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