Nearly all visitors to India commit themselves to the touristy circuit of the Golden triangle. This is approximately 1000 km journey that comprises of the cities, Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.
Indeed Golden triangle itinerary is one of the great ways in which some important and significant monuments and experiences of India are enjoyed.
In their excitement to visit the Taj Mahal and the bustling markets of Jaipur, some tourists sadly omit to visit Fatehpur Sikri.
Fatehpur Sikri is en route between Agra and Jaipur. It represents the finest example of town planning during the Mughal rule.
Ralph Finch, an English traveller in 1585, wrote that Fatehpur Sikri is a larger and more populous vis-a-vis London.
The USP of Fatehpur Sikri is that it has uniform architecture, including the temples and the administration buildings. All are predominantly built in the red sandstone.
Fatehpur Sikri means The City of Victory. In 1568, formerly a non-descript little village, Sikri's fortunes had a dramatic change when the mughal Emperor Akbar paid a visit to the Sufi saint Salim Chishty living here.
At that time Akbar was at the peak of his power and glory. His treasury was decently well endowed, there was peace in his kingdom and a general stability in his empire.
Yet, due to lack of a male heir, he was not at peace with himself. This yearning to beget a son brought him to Sikri, to seek the blessings of the Sufi saint Salim Chishty. The saint prophesied that Akbar shall be blessed with three sons.
And Akbar was indeed obliged. Salim (named after the saint) or Jehangir was born to him first. A delighted and grateful mighty emperor decided to honour the saint and build his capital at Sikri.
Under the supervision of Akbar, the construction started in 1571, at the very same location where the saint had made the prediction.
The construction finished in 1573 and for the next 10 years, Fatehpur Sikri was the seat and the capital of the Mughal Empire.
It is rumoured that due to paucity of water this city had to be abandoned. But during its life as a capital, it had a splendoured existence.
Today it is a ghost town with mosques, palaces and pavilions offering a wry glimpse into its gloried past.
Though the Taj Mahal is stunningly beautiful, the Fatehpur Sikri is no less. For many it is a tossup between the Taj Mahal and the Fatehpur Sikri.
Fatehpur Sikri oozes strong maleness.