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Fatehpur Sikri

Introduction
Agra tourism Fatehpur Sikri is a small city of Uttar Pradesh state in North India. It is one of the popular heritage city which was duly planned and developed in 16th century, during Mughal emperor Akbar's reign. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site, close to Agra city. It is one of the most loving tourist attraction, being one of the best known of the deserted cities of India. It is on 35 kms away in the west of Agra city and can easily be reached by road transfer. Fatehpur Sikri was declared as UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986 which has increased its popularity among tourists. Large number of tourists visit this heritage city on daily basis. Those who comes to Agra, often undertakes Fatehpur Sikri tour. It is open for tourists, throughout the year. It is an Epic in red sandstone. Fatehpur Sikri was built by Mughal Emperor Akbar during 1571-1585 A.D., after successfully completing, military expeditions of Chittor and Ranthambore. During those days, Akbar was childless and willing to have son who can further manage Mughal dynasty and thus need blessings from popular saints. In this series, he went to meet saint Sheikh Salim Chishti, who lives in seclusion, close to Sikri village. In this meeting, saint predicted that very soon Akbar will have son and this proved true. Impressed from saint's blessings and empowered with Rajasthan wins, Akbar decided to develop a planned city near Sikri village and named it Fatehpur Sikri. It is his way to give his thanks to Saint Sheikh Salim Chishti. It is a very well planned red sand-stone city which is well secured under wall, where provision of all necessary things are made with long-term planning. It remained Mughals capital for just 14 years and later shifted to Lahore and Agra. Reason was political unrest in Northern India and water crises in this newly developed capital. Still, despite of all, it remained a favorite place for Akbar. Here we have discussed important features of Fatehpur Sikri, in which tourists are interested to know. This information will help them to understand this magnificent township and induce them to visit this place.

Tourist Attractions
As already mentioned, Fatehpur Sikri is a abandoned township and one-time Mughal capital, we can expect some magnificent art and architecture work. Here red sand-stone was used in majority of important and popular buildings and monuments. Within this township, some of the most notable structures are Jama Masjid, Salim Chishti Tomb, Buland Darwaza, Imperial Harem, Panch Mahal, Palace complex, Hammams, Rang Mahal, Stone Cutter's Mosque, Diwan-i-khas, Diwan-i-am etc. These are the popular tourist attractions of Fatehpur Sikri. During visit of this township, we highly recommend to hire guide service, to understand and observe this place in best-way.

History
Fatehpur Sikri was built at a time when golden period of Mughal rule was beginning. After death of emperor Humayun, his son Akbar has taken charge and successfully completed military expeditions of Chittor and Ranthambore. Mughal army was most powerful army in that time and has bagged many victory in series of wars. Despite of this growth, Akbar was worrying for successor of Mughal dynasty as he was not having any male child. In order to get the blessings from holy saints, he visited many saints and holy sites but received disappointment. In this period of dilemma, Akbar was advised to Sufi Saint Sheikh Salim Chishti. The desire for a son led Mughal Emperor Akbar to many holy men and finally to the renowned Sufi Saint Sheikh Salim Chishti who lived in an isolated cave near Sikri. The Saint blessed Akbar and soon a son was born to him in 1569. The grateful Emperor named his son Salim after the Saint and built the grand Jama Masjid near the saint's dwelling. To the west of this mosque lie two graves-one of the saint and the other of his infant son. In further memory of the Saint, Akbar vowed to build a great city as his capital. Later, due to shortage of water and unrest in north-west, Akbar had to abandon this city. After a passage of hundreds of years, the distinction of this royal city has not faded. It is at Fatehpur Sikri that the legends of Akbar and his famed courtiers, the nine jewels or Navratnas were born. Fatehpur Sikri is one of the best preserved examples of Mughal architecture in India. Fatehpur Sikri, known for it's Architecture and planning, is located in Northern India near Agra, was built by Akbar, the third Mughal emperor, in 1571, as his new capital. The major part of the complex was built/constructed in a short span of four to ten years, using local building skills and materials.Some of the important building, both religious and secular are Buland Darwaza, Jama Masjid, Tomb of Salim Chisti, Diwane Aam, Diwane Khas, Jodha bai’s palace, Ibadat Khana, Anoop Talab, Hujra-I-Anup talab, Mariam-UZ-Zamani’s Palace, Naubat Khana, Pachisi court, Panch Mahal, Birbal’s House and Hiran Minar etc. To understand Fatehpur Sikri he had to know history of Fatehpur Sikri.

Location
Fatehpur Sikri lies in Central-West of Uttar Pradesh state in North India. It is just 35kms from Agra city, in western direction. It is very well connected from Agra city, by road and train option. Its Longitude and Latitude of 27.091°N and 77.661°E. It is close to state border of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan state. Another UNESCO World Heritage Nature site Keoladeo National Park, in Rajasthan, is just 25kms from Fatehpur Sikri. It is one of the most popular site for birding. It is just 25kms north-west of Fatehpur Sikri. It forms a triangular position in which Bharatpur is on left and Agra is on right of Fatehpur Sikri. This offers ideal condition for tourism activity in this region. Tourists staying in Agra hotels or Bharatpur hotels, can easily undertake excursion tour Fatehpur Sikri.

How to reach
Fatehpur Sikri is easily accessible by road and train options. It is just 35kms from Agra city in west direction. Similarly world famous birding site Keoladeo National Park is also just 25kms from Fatehpur Sikri. All important connecting roads are is good condition and accessible throughout the year. It lies in 250kms south of Delhi and many tourists comes directly from Delhi. Similarly other nearby tourist destinations are Mathura, Vrindavan, Ranthambore, Jaipur, Gwalior etc. Fatehpur Sikri is well connected from all these popular tourist destinations. It is mainly accessible by road and train option. This town is not having its own airport and dependent on Agra airport. But now a days, Agra airport is also not having good connectivity and new airport in under-process. Lets check, how to reach Fatehpur Sikri by various available options:

By Road

Fatehpur Sikri is well connected by road option. Its nearby cities are Agra and Bharatpur. Both the cities are well connected by road option. Its road connectivity is also very good from Delhi, Mathura, Vrindavan, Ranthambore, Jaipur, Gwalior etc. Tourists from any of these location can travel by road to Fatehpur Sikri. NH-21 is popular highway road, that connects this town from major cities and tourist destinations. Their are direct bus service from Bharatpur and Agra.

By Train

Its nearest railway station is Fatehpur Sikri Railway Station (Code=FTS). This station is in town itself which ensures easy train journey to visit this township. It is having direct train connectivity from important cities and tourist destinations like Mumbai, Surat, Vadodara, Kota, Sawai Madhopur, Agra, Lucknow. Tourists usually avoids direct train journey to Fatehpur Sikri as good accommodation options are not available here. Tourists prefers to reach Agra or Bharatpur, by train and undertake road journey for excursion tour. Agra is very well connected with all major cities and tourist destinations of India like Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Jabalpur, Aurangabad, Bhopal, Haridwar, Varanasi, Udaipur etc.

By Flight

Fatehpur Sikri nearest airport is in Jaipur (200kms). It is a good airport option to reach, from other Indian cities, for visiting Fatehpur Sikri and other places. Second best option is Delhi Airports (250kms/05:00hrs). Here we can find International airport and Domestic airport, both with very good flight connectivity. As if now Agra airport is overlooked by tourists as it is not having any good connectivity. A new Taj International Airport is proposed and likely to be built soon, after that, we may consider Agra airport also for flight options.

Salim Chishti
As Fatehpur Sikri was established in honor of Sufi saint Salim Chishti so it is important to have some information about this saint. He was a greatly revered Sufi Sant who, it assumes 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. Akbar held the Sufi in such high regard that he had a great city Fatehpur Sikri built around the Sufi Saint's camp. His Mughal Court and Courtiers were then relocated there. A shortage of water is said to be the main reason that the city was abandoned and it now sits in remarkably good condition as a mostly deserted city.

Best time to visit
Fatehpur Sikri site is open for tourists, from sunrise to sunset, in all seasons. It means, tourists can visit this World Heritage site on any date, in day-time. As per Indian tourism season from September to May, majority of tourists, visit this site, during this period. Domestic visitors can be seen, throughout the year but their favorite time periods are August to December, March to May. These are their best time to visit Fatehpur Sikri, due to occurrence of major festivals, government holidays, school holidays. Inbound tourist, prefers to visit from October to March months, as during this period, all popular tourists destinations like national parks, birding sites remain open for visitors. Similarly climatic condition is also good in this period that enhances the convenience in traveling. As Fatehpur Sikri lies in North India, period from 15-Dec to 20-Jan, may be challenging to winter fog problem. Usually, North India remain affected by dense fog in this period, causes delay/cancellation in trains & flights. In this period, road transfer are more reliable than other options.

Accommodation Options
Fatehpur Sikri is a small township, due to which accommodation options are very limited. Normally, tourists opts stay in Agra hotels or Bharatpur hotels and undertake visit as excursion tour. Both the destinations are very good option for stay as large number of good hotel options are available, in all category with value for money deals.

Tour Extension
After completing visit of Fatehpur Sikri, guests have option to visit Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, Mathura, Vrindavan, Agra, Ranthambore, Jaipur, Gwalior, Delhi etc. These all are popular tourist destinations and easily reachable from Fatehpur Sikri.

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