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Fatehpur Sikri  picture in Agra
Peter Zelei Images / Getty Images

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  • Churches/Religious Sites, Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.5
Overall
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  • Value
    4.0
  • Facilities
    4.5
  • Atmosphere
    5.0

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Believe it or not, this gorgeous city was built all thanks to one man's blessing. Emperor Akbar, the one also responsible for the Agra Fort, visited the Sikri village to seek guidance from a saint sometime in the 16th century. At the time, there was no heir to his throne, but conveniently after the consultation, Akbar was blessed with the sons he needed to carry on his legacy. To celebrate, Akbar built Fatehpur Sikri, which translates to "City of Victory." Fatehpur Sikri was intended to be the capital of Agra and seat of the Mughal dynasty. Knowing this, you may ask: Why have I never heard of Fatehpur Sikri before? Due to a lack of water, the city was abandoned just a few years after its construction. Just about 23 miles west of Agra, Fatehput Sikri lay empty for hundreds of years. Now, the bewitching ghost town sees an influx of annual visitors, thanks to its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While here, make sure to stop in the Diwan-i-Khas, Akbar's royal chambers, the tomb of the saint that granted Akbar's destiny (the Tomb of Salim Chisti) as well as Jami' Masjid, the on-site mosque said to be modeled after the Great Mosque of Mecca. 

With fewer crowds than the Taj Mahal or Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri is a favorite among travelers for its ornate and detailed Mughal architecture (Fatehpur Sikri is considered to be one of the best examples in the world). Visitors also enjoy being able to tour the magnificent grounds at a leisurely pace. The biggest downside for travelers was surprisingly not the distance to this attraction (it's an hour's drive by car), but rather the hawkers and unofficial guides that pervade the area.

To get to Fatehpur Sikri, it's best to be part of a pre-booked tour that has its own transportation to the attraction. Viator offers tours that include a visit to Fatehpur Sikri. You can also hop on a tour with the Uttar Pradesh tourism board for 450 rupees, or about $7. For more information, consult the Taj Mahal's official website. If you're not interested in a tour, hire a private car to get you to the attraction. Buses do go to Fatehpur Sikri but are only allowed to get within a certain distance due to preservation purposes. This is a problem as travelers report that the aggressive hawkers and "guides" are the most concentrated leading up to the entrance. Admission to Fatehpur Sikri costs 485 rupees (about nearly $8); visitors are welcome from sunrise to sunset. For more information, consult the city of Agra's official website.

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#1 Taj Mahal Plain and simple: This is the reason you come to Agra. The Taj Mahal is a majestic tomb built in the Mughal style, which combines Indian, Islamic and Persian architectural ... Read more » Andras Foldesi/EyeEm / Getty Images

#2 Agra Fort Just northwest of the Taj Mahal, this formidable fortress rests on the west bank of the Yamuna River on the edge of central Agra. About a century older than its ... Read more » rchphoto / Getty Images

#3 Itmad-ud-Daulah's Tomb Located on the east bank of the Yamuna River (just a few miles from central Agra), Itmad-ud-Daulah's Tomb boasts a pretty picturesque setting. This tomb is the first mausoleum in ... Read more » Quinn Cowper / Flickr

#4 Fatehpur Sikri Believe it or not, this gorgeous city was built all thanks to one man's blessing. Emperor Akbar, the one also responsible for the Agra Fort, visited the Sikri village ... Read more » Peter Zelei Images / Getty Images

#5 Mehtab Bagh Interested in seeing the Taj Mahal from more than one angle? Then head over to Mehtab Bagh, or the Moonlight Gardens. Mehtab Bagh is situated opposite of the Taj Mahal ... Read more » We travel the world / Flickr

Taj Mahal picture in Agra
Agra Fort picture in Agra
Itmad-ud-Daulah's Tomb picture in Agra
Fatehpur Sikri  picture in Agra
Mehtab Bagh picture in Agra
Taj Mahal picture in Agra
Agra Fort picture in Agra
Itmad-ud-Daulah's Tomb picture in Agra
Fatehpur Sikri  picture in Agra
Mehtab Bagh picture in Agra

This classic view of the Taj Mahal is a photo op every world traveler dreams of. Andras Foldesi/EyeEm / Getty Images

Agra's star attraction after the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort served as a fort for Emperor Akbar and then a palace for Shah Jahan (the one responsible for the Taj Mahal).  rchphoto / Getty Images

This Mughal mausoleum is thought to be a precursor of the Taj Mahal. Quinn Cowper / Flickr

The ancient city of Fatehpur Sikri was set to be the seat of power for the Mughal Empire, but was soon abandoned after construction due to its poor water system. Peter Zelei Images / Getty Images

If you're wanting another angle of the beautiful Taj Mahal, head up the gardens at the Mehtab Bagh We travel the world / Flickr

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