He had his son. And he was tired of the chaos at Agra.
He decided to make a new start at the place where his son had been granted to him. And so the Mughal Emperor Akbar decided to build Fatehpur Sikri. This, he hoped, would be a city more in tune with his predilections. Here he would debate theology, indulge in the arts and listen to his vast collection of books. (He himself was illiterate.) Here he would build a palace complex as unorthodox as his court, fusing Hindu and Muslim architectural traditions.
And then without knowing it, he seemed to predict its doom. On one of the arches, severe, restrained, beautiful, there is a Koranic inscription which reads, translated roughly: Jesus, son of Mary (peace be upon him) said that this world is a bridge we must cross. Build no houses upon it.
And so Fatehpur Sikri was only occupied for 14 years. They were rich, productive years but the water supply would not support the demands of the court. Or the death of the Sufi saint who brought him there in the first place, made Akbar lose interest. Or there were political reasons. (Take your pick.) Akbar left his court so abruptly that even today the feeling that this is a palace asleep rather than a palace abandoned still hangs around the almost immaculate ruins.
And the inscription from the Koran is still there, to remind visitors of the hubris of kings. More About Fatehpur Sikri
The great Mughal emperor Babar laid out this earliest example of a Mughal garden. It is said that his body was buried here before place in Kabul.
This imposing mosque was built in the name of Jehanara Begum, Shah Jehan's daughter. More About Jama Masjid
12km the tomb of Akbar, begun by the emperor himself and completed by his son,Jehangir. This richly decorated structure is a quaint mixture of styles.
More About Sikandra
Aligarh's name may not have the historical resonance of Agra or Lucknow but this city in central Uttar Pradesh has its own sense of history and purpose. A student town dominated by the red brick Moorish-style buildings of the Aligarh Muslim University, the hub of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan's pioneering movement of spreading modern education among Indian Muslims. Aligarh is also an industrial centre known for its lock and hardware manufacturing industry. It is also famous for its patchwork embroidery (patti ka kaam) and gajak, a sweet made of jaggery and sesame seed, which are much sought after by locals and visitors. The nearby towns of Purdil Nagar and Khurja are noted for their glass beads and ceramics respectively. The city also lends its name to Aligarhi pyjamas, which differ from traditional pyjamas by being broad at the base. All of which makes Aligarh an interesting excursion from Agra, which is just 80 km away.