Fatehpur Sikri is a magnificent fortified ancient city, 40km west of Agra. It’s fame as the capital of the Mughal empire between 1572 and 1585 was rather short-lived, during the reign of Emperor Akbar. Story goes that Akbar had visited the village of Sikri to consult the Sufi saint Shaikh Salim Chishti, who predicted the birth of an heir to the Mughal throne. When the prophecy came true, Akbar built his new capital here, including a stunning mosque (Jama Masjid), still in use today, and three palaces, one for each of his three favourite wives.

The city is a living example of an Indo-Islamic masterpiece, but was abandoned shortly after Akbar’s death due to water shortages in the area. If you’re on your way to exploring the Taj Mahal in Agra, don’t forget to keep some time for this rather underrated Mughal architectural marvel.

Major highlights of Fatehpur Sikri today that you shouldn’t miss when you’re visiting are:

Pachisi Courtyard

Pachisi courtyard

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Diwan-i-Khas

Diwan-i-Khas

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Panch Mahal

Panch Mahal

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Jama Masjid

Jama Masjid

Image courtesy: Getty

Tomb of Shaikh Saleem Chishti

Tomb of Shaikh

Image courtesy: Getty

Buland Darwaza

Buland Darwaza

Image courtesy: Getty