Updated | February 19, 2017 01:59 IST
Buland Darwaza or the loft gateway at Fatehpur Sikri was built by the great Mughal emperor, Akbar in 1601. Akbar built the Buland Darwaza to commemorate his victory over Gujarat. The Buland Darwaza, approached by 42 steps and 53.63m high and 35 meters wide, is the highest gateway in the world and an astounding example of the Mughal architecture. It is made of red and buff sandstone, and decorated by carving and inlaying of white and black marble. An inscription on the central face of the Buland Darwaza throws light on Akbar’s religious tolerance and broad mindedness.
The Buland Darwaza towers above the courtyard of the mosque. It is semi octagonal in plan and is topped by pillars and chhatris, echoing early Mughal design with simple ornamentation, carved verses from the Koran and towering arches. There are thirteen smaller domed kiosks on the roof, stylized battlement and small turrets and inlay work of white and black marble. On the outside a long flight of steps sweeps down the hill giving the gateway additional height. A Persian inscription on eastern arch way of the Buland Darwaza records Akbar’s conquest over Deccan in 1601 A.D.
This colossal monument that forms the main entrance of the palace at Fatehpur Sikri stands as a fine example of the architectural brilliance of the Mughal Empire that showcases an excellent mix of Hindu and Persian styles of architecture. Also called the ‘Gate of Magnificence’, it was added years later to the compound of Jama Masjid as a victory arch by the Mughal Emperor, Akbar the Great in 1601 A.D. to commemorate his successful Gujarat campaign of 1573. It took around twelve years to construct this architectural wonder.
This symmetrical entrance gate with chhatris or large kiosks atop is quite high than the courtyard of the mosque and is built with red and buff sandstones and embellished with black and white marble. There are gallery kiosks bordering the top centre of the roof which has small minar spires and carved indentations and is inlaid with black and white marble. The semi octagonal gateway is 15-storied high and has two three-storied wings on its two sides. Height of the mammoth structure is around 54 meters from the pavement and can be approached by climbing 42 steps from ground level. The top centre of the structure has three kiosks behind thirteen small domed kiosks. The gateway is surrounded by small turrets.
The eastern archway of this royal gateway bears a Persian inscription that speaks of the victory of the great Mughal Emperor Akbar over Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. His religious tolerance is manifested from another inscription that is etched on the gateway’s central face. It is an Islamic inscription etched in Persian language that elucidates the advice of Jesus Christ to his followers. Another inscription comprising of verses of the Holy Quran is also found in the gateway that was drawn by Khwaja Hussain Chishti, a disciple of the Sufi saint of the Chishti Order, Sheikh Salim Chishti. It is carved in Naskh, a distinct calligraphic style to write in the Arabic alphabet.
Located at Fatehpur Sikri, one of the most popular tourist destinations near Agra, Buland Darwaza stands as a testimony to the architectural excellence of the Mughals. As summers are scorching hot, the best time to visit this historic city is during the winters from around November to March. The mammoth structure situated right at the entry point of Fatehpur Sikri can be visited daily from morning to evening.
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