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Notes on the Geography of Northern India: Taj Mahal, Sikandra, and Fatehpur Sikri: Photo 21

world pictures Northern India: Taj Mahal, Sikandra, and Fatehpur Sikri

An hour's drive west of Agra--assuming you can avoid the traffic jams, which can be fierce--you come to Fatehpur Sikri, the city that Akbar built as his capital. It's mostly built of massive red sandstone, as if you needed to be told. There had been a place here before, a village called Sikri. Akbar added the Fatehpur ("victory place") but left 15 years later, as suddenly as he had arrived. Some say this was because of acute water shortages, others because Akbar was more or less evicted by the same holy man, Shaikh Salim Chisti, whose prophecy of a royal heir had prompted Akbar to build his capital near the holy man's hermitage in the first place. According to this theory, the shaikh found the bustle of the new city too disturbing.

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