It was when I was going through the panther-haunted palaces of Akbar at Fatehpur Sikri that I first felt how tremendously the ruins of the past may face towards the future; the thing there is like a frozen wave that rose and never broke; and once I had caught that light upon things, I found the same quality in all the ruins I saw, in Amber and Vijayanagar and Chitor, and in all that I have seen or heard of, in ancient Rome and ancient Verona, in Pæstum and Cnossus and ancient Athens.
One of them, known as the Hall of Records, is now used for the accommodation of visitors because there is no hotel and very little demand for one. The only people who ever go to Fattehpur Sikri are tourists, and they take their own bedding and spread it on the marble floor. It is a long journey, twenty-six miles by carriage, and it is not possible to make it and return on the same day.
The impious chief was shortly afterwards assassinated in the palace. THE BATHS. On the side of the terrace directly opposite to the Dîwan-i-khas are the baths, or the Hammam. The water was brought up from a well, outside the walls, 70 feet below. These baths, in their present state, are by no means so fine as those at Fatehpur Sikri, to be described hereafter.
The hookah, the big tobacco pipe, with a long tube and a bowl of perfumed water for the smoke to pass through, is said to have been invented at Fattehpur Sikri by one of Akbar's engineers.
None of these places was ever really finished and done with; the Basilicas of Cæsar and Constantine just as much as the baths and galleries and halls of audience at Fatehpur Sikri express not ends achieved but thwarted intentions of permanence. They embody repulse and rejection. They are trials, abandoned trials, towards ends vaguely apprehended, ends felt rather than known.
Towards the end of the year his wife, whom he had sent to reside at Síkrí, gave birth to a son at the house of the saint, who is known in history as the Emperor Jahángír, though called after the saint by the name of Salím. His mother was a Rájpút princess of Jodhpur.
And then I would see Farukhabad Sikri I was reading in a book about it yesterday where the jungle grows in the palaces; and then I would go right up the Himalayas, and then, then I would have a walking tour in Japan, and then I would sail in a sailing ship down to Borneo and Java and set myself up as a Ranee ... And then I would think what I would do next." "All alone, Amanda?" asked Mrs. Wilder.
The deserted palaces of Fatehpur Sikri, which he planned out and built with all his characteristic energy as a royal residence, only about twenty-two miles distant from the imperial city of Agra, still stand in a singularly perfect state of preservation that enables one to reconstruct with exceptional vividness the life of the splendid court over which the greatest of the Moghul Emperors the contemporary of our own great Queen Elizabeth presided during perhaps the most characteristic years of his long reign.
Pompeii, moreover, stands on a plain, and it cannot, therefore, be seen at one glance; its extent, too, is scarcely half so great as that of Sikri; the houses are smaller, the palaces not so numerous, and inferior in splendour and magnitude.
Like Fatehpur Sikri itself, which for lack of water he had been compelled to abandon within fifteen years of its construction, it was a magnificent failure, and it was perhaps bound in his time to be a failure. Aurungzeb was the first of the Moghuls to reside in the Mahomedan atmosphere of Delhi throughout his long reign.