Fatehpur Sikri: A UNESCO World Heritage Site that has links to the Mughal Dynasty!

The city of Agra holds a UNESCO World Heritage Site that speaks through its Indo-Islamic architectural-styled monuments and makes it a marvel to witness.

Hitanshu Bhatt
New Update
Fatehpur Sikri

Credits - Savaari

Fatehpur Sikri in Agra, Uttar Pradesh stands as a testament to the grandeur and architectural brilliance of the Mughal era. Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this enchanting city invites visitors to delve into its rich history and marvel at its stunning structures. Here is everything you need to know about the elaborate history and architecture of Fatehpur Sikri.


Commissioned by Emperor Akbar in the 16th century, Fatehpur Sikri (the City of Victory) served as the capital of the Mughal Empire for a brief period. Its construction began in 1569 and lasted for around fifteen years, showcasing a harmonious blend of Persian, Hindu, and Indo-Islamic architectural styles. It was the first planned city of the Mughals to be marked by administrative, residential, and religious buildings. It also comprised palaces, public buildings, mosques, and living areas for the court, the army, the servants of the king and an entire city. Upon moving the capital to Lahore in 1585, Fatehpur Sikri remained an area for temporary visits by the Mughal emperors.

Buland Darwaza

Architectural Marvels

One of the most iconic structures within Fatehpur Sikri is the Buland Darwaza, or the ‘Gate of Magnificence,’ which greets visitors with its towering presence. Buland Darwaza, or the Lofty Gate, is a 40-meter-tall, towering building located south of the court. It was finished in 1575 as a tribute to Gujarat's triumph in 1572. It is unquestionably the most magnificent colossal construction of Emperor Akbar's reign and among India's finest architectural creations.

jama masjid
Jama Masjid (Source)

The Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India adorned with intricate carvings and elegant domes, is another architectural masterpiece that leaves spectators in awe. Included in this mosque is the tomb of the Sikh Salim Chisti, an incredible work of sculptural embellishment finished in 1580–1581 and then decorated in 1606 during Jahangir's reign. It is believed that Salim was a miraculous saint. Legend has it that Akbar, who lacked an heir, sought assistance from Salim Chisti. The son then born to Akbar was named Salim, after the saint, and later became known as Jahangir. That is why to date people come to his tomb and tie dhagas (threads) to get a child and believe the Chisti will fulfil their wish.

The emperor's seat, which is a modest raised chamber with a pitched stone roof and perforated stone screens separating it, is inserted at the west end of the porticoed Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience). This room has direct access to the imperial palace complex, which is arranged around a sizable court. A structure commonly referred to as the "Jewel House" or Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Private Audience) is located on its northern side.

Diwan-i-Khas (Source)

The palace of Jodha Bai, the largest building in the residential complex, boasts richly carved interior pillars, balconies, stone windows, and an azure-blue ribbed roof on the north and south sides. Other outstanding monuments within the complex include Birbal's House, the Caravan Sarai, Haram Sara, baths, waterworks, stables, and the Hiran Tower. This palace was constructed by Akbar for his favorite wife, Jodha Bai, who was a Rajput princess. According to history, Akbar formed marriage alliances with the Rajput kings and married Jodha Bai, the sister of Man Singh, the ruler of Jaipur at that time. 'Jodha Bai ka Rauza' is a beautiful example of the fusion of Hindu and Muslim architecture, incorporating Gujarati and Rajasthani intricacies. Alongside the Mughal architecture, Hindu motifs such as hans (swan), parrots, elephants, lotus, srivatsa mark, and ghant mala are also present.

jodha bai palace
The palace of Jodha Bai (Source)

Panch Mahal is an extraordinary, entirely columnar five-storey structure disposed asymmetrically on the pattern of a Persian badgir, or wind-catcher tower; the pavilion of Turkish Sultana; Anup Talao (Peerless Pool); Diwan-Khana-i-Khas and Khwabgah (Sleeping Chamber); and the pavilion of Turkish Sultana. The buildings' architectural design is a stunning fusion of Persian and indigenous forms.

The inscription highlights the city's role as a testament to the Mughal dynasty's architectural prowess and its fusion of diverse cultural influences. Fatehpur Sikri’s UNESCO World Heritage status ensures that future generations can continue to marvel at its architectural splendour and delve into its storied past, perpetuating its legacy for centuries to come.

Jama Masjid UNESCO World Heritage Site Fatehpur Sikri in Agra Indo-Islamic architectural styles Buland Darwaza Diwan-i-Am Diwan-i-Khas Panch Mahal architecture of Fatehpur Sikri history of Fatehpur Sikri