One of the most influential people in the history of Mughal Era was Sufi Saint Salim Chishti- who played a major role in the functioning of the Mughal Empire. His Mazar (tomb) is constructed in the middle of the Emperor’s Courtyard at Fatehpur Sikri (Agra). Chishti’s tomb was originally built with red sandstone and it was much later that the entire structure was converted into a beautiful marble mausoleum. History says that Akbar had requested the saint to pray for a male heir to the throne and soon after this, Akbar was blessed with his first male heir-Prince Salim. The mausoleum was built by the great Mughal ruler Akbar as a mark of his respect for the Sufi saint, who foretold the birth of his son whom he named after him. It was Prince Salim who succeeded Akbar to the Mughal throne with the royal title ‘Jahangir’. The construction of the tomb began in 1571 and the work was completed fifteen years later. It is believed that prayers are answered and wishes fulfilled of those who offer prayers at this mazar. There is also a ritual of tying a thread at the marble window of this Dargah in order to have one’s wishes fulfilled. It has some beautiful architectural features, marking the incorporation of indigenous architectural styles in the construction.
Sheikh Salim Chishti’s daughter is considered to be the foster mother of Emperor Jahangir. The emperor was deeply attached to his foster mother, as reflected in ‘Jahangirnama’ and he was also extremely close to her son Qutb-ud-din Khan Koka who was made the governor of Bengal. Abul Fazl, Akbar’s court historian, regarded the Sufi among those “who pay less attention to the external world but acquire vast knowledge and understand the mysteries of the heart.” Under the guidance of Sheikh Salim Chishti, Akbar adopted the Chishti principle of sulh-e-kul that is peace with all, as the official state policy. Salim Chishti’s mazar is one of the most notable accomplishments of Mughal architecture. The structure is flanked by the massive Buland Darwaza also known as the Victory Gate on the southern side, the Badshahi darwaza or Emperor’s gate on the eastern side, and the grand mosque Jama Masjid on the western side. All of this has contributed in making Fatehpur Sikri a major tourist centre.