Set 25 miles (40 km) west of Agra lies the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri (City of Victory), built by Akbar in the late 16th century to serve as the new capital of the Mughal Empire. For 14 years from 1571 to 1585, the red sandstone-fortified city served as the dynasty’s seat of power, and at its peak, Englishman Ralph Fitch found it to be considerably larger and grander than even London.
This grandeur was short-lived, however, as in 1585, Akbar moved the capital to Lahore in his campaign against Afghan tribes. By 1619, the city had been completely abandoned and would remain so until archaeologists began exploring it in 1892.
Today, Fatehpur Sikri is a ghost town of beautiful sandstone arches, buildings and courtyards exhibiting Persian, Hindu and Jain design elements. Since Akbar was the only emperor to reside in the city for a significant amount of time, it’s considered one of the purist examples of the great emperor’s design aesthetic. Most visit the city on a day trip from Agra, but spending a night in nearby Fatehpur allows you to visit the city at dawn or dusk, when it is at its most peaceful and beautiful.
Located 25 miles from Agra, Fatehpur Sikri is easily accessible from the city. The Fatehpur Sikri Railway Station can be found less than a mile from the site. Entrance costs 485 Rs for foreigners, and the city is open daily.