37km from the city of Agra is this ghost city that was once the capital of Mughal India. Akbar built the city between 1571 and 1585. But he was forced to abandon the capital because of water shortage and he shifted the capital to Lahore for a brief period. Now about 30,000 people inhabit this deserted capital. Thanks to the archaeological department of India, the city is well preserved as it was built.
The city is a fine example of culmination of Mughal and Hindu architecture. Any visitor to Agra must have a go at Fatehpur Sikri. Fatehpur Sikri mosque was said to be built in lines of the holy mosque in Mecca. Entrance to the mosque is through the Buland Darwaza that is 54m high. To the north of the mosque is the mausoleum of Saleem Chtisti, the Sufi saint who blessed Akbar to have a male offspring.
The first enclosure of the palace is a vast courtyard in which the emperor used to give daily public audience and dispense justice.
The Diwan-I-Am gave access to a second enclosure, a large quadrangle which has all finest buildings of Fatehpur Sikri. At the northern end is the Diwan-I-Khas. Also referred to as the Hall of Private Audiences, it is an astonishing chamber dominated by a massive carved pillar, which supports a fantastic capital above which is a balcony.
Private Living Quarter
These are at the southern end of the quadrangle, clustered around a pool, the Anup Talao. The structures here include Akbar’s library, the scene of his intellectual activity. A window overlooked the Daftarkhana, or record office. Above this is the Khwabgah, `the palace of dreams’ or Akbar’s bedroom. This whole space was warmed or cooled by water channels.
Other places of interest are, Panch Mahal, Salim Christy's Mausoleum, Jodhabai’s Palace, Mariam’s Palace, Hawa Mahal, Birbal’s Palace and Jama Masjid.
Mathura on the banks of River Yamuna is the birthplace of Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Mathura has been a sacred pilgrimage centure for many centuries. The government museum with a vast collection of superb sculptures, terracotta images, coins and bronze objects those date back between 5th century BC and 12th century AD are worth probing through.
Akbar the great, the greatest of all Mughal emporors is laid to rest in the midst of a large garden about 10km away from Agra. This structure has perfect blending of Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Jain motifs. This place has a row of beautiful arches and doorways those make it a photographer's delight. Akbar started building his Mausoleum and Jahangir, his son, completed it. Jahangir modified the structure that contributed to the distortion of the original architectural design.
57km from Agra, this bird sanctuary (Keoladeo Ghana National Park) is situated on the Delhi-Jaipur Highway. Bharatpur is known as one of the finest waterbird sancturies in the world. It is spread over 40 sq.km of swampy and light woodded terrain. The major attraction is the migrating Siberian Cranes in the winter months. Accommodation is available at the forest lodge within the sanctuary or at several hotels and motels.