Friday, September 30, 2011


The major structures of the magnificent city of Fatepur Sikri is located right at the top of the ridge of the Vindhyan range, to highlight the sense of magnificence or even more mundanely, as a logical defensive action. These include the Mosque complex at the highest point followed by the Royal complex at a lower level and still lower is the Public complex. Yet, where did the other common citizens figure in this ‘royal’ scheme of things? Where did the numerous artisans, carpenters, masons, cobblers, fortune tellers, jugglers, workers and their like live?

The present settlement pattern perhaps gives us a clue as to how the ‘commoners’ were housed in this city of royals. All along the slope leading up to the top of the ridge are narrow winding alleys perched on steep slopes with gorgeous little houses, all pathways winding & leading up to the central complex on top. The steep slope is broken down into different levels which house the common people...quaint little houses painted over in green, white and yellow still sporting symbols from old...ornamental brackets, sandstone walls, chajjas, intricate cornices, the post and beam system used in the main complex...all remarkably preserved from posterity...people still reside here...little children still run around through the little alleys... There are glimpses of the top of the magnificent Buland Darwaza seen from above the roof tops, towering over as a silent presence. Yet, it is a little bit unimaginable to think that these houses have lasted for over 5 centuries without total disintegration. The detailing however seems to point otherwise.