Delhi/Agra/Fatehpur Sikri

There are many reasons why the people of northern India can be proud of their city. The Mughal Empire was one of the largest centralized states known in pre-modern world history. For nearly one hundred and seventy years (1556-1719) the Mughal Empire remained a dynamic, centralized, complex organization.

First, a little background information of the Mughals, the people of northern India, the people’s religion and their ruler. The Mughals were Muslims from Persia and Afghanistan whom invaded India from the north. The great ruler, Akbar, was born in the city of Delhi, but, moved to Agra. This is when the Empire of Agra began.

When Akbar moved to Agra in 1565, he built a fortress which was called Lal Qila which means Red Fort. They called it the Red Fort because of the colour the bricks that were used to construct the fortress. It took eight years to build with the help of about four thousand people. Inside were private and public apartments and there’s a hall call the Diwan-i-am used for public audiences (Red Fort). What was interesting of the hall were that some parts of the hall were hand made carvings from Italy (Red Fort). The City of Agra was established in 1566 and it began the center of culture and scholarship. (Agra)

In 1580, a Jesuit man, Father Manserrate, had visited Agra. He mentions the mild climate, fertile soil, the great river, beautiful gardens, and it’s fame that spread to the end of the earth, and large size. What Father Manserrate meant is that Agra had most necessities and conveniences of human life that can be obtained here. Not only did they have the necessities of life, but the population had a lot of artisans, iron-workers and gold smiths. It was also a rich city because of the large amounts of gold and silver in the area.

Babar, the son great grandson of Tamerlane, came to India and invaded Northern India from Ibrahim Lodi the last head of the Dehli Sultanate (Robinson). After the inavasion he had established the Mughal Empire in India (Robinson). Babar was succeeded by his son Humayun whose son was Akbar (Robinson). Akbar was the third Mughal emperor of India but, he was considered to be the true founder of the Mughal Empire (Robinson). His empire had expanded as far west as Afghanistan, and south as far as the Godavari River(Robinson). He was a kind man who was kind to the poor and cared about justice. Not only did he respect all people, but also different faiths and religions. He also had started a new faith which was a mix of Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Jainism and other faiths; this was called Din-i-Ilahi(Robinson). Being an Emperor he had owned many things such as animals like horses and elephants. The Mughal Empire was ruled for more than 300 years except during 1540-155 because of the period of the Sur sultans (Mughal Empire). The empire had gone away for 150 years from 1556 to 1707 under Akbar and his successors were Jahangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb (Mughal Empire).

In 1571, Akbar created a new capital at Sikri 32 km’s away from Agra and there is a great story that goes with this city. Akbar wanted a male heir and went to a holy man whose name was Shaikh Salin. He predicted that Akbar would get three sons and Shaikh Salim was right. Sikri then became a holy place for Emperor Akbar’s dynasty. Akbar then personally planned and help construct the city. It was huge and was designed to be the centre, culturally and commercially of the Akbar’s empire. There is also a great huge mosque which was 40 metres wide and 52 metres high. Later Akbar changed the city’s name to Fatehpur Sikri which means city of victory after his great conquest of Gujarat. For sixteen years the city if Fatehpur Sikri remained the centre of the great empire. Foreign tourists were always amazed when they saw how great the Mughal court was. Fatehpur Sikri was a very good city even an English voyager, in 1585 Ralph Fitch said “Agra and Fatehpur are two great cities, either of them much greater than London and very populous.” (The West and the World) Unfortunately Fatehpur Sikri “The Perfect City”