Highlights of India: Fatehpur Sikri

(Last Updated On: June 13, 2018)

You may be aware that Uttar Pradesh is one of India’s most historic and exciting regions. Being home to the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort, Uttar Pradesh offers a vast treasure chest of history and architecture.

If you travel just 40 kilometres from the city of Agra you will reach the historical city of Fatehpur Sikri. Here, a rich period of Mughal history comes alive through the ornate mix of marble and sandstone. So indulge your curiosity and step out of the buzz of Agra and into the provinces for a well worthwhile trip.

Panch Mahal in Fatehpur Sikri
Panch Mahal is the centrepiece of Fatehpur Sikri

What to do

Like the Agra Fort, this city is a fortress containing a series of royal palaces, harem, courts and the sprawling Jama Masjid mosque. World Heritage-listed since 1986, Fatehpur Sikri briefly served as the capital of the Mughal Empire between 1571 and 1585 during the reign of Emperor Akbar, and there is so much to see inside this ancient citadel.

The stunning Panch Mahal, a towering five-story building consisting of a network of open archways, operates as Fatehpur Sikri’s centrepiece. It’s a great starting point for those who don’t know where to begin in this enchanting city. Ornate sandstone structures creep around a central square, at the centre of which perfectly manicured lawns entwine with deep red sandstone pathways.

In one of the outer squares of the citadel, standing out like a beacon of white marble from the sea of red sandstone, is the tomb of Sheikh Salim Chisti. The mausoleum is the final resting place of this Sufi saint, who proclaimed that Emperor Akhbar would rear a son to succeed him.

His tomb sits in the centre of the crypt on a marble plinth about a metre off the ground. The intricate artwork that decorates its interior is testimony to the esteem that the Sheikh was held in by the Moghuls.

Jalebi, a sweet treat in India
Jalebi is a popular dessert in India

What to eat

Curry lovers will love Uttar Pradesh, as one of India’s culinary hotspots. Dishes such as korma, samosas, chaat, pakora and raita are all popular in the region. But Uttar Pradesh is perhaps most well known for its kebabs. The Seekh Kabab is probably the most famous of all, and well worth a try. Minced lamb is mixed with spices and grilled on skewers in a Tandoor oven, before being served with a mint raita.

For those with a sweet tooth, jalebi, an Indian version of churros, is a very popular dessert. It can be eaten as an after dinner treat, but is perhaps best to have as a snack purchased from a street vendor.

What to drink

After a long day exploring you’ll probably want to take some time to sit down, collect your thoughts and grab something to drink. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try a sharbat or sherbet, a sweet drink made from fruit or flower petals. It’s served chilled, often in a near solid form, although water can be applied to help dilute it. Popular flavours include lemon, mango and orange.

Tea is still very popular throughout India, with Darjeeling and Assam being the most popular strands. For those wishing for something stronger, India’s growing beer industry produces internationally recognised brands such as Kingfisher for you to sup on.

Moment you’ll never forget

Like the rest of Uttar Pradesh’s historical architecture, the city of Fatehpur Sikri is best viewed at sunset. The red sandstone palaces create a glowing ambience as the sun transforms into a dying orange ember, bouncing off the grand structures. Everything appears a little more serene in the late afternoon glow, and as the shadows draw longer you can feel the sun setting of a fallen empire.

If you like the sound of Fatehpur Sikri, why not check out our range of India group tours?

2 comments on “Highlights of India: Fatehpur Sikri

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