Buland Darwaza, Fatehpur Sikri. Why is it admired by tourists? - 21 important features!!

Monumental gate, Buland Darwaza  Fatehpur Sikri 

India, a multi-language and multicultural country,  has innumerable monuments built by various dynasties dating as far back as 1500 years. This country, where Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, etc were born,  every monument of antiquity is an  epitome of  architectural elegance and amazing improvisation native to this land.  Colonial structures, Hindu temples, Jain temples, Buddhist temples and Islamic buildings of yore are repository of India's rich culture and tradition highlighting  unity despite  diversity. In india though there are many gateway monuments only three are worth mentioning. They are 01. The Buland  Darwaza, Fatehpur Sikri (1573), near Agra  02. The Gate Way of India (1924) in Apollo Bondar, Mumbai and the Rumi Darwaza (1764) of Lucknow  Among them,   Buland Dharwaza built by Mogul ruler Akbar is an impressive and  awe-inspiring  monument near Agra 

1784 Rumi Darwaza Lucknow en. wikipedia.org

Above image:  The 60 ft tall Rumi Darwaza in Lucknow, UP  that was the main gateway to the Bara Imambara was built by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula of in 1784.  It is in between  between Bara Imambara and Chota Imambara and is a fine example of Awadhi architecture. Reeling under famine, the humane Nawab, instead of giving dole to the people, ingeniously introduced  food-for-work program to keep his subjects free from hunger. The Rumi Darwaza that has design features similar to an ancient gateway at Constantinople is also known as  the “Turkish Gateway”. The word Rumi means Roman, and the name  implies  gateway’ s design is similar  Roman architecture.   Rich in stucco ornamentation, instead of marbles and  stones,  brick and lime were primarily used by the local masons to build a fine structure with minute details.  Clay balusters were set on iron rods for durability. Diligently,  pottery was used for roof finials and ornaments. .......

The Gateway of India, Mumbai. discover.hubpages.com

Above image: The Gateway of India, Mumbai. - a colonial monument built on the reclaimed land on the shore at   from the Arabian Sea. It is 85 feet high and the structure is built at Apollo  Bunder area, South of Mumbai, a popular  spot for the people. Made of Basaltic rock from the Deccan region,  the big arched structure  is a  symbol  of imperial supremacy.  A good example of  Indo-Saracenic design the structure has  26 meters high archway. It was based on the Arch of Triumph in Paris.  It was built to commemorate the visit of the British King George V and Queen Mary to the city of Bombay in December 1911. They were on the way to Delhi to attend the Delhi Durbar. Architect George Wittet carefully included  design elements native to Gujarat and completed the work in 1924. The foundation stone for the Gateway was laid on 31 March 1913 by then Governor of Bombay, Sir George Sydenham Clarke. During that time of British Raj (rule), the Viceroys and Governors landed here upon their India visit. Paradoxically, they departed for their home land through the same gate when India was free from the British yoke. The gate symbolizes the slow decline of British Imperialism.................

The following are the important features of Buland Darwaza, Fatehpur Sikri, UP: 

Buland Darwaza  Fatehpur Sikri  lifeonweekends.com

Buland Darwaza  Fatehpur Sikri  dreamstime.com

Buland Darwaza. flickr.com

Buland Darwaza  Fatehpur Sikri dreamstime.com

Buland Darwaza. flickr.com

chhatries atop. Buland Darwaza  Fatehpur Sikri  welcomenri.com

01. The name Buland Darwaza in Persian meaning"mighty gate" is an architectural splendor of Mogul period.  An imposing monument, it is 40 meters high and 51 meters from the ground. The total height of the structure is about 54 meters from the ground level. The approach to the gate consists of 42 steps.

02. Designed in the Hindu Persian style of architecture, the Buland Darwaza was the royal southern entrance to Sufi Saint Sheikh Salim Chisti’s exquisite marble shrine at Fatehpur Sikri  which is a deserted town  43 km from  Agra City, India.  

03. This historic gateway also serves as the entrance to the Jama Masjid.  Fatehpur Sikri is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist destinations of India.

04. The inspiration for the design of Buland Darwaza  was apparently   based on Timurid architecture  and Humayun’s Tomb. This structure  was conceived by Akbar to give more importance to his link with the Sufi saint than to celebrate his victory over Gujarat. Inscription in Quranic verses in marble suggest paradise for the true believers. The entrance into a khanqah, ''a complex intended for meditation and devotion.” Akbar's philosophical connotation can not be ignored.

Buland Darwaza. pic fair.com

05. In the white marble mausoleum of saint  Chisti, the naqqashi (the art of engraving was popular in the 18th century in the northern India) and jaali work, and the pillars supporting  the chajja (sunshade) bring out the elegance of  Mogul  architecture.

06. Akbar  with no issues came to Sikri to seek the saint’s blessings for an heir to the throne. Soon he was blessed with three sons.  The first one was named Salim in honor of the saint. This made Akbar to develop Sikri into a self contained town and build a masjid at Sikri. He used to visit  this site  to have spiritual and philosophical  discussion with the Sufi saint in times of anguish and desperation. 

07. The masjid has expansive yard close to the gate which has  patterned niches and well-designed arches.  The rosette  features that dot the central arch, the three openings of the central arch   boxed  by  richly ornamental  panels and the motiff on the walls,  a blend of Hindu, Persian design, showcase the rich talents of the artisans who made them possible.  The central arch has three  tiers with rows of smaller arches and flat brackets

08. In the small dark room  on one side of the tomb are the graves of the male members of Salim Chishti’s family.

09. The pillars at the entrance  carry  inscriptions from the Holy Quran and the calligraphy is quite impressive and signature  motif of the Mughal Emperors. 

10. Made of  dressed red and buff colored sandstone, white and black marble, the monument has  semi-octagonal plan  and is flat topped with  numerous  chhatris all along the outer edge of the structure.  Chhatris on the facade are much bigger than those at other places. Chhatri is a common feature in the Rajasthani buildings and ornamental chhatris are quite famous.  

11. The top is embellished with calligraphic inscriptions from the Quran. There are as many as thirteen smaller domed kiosks on the roof, stylized battlement and small turrets and inlay work of white and black marble - all these augment the splendor of this gate.. 

12. The facade has the look of an entrance  whereas  the back part of the structure is plain and  has three tall arches and  is in the  mosque courtyard.    

13. Buland Darwaza  that dates back to  1573  has the rare distinction of  being the tallest gateway not only in India, but also in the whole world rising to a height of 15 story building as one will find in a downtown area of a city.  

14. A paradise for the building designers and architects, the  gateway  that guards the southern entrance of the city of Fatehpur Sikri,  came up in grand style to commemorate Akbar's  victory over Khandesh (now part of  Gujarat). It was built by Muhammad of Ghazani  and it took almost 12 years to complete the structure.  Fatehpur Sikri was an important place during the reign of  Akbar  and Agra was  his capital city.

15. A Persian inscription on eastern arch way of the Buland Darwaza records Akbar's conquest over Deccan in 1601 CE.

16. An interesting feature of the Buland Dharwaza is on the central face  an inscription  displays Akbar's secular attitude.  It is about  Jesus Christ; “Isa [Jesus], Son of Maryam said:  "The World is but a bridge, pass over but build no houses on it.He, who hopes for a day, may hope for eternity; but the world endures but an hour. Spend it in prayer for the rest is unseen.''

17. This inscription in Persian in a subtle manner reflects on the transient nature of the world and advises the people to turn to spirituality. 

18. Fatehpur Sikri has many other beautiful  monuments, but the Buland Darwaza  is the most impressive one built  with right  planning, great dedication and passion. 

19. According to professor Rezavi the Buland Darwaza at Fatehpur Sikri is “the most iconic architectural accomplishment of Akbar. It incorporates almost all the essential features of Akbar’s architectural traditions: red sandstone, stone carvings, relief by inserting white marble, etc.”

20. Emperor had to  abandon the town  because of looming water scarcity in the late 1500. 

21. Symbolic of Mogul architectural finesse,  this grand gateway is believed to be one among  the best in the world, according to the UNESCO. The magnificent  entry  no doubt, showcases the excellence of Mughal design that never fails to blend the Hindu design elements  with those of Persian.