Buland Darwaza (lit. 'High Gate'), or the "Door of victory", was built in 1575 A.D. by Mughal emperor Akbar to commemorate his victory over Gujarat. It is the main entrance to the Jama Masjid at Fatehpur Sikri, which is 43 km from Agra, India.
The Buland Darwaza is made of red and buff sandstone, decorated by white and black marble and is higher than the courtyard of the mosque. The Buland Darwaza is symmetrical and is topped by large free-standing kiosks, which are the chhatris. It also has terrace edge gallery kiosks on the roof, stylised buckler-battlements, small minor-spires, and inlay work with white and black marble. On the outside, a long flight of steps sweeps down the hill giving the gateway additional height. It is 40 meters high and 50 meters from the ground. The total height of the structure is about 54 meters from the ground level. It is a 15-storied high gateway acting as the southern entrance of the city of Fatehpur Sikri. The approach to the gate consists of 42 steps. It is semi-octagonal in plan with two smaller triple-storeyed wings on either side. It has three kiosks on its top surrounded by thirteen smaller domed kiosks. There are smaller turrets surrounding the gateway. The expanse is broken by arched niches, small chhatris, and marbles which highlights the courtyard of the Jama Masjid. The principal arch stands in the centre of three projecting sides and topped by a dome. The central arch is broken into three tiers with rows of smaller arches and flat brackets.
The great gate itself is plain. The three horizontal panels of buff stone noticeable in the Badshahi Darwaza are also present here. The plain red sandstone spandrels are framed in 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. The arch has three actual openings bordered by decorative panels and superimposed by three other arched openings crowned by a semi-dome. The total height of the Gate above the pavement is 176 ft.
A Persian inscription on the eastern archway of the Buland Darwaza records Akbar's conquest of Uttar Pradesh and the victory in Gujarat in 1573. An inscription on the central face of the Buland Darwaza describes Akbar's religious openness.
On the main gateway, an Islamic inscription written in Persian reads "Isa (Jesus), son of Mary said: '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 was advising his followers not to consider the world as a permanent home and hope for worldly things, as human life is of short duration.
Notes and references
- "Fatehpur Sikri". Encyclopaedia Britannica.
- "prateek to Visit in India: Buland Darwaza". India Travel.
- There is another memorial gate called the "Buland Darwaza" at the Dargah Sharif in Ajmer, Rajasthan, "Historical Monuments". Mission Sarkar Gharib Nawaz. Archived from the original on 29 January 2015. Retrieved 29 January 2015., and another in Hyderabad near the Golconda Fort.
- "Buland Darwaza India - Buland Darwaja Fatehpur Sikri - Buland Darwaza Sikri India". www.agraindia.org.uk.
- "All You Need To Know About Buland Darwaza".
- "Buland Darwaza".
- Sen Gupta, Subhadra; Israni, Prakash (2013). Fatehpur Sikri : Akbar's magnificent city on a hill. New Delhi: Niyogi Books. pp. 186–187. ISBN 9789381523728. OCLC 845530599.
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