Fatephur Sikri

Samantha approaches the famed elephant gates of Fatephur Sikri

Fatephur Sikri is one of the most perfectly preserved ghost towns in the world. It is located about 25 miles west of Agra on the sight where the Emperor Akbar's pilgrimage for a male heir led him to the saint Shaikh Salim Chisthi. As the story has it, the saint predicted the birth of the future emperor, Jehangir and in gratitude the Emperor Akbar moved his Mughal capital (then Agra) to the sight and built a bigger and better city. The Muslim emperor had three wives of three different religions, and was noted for his tolerance of all different beliefs. He spent much of his time in the capital he had built discussing religions and eventually invented his own, Deen Ilahi, which incorporated various aspects of different religions.

As well as being noted for his religious tolerance, Emperor Akbar was also known for his elephant that he kept in the city. The elephant was given the role of Judge and Executioner. A person suspected of a crime was placed in front of the elephant, if he was guilty the elephant would gore him and if he was innocent the elephant would let him go free. Akbar loved his elephant immensely and when he died he had a large tower built over the elephant's grave. The tower was adorned with large spikes jutting out of the sides, representing elephants tusks.

Unfortunately the city's glory was short lived. The capital was abandoned after only fifteen years of habitation (1570 to 1585) because of water problems. Legend has it that musicians would sit on the water cisterns and sing to bring rain from the heavens. However, not enough fell to sustain the city.

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