in size, till the final one, which is a single large-domed chhatri. Originally pierced stone screens faced the facade and probably sub-divided the interior as well, suggesting it was built for the ladies of the court. The floors are supported by intricately carved columns on each level, totalling to 176 columns in all.
  • Birbal's House: The house of Akbar's favourite minister, who was a Hindu. Notable features of the building are the horizontal sloping sunshades or chajjas and the brackets which support them.
  • Hiran Minar: The Hiran Minar, or Elephant Tower, is a circular tower covered with stone projections in the form of elephant tusks. Traditionally it was thought to have been erected as a memorial to the Emperor Akbar's favourite elephant. However, it was probably a used as a starting point for subsequent mile posts.

Other buildings included Taksal (mint), Daftar Khana (Records Office), Karkhana (royal workshop), Khazana (Treasury), Hammam (Turkic Baths), Darogha's Quarters, stables, Caravan sarai, Hakim's quarters, etc.

Fatehpur Sikri: Demographics

Fatehpur Sikri has a population of 28,757. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Fatehpur Sikri has an average literacy rate of 46%, lower than the national average of 74%; male literacy is 57%, and female literacy is 34%. In Fatehpur Sikri, 59% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Fatehpur Sikri: Administration

Fatehpur Sikri is one of the fifteen Block headquarters in the Agra district. It has 52 Gram panchayats(Village Panchayat) under it.

The Fatehpur Sikri, is a constituency of the Lok Sabha, Lower house of the Indian Parliament, and further comprises five Vidhan Sabha(legislative assembly) segments:

  • Agra Rural
  • Fatehpur Sikri
  • Kheragarh
  • Fatehabad
  • Bah

In all there are 12 villages of Sisodia Rajputs near Fatehpur Sikri fort in Agra district. These are Daultabad, Nayavas, Satha, Korai, Behrawati, Byara, Undera, Kachora, Singarpur, Vidyapur, Onera, Arrua.

Fatehpur Sikri: Transport

Fatehpur Sikri is about 39 kilometres (24 mi) from Agra. The nearest Airport is Agra Airport(also known as Kheria Airport), 40 kilometres (25 mi) from Fatehpur Sikri. The nearest railway station is Fatehpur Sikri railway station, about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) from the city centre. It is connected to Agra and neighbouring centres by road, where regular bus services operated by UPSRTC ply, in addition to tourist buses and taxis.

Fatehpur Sikri: See also

  • Lahore Fort
  • Tomb of Jehangir
  • Jama Masjid
  • Tomb of Salim Chishti
  • Ibadat Khana
  • Mariam-uz-Zamani
  • Naubat Khana
  • Buland Darwaza

Fatehpur Sikri: Notes

  1. "Fatehpur Sikri, that Mughal emperor Akbar established as his capital and is now a World Heritage site, was once a "flourishing trade and Jain pilgrimage centre", a new book says.", India Times, 17 July 2013
  2. "Fatehpur Sikri was once a Jain pilgrimage centre: Book", Zee News, 27 February 2013
  3. "Fatehpur Sikri was once a Jain pilgrimage centre", The Free Press Journal, 28 February 2013
  4. "Excavation at Akbar's fort at Fatehpur Sikri reveals flourishing Jain and Hindu habitation", India Today, 28 February 2000

Fatehpur Sikri: Further reading

  • Latif, Muḥammad (1896). Agra, Historical & Descriptive. Calcutta Central Press.
  • Fazl, Abul (1897–1939). The Akbarnama (Vol. I-III). Translated by H. Beveridge. Calcutta: Asiatic Society.
  • Keene, Henry George (1899). "Fatehpur Sikri". A Handbook for Visitors to Agra and Its Neighbourhood (Sixth ed.). Thacker, Spink & Co. p. 53.
  • Malleson, G. B., Colonel (1899). Akbar And The Rise Of The Mughal Empire. Rulers of India series. Oxford at the Clarendon Press.
  • Havell, E. B. (1904). A handbook to Agra and the Taj, Sikandra, Fatehpur-Sikri and the neighbourhood (1904). London: Longmans, Greens & Co.
  • Garbe, Dr.Richard von (1909). Akbar - Emperor of India. A picture of life and customs from the sixteenth century. Chicago: The Opencourt Publishing Company.
  • Smith, Vincent Arthur (1917). Akbar the Great Mogul, 1542-1605. Oxford at The Clarendon Press.
  • Hussain, Muhammad Ashraf (1947). A Guide To Fatehpur Sikri. The Manager, Government of India Press.
  • Rezavi, S. Ali Nadeem (1998). Exploring Mughal Gardens at Fathpur Sikri. Indian History Congress.
  • Petruccioli, Attilio (1992). Fatehpur Sikri. Ernst & Sohn.
  • Rizvi, Athar Abbas (2002). Fatehpur Sikri (World heritage series). Archaeological Survey of India. ISBN 81-87780-09-6.
  • Rezavi, Syed Ali Nadeem (2002). "Iranian Influence on Medieval Indian Architecture", The Growth of Civilizations in India and Iran. Tulika.
  • Jain, Kulbhushan (2003). Fatehpur Sikri: where spaces touch perfection. VDG. ISBN 3-89739-363-8.
  • Rezavi, Dr. Syed Ali Nadeem (2008). Religious Disputation and Imperial Ideology: The Purpose and Location of Akbar's Ibadatkhana. SAGE Publications.

Fatehpur Sikri: References

  • Havell, E. B. (1904). A handbook to Agra and the Taj, Sikandra, Fatehpur-Sikri and the neighbourhood (1904). Longmans, Greens & Co., London.
  • Smith, Vincent Arthur (1917). Akbar the Great Mogul, 1542-1605. Oxford at The Clarendon Press.
  • Asher, Catherine Ella Blanshard (1992). "Age of Akbar". Architecture of Mughal India, (Part 1). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-26728-5.
  • Fatehpur Sikri, Detailed study Arch Net Digital Library
  • Fatehpur Sikri at Archaeological Survey of India
  • An interactive map of Fatehpur Sikri
  • Fatehpur Sikri History
  • 360 degree walkthrough of Fatehpur Sikri
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