Fatehpur Sikri

India | Uttar Pradesh |

Fatehpur Sikri, conveniently located not far from Taj Mahal, houses fascinating ruins belonging the Mughal city known as the City of Victory. Red sandstone buildings finely decorated, massive walls and imposing portals, will leave visitors breathless with their brilliant architecture and intriguing history.


Fatehpur Sikri is located in India, in the federal state of Uttar Pradesh, just ore hour drive from Agra (Taj Mahal) or four hours from either Delhi and Jaipur. Fatehpur Sikri is not actually located in Rajasthan, but we put this destination in our Rajasthan travel itinerary, because it's easy, convenient and highly recommended to visit this location when moving between Delhi and Rajasthan by car or train, rather than by plane (an option really chosen by many tourists visiting both Delhi and Rajasthan).

The ancient city of Fatehpur Sikri, known also as the City of Victory, houses numerous palaces, pavilions, royal residences, temples and mosques, built mainly in red sandstone and protected by massive walls and imposing access gates among the biggest in Asia. The construction of Fatehpur Sikri began in 1570 and the city grew very quickly, before being abandoned a few decades later with the same rapidity, perhaps due to lack of water or just to move closer to the army busy in protecting the northernmost borders.

The architecture of Fatehpur Sikri is typical Mughal, a mixture between Hindu and Islamic, with imposing buildings richly decorated by bas-reliefs and inlaid marble. Although most administration and public buildings are in good conditions, there is apparently no trace of private structures and homes belonged to ordinary people. In fact, we don't have to forget that Fatehpur Sikri was a real city inhabited also by common people and wasn't just a residence complex only for royal families.

How long time is necessary to visit Fatehpur Sikri? It is necessary to spend around 2-3 hours to visit Fatehpur Sikri, including the trips by shuttle bus between main parking lot and entrance to the ruins. The excursion can be taken while moving by car between Agra (Taj Mahal) and Jaipur and it's really not necessary to add an overnight stop in the city.

What is the best time to visit Fatehpur Sikri? The best time to go to Fatehpur Sikri is from October to March, as for whole northern India, because the weather is drier with much less chances of rain, and cooler. In the coldest months of December and January, some morning fog may be possible.

But now let's see some photos of Fatehpur Sikri taken during our trip in India.

City of Victory Diwan-i-Khas
Private audience room

The tour in Fatehpur Sikri starts from Diwan-i-Khas, a quadrangular red sandstone building used for private audiences.

Inside the building, in the center of the room, there is a column exquisitely carved, which ends in a capital decorated with shapes similar to stalactites, from where four walkways converge: here the emperor sat on a marble platform during the audiences.

The palace overlooks Pachisi Court, a courtyard with a chessboard drawn on the floor, where members of the court could play a kind of chess.

Ancient safe box
Building totally built by red sandstone

This massive pavilion entirely built by red sandstone, was characterized by safes hidden in the cavities under fake windows. Valuables were accessed through a large hole on the shelf, which was covered and hidden by a heavy stone slab.

Fatehpur Sikri
The Panch Mahal was also called Wind Tower and is a pyramidal structure with several floors, supported by dozens of pillars. The exact function of the building is unknown.
Rumi Sultana Turkish Sultana's House
Wall made by carved sandstone
The Rumi Sultana, or Turkish Sultana's House, was the home of Emperor's favorite, a Turkish princess. The pavilion was entirely built by red sandstone, has facade, walls and ceiling exquisitely carved with incredible skill: at first glance, visitors may not believe that it's really sandstone, but rather wood, so high and perfect is the level of details.
More photos of Rumi Sultana House showing the incredible details of the bas-reliefs sculptured on the sandstone.
The Mahal-I-Khas was an emperor's private palace and is a building supported by dozens of pillars overlooking a pool.
Emperor's bedroom
Inside the Mahal-I-Khas, visitors can appreciate the huge and massive emperor's bed.
Emperor's palace Emperor private palace
Red sandstone palace
Mahal-I-Khas: a look inside Sandstone buildings in India
The Mahal-I-Khas, or emperor's private palace, built entirely of red sandstone. Probably it was once sumptuously furnished and decorated, but currently we can just appreciate the naked massive structure.
Mariam-uz-Zamani palace
Fatehpur Sikri
City of Victory
Beyond a portal, a large courtyard opens onto which were women's apartments district. Once the buildings were richly decorated with gold leaf and inlays of ceramics or precious stones, but today we can just appreciate beautiful bas-reliefs carved on the structures, since any precious thing has been unplugged or steal when the city was abandoned few years after its construction.
Fatehpur Sikri
The beautiful facades of the buildings in Fatehpur Sikri
The excursion to Fatehpur Sikri continues moving to Jama Masjid district where, already in the distance, visitors can enjoy a view onto the colossal Buland Darvaza, the largest portal in Asia.
Jama Masjid district Jama Masjid
The Jama Masjid district in Fatehpur Sikri is located south-west of the royal palaces and can be reached by a short walk. The large central square overlooks majestic access portals, a mausoleum and a mosque.
Fatehpur Sikri walls Door of Victory
Buland Darvaza, known as Victory Gate is 54 meters (177 feet) high and is considered the largest portal of whole Asia. It was built around 1576 to commemorate Akbar's victory in Gujarat.
Buland Darvaza
Buland Darvaza's facade is decorated by bas-reliefs and inlaid with white marble. Originally, it was full of inlaid precious stones and other decorative elements, but everything was removed after the city has been abandoned.
Fatehpur Sikri Mosque
White marble inlaid into sandstone
The Jama Masjid mosque, located in Fatehpur Sikri, is a building entirely built by red sandstone as well, and has beautiful decorations in white marble.
Other photos of Jama Masjid mosque in Fatehpur Sikri, with faithful praying in the main prayer hall.
Islam Khan Mausoleum
Salim Chishti is a funeral monument (mausoleum) which houses the remains of the saint venerated by Akbar. It is white marble building with beautiful latticework windows coming from a single, patiently carved marble slab. The contrast between white marble and red sandstone dominates this picturesque square.
Islam Khan Mausoleum
Next to Salim Chishti Mausoleum, there is the Islam Khan Mausoleum with numerous tombs around it.

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