Fatepur Sikri is a palace-fortress and mosque complex about 40 km from Agra built by Akbar the Great, one of the Mughal Emperors of the mid-to-late 16th C. Fatehpur means “victory city.” It was completed in 1572 and almost immediately abandoned because of water scarcity and war.
The palace-fortress is of the same style at the Red Fort of Agra, with a few interesting architectural twists. Akbar had three wives, a Hindu, a muslim and a Christian wife. Different parts of the palace were devoted to each wife. Design elements of each culture and faith were incorporated into the structure such as vaulted ceilings, wall and pillar carvings employing religious symbols.
The mosque is one of the biggest in the world. The gate itself is known as the largest entrance to any mosque. Within the courtyard of the mosque, housed in a white marble structure, is the tomb of Salim Chrishti, considered a Sufi saint. The mausoleum was constructed by Akbar as a mark of his respect for Chrishti, who foretold the birth of Akbar’s son, named Prince Salim and who later succeeded Akbar to the throne of the Mughal Empire, as Jahangir.
Akbar allegedly was interested in creating an ecumenical religion, likely under the influence of Salim Christi, his spiritual guide. The exterior designs support this view.
Four different stones in the entryway to the mausoleum are from four different nations.
Before going into the mausoleum, I was invited to partake in the traditional offering of flowers and to take a cotton string with me to make a wish. Everyone believes Chrishti, is a remover of obstacles, a powerful healer who grants your wish.
All of the sounded just a little hokey to me and I wasn’t comfortable making a wish for something personal anyway. But I humored them. Took the flowers and the string.
The mausoleum is white marble with Qu’ranic verses carved into the stone as well as latticed marble walls.When I entered the small inner room with several attendants around the four-poster ebony bier, something happened. The energy inside was entirely different from outside. I formed a clear wish that wasn’t personal, without equivocation or doubt, tied my string to the latticework and walked out. That was a very clarifying moment.