Select from the drop-down MENU & READ the Blog in your PREFERRED Language


Akbar & Harka Bai | Maharana Pratap | Mauryans | Razia Sultan | Miscellaneous | Jodha Akbar | FolkLore | Suggestions

5300+ comments registered on over 165 active posts, till now.
Plagiarism is a serious ethical offense amounting to copyright infringement. ZERO tolerance for Plagiarism.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Special Anniversary Post | Archival snippets of Prince of Wales' Visit to Fatehpur Sikri in 1906 | Tributes to Akbar and Fatehpur Sikri | Mariam-Uz-Zamani's Twins' death linked with Fatehpur Sikri | With Akbarnama miniatures, 30+ pictures of Fatehpur Sikri from archives

Hey all,
What's up guys ? Writing a blog post after a pretty long break. But for a perfect reason on a very special occasion.

Today, OUR blog completes 2 years! Yet, it feels as if it was born just a few days back. Time sure flies by so quickly, doesn't it ?

Re-living those memories and remembering the great discussions we all had here engulfs me with nostalgia. This blog was a personal space that was started to share my reading/learning of history with like-minded people across the globe. In no time at all, we all became part of a big family. My quest became learning more and more from you guys through your enriching comments and our fruitful discussions. Never thought historical research and discussion could become so interesting!  

Over 5,23,000 visits have been registered on this blog till now in just 2 years - including the last 8 months when no blog post was made and the blog was, more or less, in hibernation. This is stupendous by any standards. Especially for a niche blog that initially started only with purely historical posts on Mughal and Rajput history.

The blog family includes members ranging from researchers to book writers, from youngsters to senior citizens, members from various professions across various nationalities. There are quite a few people who have contributed to the history posts on this blog. In fact, a few posts have been written solely on the historical inputs shared by blog members based on their readings (as can be seen from the credits in those posts).

Among the 5200+ comments posted on 160+ blog posts till now, there are many saying Thanks for the posts and some extremely flattering comments as well. But today its my turn to Thank all the people out here who made the journey so fulfilling. The blog has received unbelievable and invaluable support from you for which I am falling short of words to express my gratitude.

- Thank you for reading the blog posts.
- Thank you for your kind words of appreciation - i'm indebted for them, forever.
- Thank you to fellow history researchers / book writers / aficionados, for sharing historical inputs on the blog and taking out time for participating in the long discussions.
- Special thanks to the friends who differed / brought new perspectives to discussions. Diversity is the most beautiful aspect of this universe, and a multitude of views adds depth to any discussion, especially when expressed in as civil a manner as is the norm on this blog.

Each one of you has contributed in immeasurable ways to the birth and growth of this blog. And therefore this blog belongs to all of us. 

 In this illustration to the Akbarnama, the official history of the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar, the ruler is depicted dressed in white in the upper section of the painting. He inspects the construction done in the royal city of Fathpur ('City of Victory', also known as Fatehpur Sikri) in 1571. 

 Painting, in opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Akbar, in white at the upper right of the painting, inspects the building of the city of Fathpur (Fatehpur Sikri). The image shows a crowded building site with both male and female labourers. ca. 1586 - ca. 1589 (made). At V&A Museum.

Herein would have ended a normal post thanking readers. 
But can any post on this blog be complete without some historical tidbits on the very least? Certainly not!
These days i am digging into details related to the Tomb of Mariam-Uz-Zamani (the search is almost complete) in Agra, close to the tomb of Mughal Emperor Akbar in Sikandra. During this research, i came across the following event.

The Prince* and Princess of Wales visited India in 1905 - 1906. They also visited Fatehpur Sikri and Agra. The Indian and the world media covered this event extensively in the newspapers of that time.

* The Prince of Wales later became King George V and visited India again with Queen Mary, holding Durbar in Delhi in 1911 that marked his accession as Emperor of India.
I also came across a few fascinating historical snippets from newspapers about Akbar, Mariam-Uz-Zamani, the architecture of Fatehpur Sikri and the religious eclecticism which prevailed here.

These newspaper reports were compiled into a very large volume by the Foreign Department of the Government of India, after 2 years in 1907. 

Construction of Fatehpur Sikri
Design by Tulsi the Elder, Painted by Bhavani, ca. 1590,
From Akbarnama, V&A Museum, London


Here is a bouquet of those snippets to let you relive that bygone era once more.

Compilation of the Visit of Prince and Princess of Wales released by the Foreign Department of the Government of India

The itinerary of the Prince and the Princess of Wales as reported by The Englishman

The itinerary Continued...

Visit of the Prince and the Princess of Wales to Fatehpur Sikri - DaftarKhana, Palaces, Temples, Mosques

Comparison of the aesthetic tastes of Shah Jahan and Akbar. A fitting tribute to Akbar.

The story behind Akbar's association with Fatehpur Sikri is also given, starting with the death of the twin sons of Akbar and Mariam-Uz-Zamani, which lead to the contact with Sufi Sheikh Salim Chisti.

Mariam-Uz-Zamani gives birth to Prince Salim / Jahangir.

Akbar builds a lofty capital at Fatehpur Sikri. Various structures come up, like the Diwan-e-Khas, etc. Later, Akbar deserts this city and shifts the capital to Lahore.

Hindu architecture in the female palace / Mariam's House at the Fatehpur Sikri. Fatehpur Sikri is Akbar himself in stone!

The divinity associated with the tomb of Salim Chisti and a narration of events about the clash of warriors against the Buland Darwaza.

The descendants of Salim Chisti still reside at the Fatehpur Sikri. The Prince and Princess was escorted by a descendant on their visit, whom the writer describes as the gentle mannered person.

Fatehpur Sikri is said to be a dedication to religious tolerance in an age of bigotry. One can see the structures like the Hindu Yogi's Seat. It is also called Astrologer's Seat. Akbar had the epic Mahabharata narrated to him by this Yogi.

The translation of an inscription referring to Jesus Christ on the Buland Darwaza  is also listed above.

End of the day

Panoramic view of the structures inside the Fatehpur Sikri, a watercolor by Sita Ram, 1814-15, (British Library)

Panoramic view of the mosque and palace of Fatehpur Sikri, a watercolor by Sita Ram, 1814-15, (British Library)

The visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales as reported by The Times. Credit is given to Lord Curzon for the restoration of the structures in Fatehpur Sikri.

The royal guests visit the bedroom of Akbar & the much discussed Mariam's House. Later, the text tells about the purest style of Hindu architecture.

The writer expresses his surprise that a Muslim ruler's seat of government was so heavily influenced by Hindu architecture.

Fatehpur Sikri, 1858 (James S. Virtue Co., London)

The view of Buland Darwaza and the Fatehpur Sikri from the south-east; by Sita Ram, 1814-15, British Library

The courtyard of the Jama Masjid at Fatehpur Sikri, with Lord Hastings and his entourage being shown the sights; by Sita Ram, 1814-15, British Library

The Pioneer reports about the Fatehpur Sikri's elegance and grandness.

Like the other newspapers, this text also tells us about the striking impression produced by the House of Mariam.

As already stated, the text tells us about the descendants of Sheikh Salim Chisti who still guard the late Sufi's tomb.

The dominance of Hindu architecture is clearly noticed along with the iconoclastic fanatic tendencies of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

This extract is a clear tribute to Mughal Emperor Akbar. The conservation work done by Lord Curzon is also mentioned.


Temple ruins at Fatehpur Sikri, by Roberts and French, 1852
Can anyone identify any such temple in the Fatehpur Sikri now ? Or, has this structure vanished ?

The interior of the Diwan-i-Khas in the palace at Fatehpur Sikri; a watercolor by Sita Ram, c.1814-15 (British Library)
Possibly the best view of Diwan-e-Khas i have ever seen.

Dargah of Sheikh Salim Chishti, a watercolor painting by a Delhi artist, c.1820

View of the dargah of Sheikh Salim Chishti and the tomb of Islam Khan beside it in the courtyard of the Jama Masjid at Fatehpur Sikri, a watercolor painting by Sita Ram, 1814-15 (British Library)

End Note:

To those who wish to see the newspaper Englishman in originality, the place to visit is the British Library. They have complete records, as can be seen below :

The Englishman newspaper was merged with The Statesman newspaper in 1934.


General View of Ruins, Fatehpur Sikri, photo by Bourne and Shepherd, c.1880's (a reprint of one by Bourne from the 1860's)

Ceiling of Mariam's House in the Fatehpur Sikri

Architecture Jodha Bai Palace Complex

View from the east of the Hawa Mahal in Jodha Bai's Palace, Fatehpur Sikri, a photo by Edmund William Smith, Archeaological Survey of India, 1893 (British Library)

Inside the Jodha Bai Palace

Close view of the upper storey of the structure seen in above picture ; inside the JodhaBai Palace in Fatehpur Sikri

Jodha Bai Palace

Entrance to the Jodha Bai Palace

Jodha Bai Palace Entrance Wide View

Entrance (upper view) to Jodha Bai Palace

Ceiling inside the Jodha Bai Palace

A decorative wall panel in Jodha Bai's palace.
The two rolled straw mats casually propped against the niche edges are just there by happenstance, but they manage to echo the colors and design so elegantly.

Points worth noting from the above extracts:

1. The fascination of the royal guests with the architecture at Fatehpur Sikri and the magnificence of Akbar's reign.

2. Repeated references to the Hindu architecture at the JodhBai Palace / Mariam House.

3. Religious diversity of Akbar in an age of bigotry.

4. Striking contrast between Shah Jahan and Akbar. Shah Jahan built more lavishly but Akbar built from his heart and his spirit can be felt even today in the glorious palaces of Fatehpur Sikri.

5. The reference to the death of the twin sons of Akbar and Mariam-Uz-Zamani in infancy, a troubled Akbar meeting the saint of Fatehpur Sikri for solace and the birth of Jahangir to the royal couple at Fatehpur Sikri with the saint's blessings. (Remember that this newspaper was not published from Agra or Delhi. This was from Calcutta.!)

A View of the Fatehpur Sikri, lying in ruins ; by William Hodges, 1786 (British Library)

Buland Darwaza, Fatehpur Sikri, by Robert Montgomery Martin, c.1860


Though i continue to read history, i am unable to devote much time to post about it due to other commitments. (The effort required to compile a post in a systematic manner is much more than the time i take to read and understand the event myself!) I will gladly seize any opportunity to post again if my present constraints allow me as there is much i wish to share with you and even much more that i wish to discuss with you.

I urge you to continue the reading process too because there is NO END to historical books and archives. No individual can ever claim mastery over the subject of history.

Thank you all, thank you again!

Akbar loved to alternate geometric designs with floral ones (notice that the floral ones don't repeat)

Mihrab on the south side of the chamber beneath the great dome of the Jami Masjid, Fatehpur Sikri, a photo taken in 1890s

The Panch Mahal and other palace buildings at Fatehpur Sikri; a watercolor by Seeta Ram, 1814-15 (British Library)

Carved pillars in the Panch Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, photo by Samuel Bourne, 1860's (British Library)

Ruins of Fatehpur Sikri , from Meyers' Universum, 1853

Article Category : Mughals(Akbar).

Share this article :

No comments:

Post a Comment