Akbar, the noblest of the great line of Moguls whose splendour ended in 1707 with the death of Aurungzebe, came to the throne in 1556, only eight years before Shakespeare was born, and died in 1605, and it is interesting to realise how recent were his times, the whole suggestion of Fatehpur-Sikri being one of very remote antiquity.

After the exchange of ideas with these noblemen, he pushed on to Ajmere, made his pilgrimage to the tomb of the saint, caused to be repressed the rising of a petty chief in the jungles of Jodhpur, and then returned to his favourite residence at Fatehpur-Síkrí. He had noticed, on his many journeys, that a very great part of the territories he had traversed remained uncultivated.

'Impressed, writes Professor Blochmann, 'with a favourable idea of the value of his Hindu subjects, he had resolved when pensively sitting in the evenings on the solitary stone at Fatehpur-Síkrí, to rule with an even hand all men in his dominions; but as the extreme views of the learned and the lawyers continually urged him to persecute instead of to heal, he instituted discussions, because, believing himself to be in error, he thought it his duty as ruler to "inquire." These discussions took place every Thursday night in the Ibádat-Khána, a building at Fatehpur-Síkrí, erected for the purpose.

From that village the Emperor proceeded direct to Fatehpur-Síkrí, where he arrived in triumph, after an absence of forty-three days. His plan of bringing under his sceptre the whole of India had so far matured that he ruled now, at the end of the eighteenth year of his reign, over North-western, Central, and Western India, inclusive of the Punjab and Kábul.

The nobles of the court, fired by these examples, began then to build houses for themselves. Whilst his own palace was building one of his wives became pregnant, and Akbar conveyed her to the dwelling of the holy man. The place has since been known in history by the joint names of Fatehpur-Síkrí.

Having seen Fatehpur-Sikri, where Akbar lived and did more than build a house, it is a natural course to return to Agra by way of Sikandra, where he was buried. Sikandra is like the Taj Mahal and Humayun's Tomb in general disposition the mausoleum itself being in the centre of a garden. But it is informed by a more sombre spirit.

One word as to the daily habits of Akbar and to the manner in which he was accustomed to pass an ordinary day at Agra or Fatehpur-Síkrí. It would seem that he kept late hours, spending the evenings far into the early morning in conversation and discussion. In such matters he occupied himself, according to the record of Abulfazl, till 'about a watch before daybreak, when musicians were introduced.

They say the leopard and the jackal keep The courts where Akbar gloried.... this adaptation of FitzGerald's lines ran through my mind as we passed from room to room and tower to tower of Fatehpur-Sikri. There is nothing to compare with it, except perhaps Pompeii.

To commemorate this event Akbar made of Fatehpur-Síkrí a permanent royal abode; built a stone fortification round it, and erected some splendid edifices. He then made another pilgrimage on foot to the mausoleum of the saint on the Ajmere hill. Having paid his devotions he proceeded to Delhi. Early the following year Akbar marched into Rájpútána and halted at Nagaur, in Jodhpur.

They are not exactly decadent, but they suggest sweetness rather than strength. The Empire had been won, and Shah Jahan could indulge in luxury and ease. But Akbar had had to fight, and he remained to the end a man of action, and we see his character reflected in his stronghold Fatehpur-Sikri, which one visits from Agra and never forgets.