Buland Darwaza , or the “Door of victory”, was built in 1601 A.D. by Mughal emperor Akbar to commemorate his victory over Gujarat. It is the main entrance to the Jama Masjid at Fatehpur Sikri, which is 43 km from Agra, India.
Buland Darwaza is the highest gateway in the world and is an example of Mughal architecture. It displays Akbar’s empire.
The Buland Darwaza is made of red and buff sandstone, decorated by white and black marble and is higher than the courtyard of the mosque. The Buland Darwaza is symmetrical and is topped by large free standing kiosks, which are the chhatris. It also has terrace edge gallery-kiosks on the roof, stylized buckler-battlements, small minar-spires, and inlay work with white and black marble. On the outside a long flight of steps sweeps down the hill giving the gateway additional height. It is 40 metres high and 50 metres from the ground. The total height of the structure is about 54 metres from the ground level. It is a 15-storied high gateway acting as the southern entrance of the city of Fatehpur Sikri. The approach to the gate consists of 42 steps. It is semi octagonal in plan and two smaller triple-storeyed wings on either side. It has three kiosks on its top surrounded by thirteen smaller domed kiosks. There are smaller turrets surrounding the gateway. The expanse is broken by arched niches, small chhatries and marbles which highlights the courtyard of the Jama Masjid. The principal arch stands in the centre of three projecting sides and topped by a dome. The central arch is broken into three tiers with rows of smaller arches and flat brackets.
The great gate itself is plain. The three horizontal panels of buff stone noticeable in Badshahi Darwaza are also present here. The plain red sandstone spandrels are framed in white marble with a flower like ornament inlaid in white marble at the apex of the arch, and a flattish rosette, centered with the narrow panel above it, on either side. The cusped ornament, large and bold in fact, but small and delicate when seen from below, is carried down below the springing of the arch. Two pieces have been broken off from the left hand side and eight from the right.The arch has three actual openings bordered by decorative panels and superimposed by three other arched openings crowned by a semi-dome. The total height of the Gate above the pavement is 176 ft.
A Persian inscription on eastern archway of the Buland Darwaza records Akbar’s conquest of Uttar Pradesh and the victory in Gujarat in 1573. An inscription on the central face of the Buland Darwaza describes Akbar’s religious openness.
On the main gateway an Islamic inscription written in Persian reads “Isa (Jesus), son of Mary said: ‘The world is a Bridge, pass over it, but build no houses upon it. He who hopes for a day may hope for eternity, but the World endures but an hour. Spend it in prayer for the rest is unseen.'”
Jesus was advising his followers not to consider the world as a permanent home.
Verses from the Quran have been carved in the Naskh (script) along the top. These were drawn by Khwaja Hussain Chishti, a disciple of Sheikh Salim Chishti.