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  Gateways and Bazaars

Access into the city was controlled by a series of gates or barriers that progressively restricted movement from the public spaces into the zones of the city reserved for the royal family and nobility.

The Gateways

Beginning from Delhi Darwaza in Sikri village, and moving westward, lay the city's gateways. The Lai (Red), Akbarabad (Agra), the Suraj (Sun) or Bir, the Ghandar (Moon), and the Gwalior Darwazas. Beyond these, further to the west, are the Tehrah (Crooked) and the Ajmeri Darwazas. Delhi, Agra, Gwalior, and Ajmer Gateways are so called because the roads to these towns led out from these named gateways. The gateways are all identical in design but the Agra Gateway is best preserved and most frequently used by the modern tourist coming either from Agra or Bharatpur.

Inside the Agra Gateway, is a large irregular pentagonal enclosure containing ruined cloisters. Locally known as the 'kotwali' or police check post, it was a caravanserai. Behind this caravanserai, the eastern end of the Fatehpur ridge rises, steeply; on its slopes and summit are the remains of some elegant quarters, of which the best preserved is a charming pavilion of red sandstone called Tansen's Baradari. The road leads to the attractive Dak Bungalow built by Lord Curzon (1898-1905). The Dak Bungalow is worth visiting for the magnificent view it offers of Sikri village and Delhi Darwaza.

The road, from Agra Gateway to the Imperial Palaces, runs through a walled enclosure, known as the 'Naubat Khana' or 'Naqqar Khana'. The Naubat Khana was a place where drums were beaten to make important announcements, and also to herald the emperor's appearances in the Diwan-I-Am. A huge structure with rubble masonry walls, popularly called 'Taksal' or mint, was the Karkhana or workshop where goods, both for daily use as well as luxury items were manufactured for the court. The Taksal was a part of the Karkhana and it is possible that gold and presentation coins were minted here. Among these ruins is a large plastered tank, called Hauz-i-Shirin or sweet tank, which was used to collect rainwater for preparing the food for the court.

Not far from the 'Hauz-i-Shirin', are the remains of the 'Yatish Khana' or House of Muhammad Baqir. He was the 'sufrachi' or Superintendent of the Imperial Table whose duty was to wait upon the emperor at his meals. Hakims' Quarters, believed to be the residence of the three Hakim brothers. Their knowledge of philosophy and the sciences, earned them the title of Hakim in Akbar's court.

The Imperial Palace complex can be related to various traditions, representing a unique and mysterious masterpiece. The complex, consisting of the Treasury, the offices, the Daulat Khana and the Haram Sara or ladies' palace , was divided into three parts; the mardana or men's section, the zanana or women's area, and the official area. Akbar planned the complex on Persian principles but the influences of his adopted land also came through in the typically Indian embellishments. The Imperial Palace complex consists of a number of independent pavilions arranged in formal geometry on a piece of level ground.

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