"The compulsory decree for the building of the city of Fatehpur Sikri was issued so as to make it seat of the kingdom .... A start was made on the work of auspicious beginning and praiseworthy termination, and it was completed within a short period of time. The lands which were desolate like the hearts of the lovers and faint like the work of the artisans attained freshness, purity, splendour and value like the cheeks of the beautiful and the tulip-faced ones. Trees were grown in the environs which had formerly been the habitat of rabbits and jackals, and mosques, markets, baths, caravanseries and other fine buildings were constructed in the city."
So runs a contemporary description of the founding of Fatehpur Sikri, capital of the Mogul dynasty from 1569 to 1586. The chronicles of the time are filled with expressions of wonder at pretentious outbursts of Mogul generosity, at the alternation of impartial and measured administration of justice with sudden and disproportionate cruelty, at theshrewd and fastidious management of public affairs. The Mogul dynasty through the actions of its founders Babur and Humayun and its consolidators Akbar, Jahangir, Shahjahan and Aurangzeb accumulated unlimited political and military power and immense wealth which were swiftly dissipated by its 18th century heirs.
Fatehpur Sikri is an enigma wrapped in a mystery. It was built in the space of 14 years by Akbar, a monarch with a liking for architecture, then abandoned for no apparent reason. Today it is a frozen piece of history. Visitors strolling through it with this book as their guide can take themselves back to India's golden age and imagine the Mogul court's magnificence and pomp bringing tolife the buildings that stand mute today. In fact the whole complex is a mighty allegoric