Largest Gateway of India
The Buland Darwaza, which translates to “mighty gate” in Persian, serves as a splendid showcase of the architectural excellence of the Mughal period. Situated in Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India, this remarkable edifice holds the distinction of being the largest gateway of India. Constructed by the iconic Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1601 A.D., the Buland Darwaza commemorates his conquest of Gujarat. This grand entrance is not just a testament to engineering prowess but also a fusion of Persian and Hindu architectural influences, making it a must-see marvel of historical significance.
Historical Significance of Buland Darwaza
In 1573, Emperor Akbar constructed Buland Darwaza to celebrate his conquest of Khandesh (now known as Gujarat). It took nearly 12 years to complete this colossal structure. Fatehpur Sikri was an important city during Akbar’s reign, serving as the capital and this gateway stands as one of its most remarkable landmarks.
Architecture and Design
Buland Darwaza rises majestically to a height of 53.63 meters (approximately 176 feet) and spans an impressive 35 meters in width. The structure is approached by a grand staircase consisting of 42 steps. Made primarily of red and buff sandstone, it features intricate carvings and inlays of white and black marble, showcasing the Mughal mastery of architectural and ornamentation.
The semi-octagonal design of the Buland Darwaza is topped with elegant pillars and chhatris (small domed pavilions). Calligraphic inscriptions from the Quran adorn the gateway, adding to its aesthetic and historical significance. Thirteen smaller domed kiosks, stylized battlements and small turrets adorn the roof, all intricately adorned with inlay work in white and black marble.
Inscription on Buland Darwaza
One of the most notable inscriptions on the Buland Darwaza is attributed to Jesus Christ and reads, “The World is but a bridge, pass over but built no houses on it.” This inscription reflects Akbar’s religious tolerance and open-mindedness. Additionally, a Persian inscription on the eastern archway records Akbar’s conquest over Deccan in 1601 A.D.
Buland Darwaza is located in Fatehpur Sikri, a historic town in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. Agra, known worldwide for the iconic Taj Mahal, is just 43 kilometers away from Fatehpur Sikri. Visitors to Agra often include a trip to this magnificent gateway as part of their itinerary.
Best Time to Visit
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 exceeding hot, making the experience less enjoyable. The gateway is open 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.