Buland Darwaza: A Majestic Marvel of Mughal Architecture in Fatehpur Sikri

Buland Darwaza: A Majestic Marvel of Mughal Architecture in Fatehpur Sikri
Buland Darwaza: A Majestic Marvel of Mughal Architecture in Fatehpur Sikri

Buland Darwaza, which translates to “mighty gate” in Persian, stands as a magnificent testament to the architectural prowess of the Mughal era. This awe-inspiring structure is located in Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India, and holds the distinction of being the largest gateway in the country. Commissioned by the legendary Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1601 A.D. to commemorate his victorious campaign in Gujarat, the Buland Darwaza represents not just a feat of construction but also a harmonious fusion of Persian and Hindu architectural styles, making it an essential destination for history enthusiasts.

Emperor Akbar undertook the construction of Buland Darwaza in 1573 to celebrate his triumph in Khandesh, which is now known as Gujarat. It took nearly 12 years to complete this colossal structure. During Akbar’s reign, Fatehpur Sikri served as an important city and was the capital, with the Buland Darwaza standing tall as one of its most remarkable landmarks.

Rising majestically to a height of 53.63 meters (approximately 176 feet) and spanning an impressive width of 35 meters, the Buland Darwaza is accessed via a grand staircase comprising 42 steps. Crafted primarily from red and buff sandstone, it features intricate carvings and inlays of white and black marble, showcasing the Mughal mastery of architectural design and ornamentation.

The semi-octagonal design of the Buland Darwaza is adorned with elegant pillars and chhatris (small domed pavilions). Calligraphic inscriptions from the Quran embellish the gateway, adding to its aesthetic and historical significance. The roof is adorned with thirteen smaller domed kiosks, stylized battlements, and small turrets, all intricately adorned with inlay work in white and black marble.

Notably, one of the inscriptions on the Buland Darwaza is attributed to Jesus Christ, stating, “The World is but a bridge, pass over but build no houses on it.” This inscription reflects Akbar’s religious tolerance and open-mindedness. Furthermore, a Persian inscription on the eastern archway records Akbar’s conquest over Deccan in 1601 A.D.

Buland Darwaza is situated in Fatehpur Sikri, a historic town near Agra, Uttar Pradesh. Agra, renowned globally for the iconic Taj Mahal, is located just 43 kilometers away from Fatehpur Sikri. Visitors to Agra often include a trip to this magnificent gateway as part of their itinerary.

The ideal time to visit Buland Darwaza is during the winter season, from November to March, when the weather is pleasant for exploring the site. Summers can be excessively hot, making the experience less enjoyable. The gateway welcomes visitors every day from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The entry fee is Rs. 10 for Indian nationals and citizens of SAARC nations, while foreign tourists are charged Rs. 750, which also includes entry to Fatehpur Sikri.