Fatehpur Sikri: An Ephemeral Capital
Fatehpur Sikri was built as the capital of the Mughal Empire in 1570. The heirless Mughal Emperor, Akbar, had visited the village of Sikri to consult the Sufi saint Shaikh Salim Chishti. The saint had prophesised the birth of a son and an heir to the Mughal throne. When the prediction came true and overjoyed Akbar commissioned the construction of his new capital, a stunning mosque which is still worshiped in and three palaces for each of his favourite wives, a Muslim, a Christian and a Hindu. After the death of Akbar in 1585 this Indo-Islamic masterpiece was abandoned due to the scarcity of water in the region.
This World Heritage Site is an easy 1 hour drive from Agra and can be treated as a day trip. But if you want to soak in the colourful bazaars in the village of Fatehpur and Sikri, waiting for that perfect sunset photo-op, there are a few decent places to stay the night. Next day you could drive to the Abhaneri village, famous for its post Gupta or early medieval monuments and then carry on ahead to the 10th century Chand Baori, a 100 feet deep stepwell.