Sunday, 13 November 2011

Buland Darwaza

This is the south facing public gate to the mosque at Fateh-pur Sikri. "Darwaza" meaning gate or doorway and "Buland" meaning high or great in Persian.  The scale of the Buland Darwaza needs to be seen to be believed. The mosque along with the palace buildings at Fatepur Sikri sit atop a ridge and the city with its people was to its south, sloping down to the plains.

While the mosque has gateways from the north, east and south, the southern gateway is the largest - the public gateway for the city. The ridge is scaled by a series of steps and standing at the base of the steps you can't see the rest of the mosque building. Towering in front of you are a pile of red sandstone steps with the Buland Darwaza and people flocking to it looking like ants.

On my recent trip to Agra and Sikri this was one of my two favourite buildings. Will tell you about the other soon. But the experience was marred a bit by the over-aggressive guides at Sikri. They started stopping us on the highway before we even entered Sikri, pretending to be officials collecting toll. And once we were stopped they tried forcing themselves on us. All the way up these steps we were hounded and harangued by scores of them who stood in front of you not letting you see what you came to see. We were probably part of the minority - independent tourists, not part of a tour group and not wanting a guide - and in India you always have to fight it out if you are part of the minority.


  1. Welcome back! The gateway is certainly immense. At one time it was considered the tallest in the world but I do not know if is still that.

    I look forward to seeing the rest of your sketches from this trip.

  2. thank you! nice to be welcomed back :)