12.15 victory city, pink city

on our way to jaipur, the pink city, we stopped at another important historical site, known as fathepur sikri.

fathepur means 'victory city'. this was the new capital that the moghul akbar built at the old city, sikri. this was perhaps my favuorite history lesson, probably because rather than a fortress, fathepur sikri was the residence of akbar and his wives, and contained residences, halls, stables, masjids and other interesting buildings, all laid out in a whimsical pattern rather than symmetrically.

the other important thing i learned in this history lesson was that akbar was not narrow-minded. only one of his wives was muslim from turkey. the other was a hindu from rajasthan, and the last was a christian from goa! the architecture of each of their separate 'havelis' or houses, reflected in thier design their own religious background. for example, the christian wife's haveli had crosses in the carved stone. the hindu wife had flowers and flames, while the muslim wife had q'uranic ayats. they each had their own kitchens, so their meals could be prepared according to religion and taste. there was an entire hide-and-seek building in which women would be blindfolded and try to find one another. the courtyard was floored with beautifully carved squares, in the centre was a square bench on which akbar and his wife or wives would sit. the women of the harem (in addition to his wives, he had 300 girlfriends, talk about a player!) would dress in one of two colours and stand on the squares in a game of medeival chess!

despite being scammed by a guide who had approached us on site (never pick up a guide on site in india, it's best to pre-book one yourself!) it was a magical visit. i could imagine the sound of music coming from the various buildings, girls running around playing and beautiful fabrics covering each archway of each of the buildings, behind which, who knows what would be happening!

i'm amazed at the genius of architecture of this place, and the other monuments we have visited. what a shame that after such extravagance, such incredible workmanship and such immense expense that that the main family line has died out; their homes are now deserted. well, except for the millions of annual tourist visits, of course...

the day was topped off with our arrival in jaipur... as we arrive in the dark, i can make out a very unique architecture and cannot wait for sunrise to go explore the pink city!

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