Incredible Northern India Garden Tour
March 3rd - March 15th, 2010


March 8th, 2010

We left at 9:30 and visited Fatephur Sikri on the way to Bharatpur. Another magnificent fortified palace.

Fatehpur Sikri, a city built in red sandstone by Emperor Akbar to commemorate the birth of his son.

Perched a top a rocky ridge 37 km west of Agra, Fatehpur Sikri came into being four centuries ago when the Emperor Akbar, not yet 28 years old, created the first planned city in Indo-Islamic style. The city was actualized with great energy, but was completely abandoned a little more than a decade later. A shortage of water is believed to be the reason. Today it is a ghost city, its architecture is in a perfect state of preservation, and wandering through the palaces it is easy to imagine that this was once a royal residence and a dynamic cultural centre. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

In 1568, Akbar was secure and powerful but he had no son and heir. His search for blessing for the birth of a successor brought him to the Sufi mystic Shaikh Salim Chisti, who lived in Sikri village. The saint prophesied the birth of three sons and soon after was born Prince Salim, later to become Emperor Jehangir. In gratitude for the blessing Akbar decided to create imperial residences in Sikri, which would function as a joint capital with Agra. As a mark of his faith and his recent victories, he named his new city Fatehpur Sikri. Akbar was a keen builder and the plan of Fatehpur Sikri reveals an architectural mastermind at work.
Research has proved that it was planned on a definite mathematical grid.

Emperor Akbar had 3 wives, Persion Turkey and Hindu. The third wife lived in a home with painted walls and ceilings. You could still see parts of what remained and it must have been beautiful. There was also some interesting rooms here, one being the rooms used for sacrifices. I went into them and in one you could still smell the smoke from the fires, even hundreds of years later. That was sobering. I think too, that the reasons it is in such incredible shape is because it was only inhabited for less than 10 years. The gardens were where the concubines lived. I wonder why?

The other thing I wondered is why they called these forts. Our idea of a fort is surely not what these are…they are palaces within walls for sure, but they are beyond our idea of what a fort it.

We stayed this night in a heritage hotel, a true Palace built for Raja Raghunath Singh, the younger brother of the ruler at that time. This hotel is still a family operation. Built in 1887 it became a hotel in 1994. Each room is different and is furnished with much of what is original. A very unique experience and a very delightful way to get to know India’s history a bit more. Family pictures adorn the rooms, each set around a central courtyard where we enjoyed some traditional music before going to dinner.


  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row