“The world is a bridge, pass over it, but build no houses upon it”, reads the Persian inscription on the main gateway, Buland Darwaza.
Akbar wanted to commemorate his conquest over Gujarat. He decided to do something extraordinary. Feasts were organized regularly & competitions were a regular affair, he wished to do something magnificent & thus the idea of ‘Buland Darwaza’ was born.
An example of splendid Mughal Architecture, Buland Darwaza is rightly called the ‘Gate of Magnificence’. Like the early morning colors, the highest gateway of India is made of red and buff sandstone. The decorations are done by white and black marble – like the colors of dusk when the day is about to take a backseat and night grows silently.
The Gate is symmetrical as if it’s a reminder of the great Akbar’s court where everyone had an equal opportunity to prove their mettle irrespective of their color, caste and creed. The Chatris on top of the ‘Darwaza’ remind of the courteers of Akbar, each famous for a unique characterstic trait and skill. Out of all courteers, ‘Navratanas’ were the most famous:
- Abul Fazal, the author of Akbarnama
- Faizi, the poet
Miyan Tansen, known for his music
Raja Birbal, popular for his witty remarks and comebacks
Raja Todar Mal, the finance minister who overhauled the revenue system
Raja Man Singh, the millitary commander
Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana, known for his Hindi couplets
Fakir Azio-i-din, a sufi mystic
Mirza Aziz Koka, foster brother of Akbar
As you enter the gateway, your eyes pause at the pure shrine of Khwaja Salim Chishti built from white marble. Along the perimeter of the shrine, there are perforated windows where many devotees tie a knot and ask for a wish. Once their wish comes true, they come back, open the knot and offer prayers to the revered shrine.
At a distance of 43kms. from Agra (the home to the greatest wonder of the world, The Taj Mahal), Buland Darwaza stands tall and proud, but a little old. After all, it’s been 500 long years since the time ‘Buland Darwaza’ saw its first dawn. The time has dented its walls and dimmed the decorated colors. In most of the high angles of the gateway, you can see dark, black beehives hanging from the ceilings, but the gateway has maintained every inch of its glory. You are bound to look twice at the gateway and wonder, what’s the story?!
Fatehpur Sikri is only 43kms. away from Agra. Plan a weekend trip to Agra and club Fatehpur Sikri with it.
Tip: Fatehpur Sikri is not a ticketed monument. The guides might fool you saying that you don’t have to pay for the ticket if you take their services. The guides normally charge INR 30 – INR 50 for half an hour of tour.
Also, there have been cases of pickpocketing and snatching. So, be careful.