Fatehpur Sikri and Its Architectural Significance

AGRA, India — The complex known as Fatehpur Sikri was built by Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1569, serving as a capital from 1571 to 1585, and it was a place where architectural styles converged into a new strain.

Wikipedia writes:

Seeking to revive the splendours of Persian court ceremony made famous by his ancestor Timur, Akbar planned the complex on Persian principles. But the influences of his adopted land came through in the typically Indian embellishments. The easy availability of sandstone in the neighbouring areas of Fatehpur Sikri also meant that all the buildings here were made of the red stone. The Imperial Palace complex consists of a number of independent pavilions arranged in formal geometry on a piece of level ground, a pattern derived from Arab and central Asian tent encampments. In its entirety, the monuments at Fatehpur Sikri thus reflect the genius of Akbar in assimilating diverse regional architectural influences within a holistic style that was uniquely his own.

Inside the Diwan-i-Khas at Fatehpur Sikria. (Photos by Bruno J. Navarro)

Immediately impressionable was the inside of the Diwan-i-Khas, or Hall of Private Audience.

The structure is famous for its central pillar, “which has a square base and an octagonal shaft, both carved with bands of geometric and floral designs. Further its thirty-six serpentine brackets support a circular platform for Akbar, which is connected to each corner of the building on the first floor, by four stone walkways.”

It almost looked alive, like a futuristic hive, both familiar and imposing, and the building’s interior flowed across the catwalks, from the walls toward the center, and radiating back out again. Unique, to say the least.

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