Fatehpur Sikri temple

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Jan van Bekkum

Fatehpur Sikri is about 50 km from Agra and for about 15 years was the capital of the Mughal empire. This was during the time of Akbar the great, who became emperor of Hindustan after defeating Samrat Hemu in the 3rd battle of Panipat in 1556. After some years Akbar shifted to Agra and later to Fatehpur Sikri.


The place at present is looked after by the ASI ( Archeological Society of India). Incidentally the ASI was set up during the days of the Raj. One monument however is alive and that is the Jama Masjid. This mosque was erected between 1571-76 by Muslim saint named Salim Chisti. The mosque is made of red sandstone and has an outer wall and a large courtyard. The sad part is that this mosque from accounts given by the local people stands on the ruins of an Hindu temple. It is surmised that this mosque was dedicated to Lord Shiva.

One of the banes of Muslim power is the destruction of Hindu temples and the erection of Mosques over them the samething happened at Fatehpur Sikri. The mosque is known as the Jama Masjid and dedcated to Salim Chisti who is entpmbed here. A look at the walls and the main gate will show typical Hindu structures like 'chatris' with Hondu motifs. These are a giveaway and point to the origin of the Jama Masjid being on a Hindu temple.

The mosque is a besutiful piece of architecture and has a Buland Darwaza ( large doorway) with paintings on its walls. The paintings are somewhat faded and need restoration work. The modque proper has the mazar of Salim Chisti. Akbar it appears was fond of this mosque, hence it lies in close proximity to the Royal Palace where his favorite queen Jodha bai resided.