History of Buland Darwaza (Fatehpur Sikri)

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History of Buland Darwaza (Fatehpur Sikri)

Buland Darwaza, the triumphal Gateway, was erected by Akbar in 1601 in commemoration of his victory over Khandesh and Ahmednagar in Southern India. Buland Darwaza is the greatest monumental structure of Akbar’s entire reign. Even now it has no parallel and is the largest, loftiest and most stately in the whole of India. In its own class, it is one of the greatest in the world. Here, marble and sandstone have been used in effective combination in its decoration, which only the masons of the Mughal period knew. The inlaid marble work in the arches and the Hindu style of architecture in the gallery above the entrance are worth a visit. The total height of the Gate above the pavement is 176 ft.

The great gate itself is quite plain. The three horizontal panels of buff stone noticeable in Badshahi Darwaza are also present here. The plain red sandstone spandrels are framed n white marble with a flower like ornament inlaid in white marble at the apex of the arch, and a flattish rosette, centered with the narrow panel above it, on either side. The cusped ornament, large and bold in fact, but small and delicate when seen from below, is carried down below the springing of the arch. Two pieces have been broken off from the left hand side and eight from the right.

Visitors to the Gate will find that up to several feet beyond human reach, the door is covered with horseshoes of other draft cattle. Popularly, they are believed to have been stuck on the Gate for luck by simple devoted peasants to seek the blessings, of Saint Sheikh Salim Chisti. The practice of a similar nature is still current, of tying threads or pieces of cloth to the screens in the Sheikh’s tomb for the fulfillment of vows particularly by barren women.

Passing through the central hall and admiring the fine proportion of the dome covering it, and the bold medallion painted in the centre, one emerges into the courtyard of the mosque, under the dome. Doorways open on either side onto the southern cloister.

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