In 1572, Akbar conquered the extremely fertile lands of Gujarat which are best suited for cotton and indigo plantations. Gujarat’s port also acts a links for trading overseas countries like Persia.
Egypt and Arabia. To celebrate his victory over Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, he got Buland Darwaza constructed at Fataehpur Sikri in Agra, the then capital of Mughal Empire. The darwaza is a symbol of enormous wealth the Mughal Treasure had.
Fatehpur Sikri proved to be very lucky for Akbar. The Golden period of Akbar’s reign was operated from here. Akbar expanded his kingdom in the entire Indian sub continent.
Buland Darwaza is a royal southern entrance to the mosque. It I made up of red sandstone and decorated with white and black marble. This gateway leads into the grand Jama Masjid of Fatehpur Sikri. The Jama Masjid is one of the biggest mosques in India and is sought after as a place of pilgrimage, especially by Muslims.
It took almost 12 years to construct this gateway. It is the highest gateway in the world. It is also called the ‘Gate of Magnificence’. It was added to the compound of Jama Masjid much later in 1573. Akbar ordered to construct this Darwaza after taking advice of several best architects of his kingdom. There is no structure in India that can beat its magnificence.
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Buland Darwaza is a majestic structure detailing the courtyard of Jama Masjid. It’s beauty and royalty leaves all in utter astonishment. The complete structure is made up of red and buff sandstone with deep detailing of white and black marble. It is octagonal in shape.
Back then, when craftsmen were not exposed to the level of technology as today, it is only a wonder, that a structure s bulky was established and that too on the top of a hill. Its total height from the ground level is 53.63 meters. The structural height of the structure is about 40 meters and it is about 35 meters wide.
The additional 13 meters are provided to its length by the hill. To reach Buland Daarwaza, one needs to tread 42 steps to reach this gate. The great Buland Darawaza is higher than the structure of jama Masjid. The front gate is plain while the interior is inscribed with beautiful phrases of Quran.
The complete structure is about 15 storeys while the wings on both the sides have 3 storeys each. The beauty is a sight to behold, especially when the moon lights up its structure. As soon as we enter the Darwaza, we come face to face with an empty hall that is designed in a way that voice echoes loudly. So, be careful while whispering lowly, someone might hear you out.
The gateway is topped by three big kiosks which just add more grandeur to its structure. Also, thirteen smaller kiosks top the Darwaza and they are built just in front of the three big kiosks. Its backside is an intricate framework of many canopies and detailed artwork. It is symmetrical in shape and structure.
The inlaid work is done in black and white marble. Small turrets surround the gateway which just adds on its beauty. Structurally, it can be divided into three sides. The main arc is built in the centre of all the three sides. As we all know, that no Mughal construction is complete without domes; the main arc houses a big dome on top of it.
The central arc also divided into three tiers while construction. It has rows of smaller arches and flat brackets providing definition to its structure. The ceilings carry an excellent evidence of Mughal fine craftsmanship.
This beautiful doorway is perfect example of Mughal architecture. The complete interior is embellished with religious thoughts and verses from Quran. As it was built in memory of Akbar’s victory over Gujarat, thus, the eastern arch of Buland Darwaza is a great manuscript which records his victory.
The win over Gujarat is written in beautiful calligraphic words over the eastern minaret. The great door I plain but its simplicity holds a beautiful sophistication in itself. The Badshahi Darwaza also has three horizontal panels which are quite noticeable from a long distance.
The apex of the arch is built in white marble and has embellishments of plain red sandstone in it. It is decorated with intricately cutout flowers of white marble.
The either sides have a flattish rose colour to it. The arc has three actual openings. These openings are beautifully engraved in decorative panels. This gateway took almost 12 years to build which is actually a massive time frame.
Inscriptions on Buland Darwaza
The eastern archway of the gateway is in scripted in Persian depicting the great Mughal Akbar’s victory over Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. His religious tolerance and beliefs were also manifested on the central face of the great gateway. The Islamic inscription in Persian language states the advice of Jesus Christ to his followers “The world is a bridge, pass over it, but build no houses upon it.
He, who hopes for a day, may hope for eternity; but the world endures but an hour. Spend it in prayer for the rest is unseen”. Jesus is advising his followers not to take this world as their permanent house.
The holy book Quran’s verses were also found in the gateway drawn by Khwaja Hussain Chisti, a disciple of Sufi saint Sheikh Chisti. These are carved beautifully in calligraphic style of writing Arabic alphabets and are known as Naksh.
“Buland” means strong and “darwaza” means door. ‘Buland Darwaza’ is also known as the “gate of magnificence’. This Mughal monument forms the main entrance of the palace of Fatehpur Sikri. It is the victory memorandum of Akbar the great in 1601 for his successful victory over Gujarat in 1573.
The mammoth structure can be visited morning to evening at any time but winters are best suited to avoid scorching heat of summer sun.
What we are getting to witness is the legendary designs left by Mughals as a mark of their legacy in India. Unfortunately, these structures are meeting their doom as they are not well kept by the authorities. Only the famous ones receive proper care.
But structures like Buland Darwaza and many others are left behind. Honeycombs are there all over the place and some parts of the structure have broken and withered away.
It is heartening to see such a piece of history meeting its untimely doom. But even after the reckless activities of humans, the Buland Darwaza stands strong as ever braving the hell of human and nature.