. There are three holes on the far wall behind the entrance to the tunnel, they form a part of the earliest ventilation system. On the east wall of the courtyard is a smaller entrance to the mosque – the Shahi Darwaza (King’s Gate), which leads to the fortress compound.
The intrinsic delicate carvings and inscription taken from the Holy Quran can be seen on its walls. The peripheral part is built with eye-catching red sandstone and white marble with detailed finishing. The center courtyard is vast and open, and can accommodate a large number of people, almost twenty-five thousand people at a time.
To the right is the Zenana Rauza, which was the tomb of the royal ladies of the court and next to it is Jammat Khana hall (the assembly hall). The entire architecture is supposed to be Persian in its make. The whole interior is designed creatively and adorned with paintings and floral designs. The striking three majestic sandstone domes are poised well. The vibrant colored tiles with inscription on it are parts of the domes.
South of the Anoop Talao pool stands a complex of structures communally identified as the Daulat Khana-I-Khas (Imperial Palace or Regal Palace). The intricate comprises three different sections: the Royal Library (Kutub-Khanah), Akbar’s Atelier (Citra Sala) the Daulat Khana ( the imperial apartments that is), the Sleeping Chambers (Khwabgah). All of these three sections were built in 1572, with the exception of a later open-columned construction found to the north of the Khwabgah.
The Royal Library
On the north east of Daulat Khana, facing the Anoop Talao court, stands the hall known as the Royal Library (Kutubkhanah) . According to the sources, Akbar’s court historian, Abu’l Fadl, recorded that the Kutubkhanah housed twenty five thousand manuscripts, of which some were kept in the harem area. The books that were needed for pressing reference were kept in the Kutubkhanah.
The plane of the Kutubkhanah is symmetrical along its north-south direction. It consists of a central single-height hall flanked on its east, north and west sides by an arcaded portico. These same three elevations all feature a mid entryway. Talking about the interior, the hall measures 8.23 by 5.18 meters. Its walls are hollow and fully clad on the exterior by perpendicular stone slabs, these are usually 1.83 by 0.11 m and 0.96 cm thick and they are supported on a pedestal. Other slabs ledge perpendicularly from the exterior cladding and divides the wall thickness into a series of compartments. On the inner faces of the compartments are traces indicating painted floral motifs. The plinth was also decked out and divided into coffers that were used for storage purpose.
In the southeast area of the complex, behind the Kutubkhanah hall is a chamber measuring 12.97 x 8.76 meters with a platform projecting from its southern wall. Supported on square shafts, this podium may have been accessed via marble or wooden removable steps that were stored under the podium. Pair of double columns with floral carvings similar to those in the Anup Talao can be seen in the north of this platform, and to the east is a small bathroom. Popular legend has it that Akbar used the platform for relaxing at the end of a day, hence was named “Khwabgah” (sleeping chamber) or Chamber of Dreams or Khilawatkada-I-Khas. However, given the substantiation of decorative wall painting and the nearby library, it’s also plausible that these structures were used for cultural pursuits. And not just as a sleeping chamber. As the platform covers the splendidly carved eaves and brackets of the building’s unique elevation, it is also very much possible that the platform itself is an addition to the structure.
Employment – For the duration of the construction of all these structures employment was generated in the region. Skilled artists, designers, builders were appointed to build every bit beautifully. Since the techniques of construction were known to the builders, specially designed items were mostly produced outside and brought in for assembly. The super-structure is an amalgamation of the arches and traditional post-and-lintel (also called prop-and-lintel or a trabeated system, that is basically an ancient type of architecture where strong horizontal columns/ elements are held up by strong vertical elements) system and ribbed vaults of Buddhist origin.
Figure 6- Post-and-lintel structure
The above picture is an example of post-and-lintel construction in the Diwan-e-khas, Fatehpur Sikri. This also shows another form of art element known as sun shade or the chajja.
Religious Policy – Apart from the fact that Akbar was illiterate, his religious policy was liberal and much more sense full than the literate rulers. He was born and brought up in a liberal surrounding thus shaping his thoughts. Some of the major policy changes that he introduced while his reign for non-Muslim communities were –
• Abolishment of pilgrimage tax (1563) on Hindu pilgrims visiting their shrines.
• Abolishment of pernicious practice of enslaving prisoners from war and converting them to Islam.
• Abolishment of the jiziya tax in 1564 and thus allowing citizens to practice their religion freely.
He appointed many Hindus in his court at various positions. This helped in creating a common and equal citizenship for his countrymen. But this could be also considered as a strategy of the ruler for making alliances with the Hindu princely states so as to seek help when needed during the wars. As no ruler would kill his brother-in-law and make his daughter a widow. The other strategy one can consider behind his whole idea of equal citizenship could be of so as to have no critical objections from his countrymen. Since Akbar married numerous Hindu princesses and gave them the right to follow their religion, he could have faced objections from his Hindu and Muslim countrymen and so as to avoid the situation he started normalizing it by giving a sort of equal rights to his countrymen. These far-sighted motives were necessary for him to have a good support system in consideration of political scenario.
Skimming through the various sources one thing distinctively becomes clear is the fine architectural sight of Akbar. The ruler himself supervised each structure of Fatehpur Sikri. Whether it is inscription, carving or design the blend of Persian (Iranian) and Indian art is peculiarly visible. Since Persian was the official language during this time, most of the inscription work was done in Persian. The floral motifs on the walls in blue and white shows the artistic skills of the artists of that era.
Since much has been written about Fatehpur Sikri by a number of authors, perplexing problems have raised over the years. One of them is regarding nomenclature. Various authors used various names for the same buildings. Another big question regarding this city is its history of origin. The question still remains – Is Fatehpur Sikri a pre- planned city or did it evolve gradually? S. Nadeem Rezavi’s research paper on A. Petruccioli’s work reveals that he tried to persuade the former view. The most detailed and well-studied description about the city is given by Father Mohnserrate on the basis of his visit to the court in 1580.
Although copiously written about Fatehpur Sikri, the city remains to be a bottomless quarry of information regarding various unrecognized structures. Most of the surveys focused on individual monuments. The survey conducted by S. Ali Nadeem Rezavi in May 1989 finds a number of unrecognized structures. The shops from the hinar minar to the Ajmer darwaza, Gwalior darwaza, structures on the ridge are yet to be unraveled.