Jodh Bai Palace, Fatehpur Sikri , India

Master Page: Fatehpur Sikri


The Jodh Bai Palace, Fort Agra
c.1910
Published: K. Lall & Co., Agra

Not Fort Agra, but near Agra.

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Plan of Jodh Bai’s Palace

This imposing palace comprising the principal haramsara of Akbar has been wrongly ascribed to Jodh Bai who has nothing to do with Sikri. It is the most impressive of all the royal edifices. It consists of a large open quadrangle on the sides of which are suites of single-stories rooms with double stories blocks in the center and corners to break the sky-line. The Central block on the east forms a vestibule to the main entrance of the building and on the west is a small shrine supported on richly carved pillars. The shrine has niches for keeping images of Hindu deities and a platform for the principal deity. The Azure-blue glazed tiles of the rood of this palace are also noteworthy. It was most probably build between A.D 1570 and 1574.
Fatehpur Sikri: Fortified Ghost City of Mughal Empire

Though “Miriam’s House” is generally regarded as the abode of Mariam Zâmâni, there is a great deal to support the view that the spacious palace known as Jodh Bai’s Mahal, or Jahangiri Mahal, was really her residence. It is undoubtedly one of the oldest buildings in Fatehpur.

We know that Akbar went there on Mariam’s account; and, after Jahangir’s birth, Akbar’s first care would be to build a palace for the mother and her child, his long-wished-for heir. Mariam was a Hindu, and this palace in all its construction and nearly all its ornamentation belongs to the Hindu and Jaina styles of Mariam’s native country, Rajputana. It even contains a Hindu temple. It is also the most important of all the palaces, and Mariam, as mother of the heir-apparent, would take precedence of all the other wives.

On the left of the entrance is a small guard-house. A simple but finely proportioned gateway leads through a vestibule into the inner quadrangle. The style of the whole palace is much less ornate than the other zanana buildings, but it is always dignified and in excellent taste. It must be remembered that the severity of the architectural design was relieved by bright colouring and rich purdahs, which were used to secure privacy for the ladies of the zanana and to diminish the glare of the sunlight.
A Handbook to Agra and the Taj Sikandra, Fatehpur-Sikri and the Neighbourhood (1904)

Panch Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri , India

Master Page: Fatehpur Sikri


Panch Mahal (Fatehpur Sikri)
c.1910
Publisher: H.A. Mirza & Sons (1907-1912)

The Panch Mahal meaning ‘Five level Palace’ was commissioned by Akbar This structure stands close to the Zenana quarters (Harem) which supports the supposition that it was used for entertainment and relaxation. This is one of the most important buildings in Fatehpur Sikri. This is an extraordinary structure employing the design elements of a Buddhist Temple; entirely columnar, consisting of four stories of decreasing size arranged asymmetrically on the ground floor, which contains 84 columns. These columns, that originally had jaali (screens) between them, support the whole structure. Once these screens provided purdah (cover) to queens and princess on the top terraces enjoying the cool breeze and watching splendid views of Sikri fortifications and the town nestling at the foot of the ridge.
Wikipedia.

This curious five-storied pavilion is nearly opposite to the Dîwan-i-âm. It is approached by a staircase from the Mahal-i-khas. Each story was originally enclosed by pierced stone screens; this, and the fact that the whole building overlooked the palace zanana, make it tolerably certain that it could only have been used as a promenade by Akbar and the ladies of the court. The ground-floor, which was divided into cubicles by screens between the columns, may; as Keene suggests, have been intended for the royal children and their attendants. The building is chiefly remarkable for the invention and taste shown in the varied designs of the columns, in which the three principal styles of Northern India, the Hindu, Jain, and Saracenic, are indiscriminately combined.
A Handbook to Agra and the Taj Sikandra, Fatehpur-Sikri and the Neighbourhood (1904)

Birbal’s House, Fatehpur Sikri , India

Master Page: Fatehpur Sikri


Palace of Birbol, Futtehpore Sikri, Agra
c.1910

Rajah Birbal was a Brahman minstrel, who came to Akbar’s court in the beginning of his reign, and by his wit and abilities gained the Emperor’s favour. He was first created Hindu Poet Laureate; from that dignity he was raised to the rank of Rajah, and became one of Akbar’s most intimate friends and advisers. Birbal was one of those who subscribed to Akbar’s new religion, “The Divine Faith.” When he perished in an unfortunate expedition against some unruly Afghan tribes, Akbar’s grief was for a long time inconsolable.

The house which is named after him was originally enclosed within the precincts of the imperial zanana, and a covered way connected it with Jodh Bai’s palace. It is one of the most richly decorated of all the adjacent buildings, and next to Jodh Bai’s palace, the largest of the imperial residences. As in so many other instances, the vague local tradition which assigns this palace to Rajah Birbal seems to be at fault. Abul Fazl, that most careful and precise biographer, records that Akbar ordered a palace to be built for the Rajah, and that when it was finished in the twenty-seventh year of his reign (1582) the Emperor honoured it with his presence. An inscription discovered by Edmund Smith upon the capital of a pilaster in the west façade of the building, states that it was erected in Samvat 1629 (A.D. 1572), ten years before this date, and three years after the commencement of the city.

Though the Rajah was one of Akbar’s most trusted friends, his palace would hardly be placed within the enclosure of the Emperor’s own zanana and connected with it; nor is it likely that Akbar would provide Birbal with a residence so incomparably more magnificent than those he gave to his other two intimate friends, Abul Fazl and Faizi, by the side of the great mosque. All the probabilities are that this was one of the imperial palaces occupied by Akbar’s wives, which were the first buildings erected at Fatehpur. Fergusson’s assumption that Birbal’s daughter was one of Akbar’s wives would explain everything; but the fact that Abul Fazl makes no mention of such a daughter, is very good evidence that Akbar was not connected with Birbal by marriage.

The house is a two-storied building, splendidly ornamented with carving, both inside and out. From the construction, it would appear that Hindus were the architects; but the decoration, from which it is easy to discover the taste of the occupants, is nearly all Arabian or Persian in style, and conveys no suggestion that the palace was built for a Hindu rajah or his daughter. Though on a much smaller scale, it is of the same type as Akbar’s splendid palace in the Agra Fort, and was evidently intended for one of the highest rank in the imperial zanana.
A Handbook to Agra and the Taj Sikandra, Fatehpur-Sikri and the Neighbourhood (1904)

Seik Selim Chisti’s Tomb, Fatehpur Sikri , India

Master Page: Fatehpur Sikri


FUTTEPORE SIKRI * Marble Tomb of Seik Selim Chisti.
Published: Bourne & Shepherd, Calcutta, Simla and Bombay

360 Cities: Salim Chisti Tomb, Marble Entrance Hall (interior panorama)

World Monuments: House of Shaikh Salim Chishti

Legend has it, that when Emperor Akbar could not have a child from his wife Jodhabai, he walked barefoot from the Agra Fort to a small village ‘Sikri’ about 45 kilometers away from the city to pray for a son to a Sufi saint Sheikh Salim Chishti, who was reputed to have great powers. Less than a year later, Jodhabai gave birth to a son and Akbar’s heir, whom Akbar fondly named ‘Salim’ after the saint and a few years later, even shifted his capital from Agra to Sikri, where he built a whole new city which was called ‘Fatehpur’. Sheikh Chishti passed on in the year 1572, when the new city was still under construction and Akbar commissioned a grand marble tomb of the saint to be built in the center of the main courtyard of the city, visible as soon as one entered the ‘Buland Darwaza’, which is the highest gateway in the world.
India Today: Fatehpur Sikri celebrates the 448th Urs of Sufi saint Sheikh Salim Chishti

Today, the tomb is a white marble structure raised on a plinth. Its ornamentation and construction are largely inspired by Gujarati tomb architecture, and include Hindu, Jain and Islamic elements. The original building commissioned by Akbar is believed to have been a smaller, red sandstone structure, consisting of today’s inner tomb chamber. Jahangir later introduced the verandah, the southern porch and the extensive marble cladding.
ArchNet

Agra Fort, India


The Fort, Agra
c.1910
Publisher: Moorli Dhur & Sons

Agra Fort was built in the year 1573 under the reign of Akbar – one of the greatest Mughal Emperors. It took more than 4000 workers and eight years of hardship to complete the fort. Knowing the significance of its location, Akbar built the fort to make it the main residence of the Mughals. The fort remained as the main residence of the emperors belonging to the Mughal dynasty until the year 1638. The fort houses numerous impressive structures like the Jahangir Mahal, Khas Mahal, Diwan-i-Khass, Diwan-i-Am, Machchhi Bhawan and Moti Masjid. In 1638, the capital of the Mughal dynasty was moved from Agra to Delhi, causing the Agra Fort to lose its status as the main residence of the Mughal emperors.
Cultural India: Agra Fort

Wikipedia (Agra Fort)
Maps: 1901 & 1909
Google Maps.


The Fort. Agra.
c.1910

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