Fathepur Sikri - Akbar The Great's New City

Trip Start Nov 29, 2013
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of India  , Uttar Pradesh,
Friday, December 20, 2013

Fatehpur Sikri is the third UNESCO World Heritage site in the Agra area along with the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort. About 30 miles west of Agra, it was built on the site where an oracle prophesied that Mughal emperor Akbar "The Great" would be borne a son after none of his three wives had so far been able to have any children. The fortified city was constructed in the late 1500s and served as capital of the Mughal Empire for about 15 years. Built all at once it has a unified architecture in red sandstone and is almost dwarfed by a massive adjacent mosque. The three very different homes of Akbar's three wives, one Hindu, one Muslim, and one Christian, although of vastly different dimensions were of similar cost to build because of relative opulence of their interiors inverse to their size in keeping with the Muslim requirement that a man with multiple wives treat all of them equally.

The fascinating working mosque contains the sacred tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti and serves as a Muslim pilgrimage site where pilgrims lay cloth on the Sheikh’s tomb and tie red string to the marble filigree and make three wishes which are supposed to come true.

India has particularly bad reputation for “in your face” hustlers, trinket sellers, and rickshaw drives. I may be used to it and have a relative tolerance for that kind of thing after all my travels and the year I spent in Egypt, but up to this point it didn’t seem to be that bad. Most people who learn in poorer countries who learn to make a living off of tourists but can be very persistent and make a nuisance of themselves. Those around Fathepur Sikri, though, are of that incredibly persistent type.. But I’m sure they did it because it works for them; many of my truckmates bought cheesy trinkets from them despite my yelling 'No, don’t do it. It just encourages them!”

Just past Fatehpur Sikri we entered Rajasthan state where the good toll road was the closest thing I’ve seen to an expressway in India went all the way to the edge of Jaipur.
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