This is a ghost town on the outskirts of Agra. The interesting thing about this wonderful place is that it should remind us of two things and two things alone.
The first is that Akbhar built it to honour Shaikh Salim Christi (a Sufi ) who lived here, as it was the Sufi who told him he was going to have a son. No expense spared, it was the first planned Mughal city, it took nearly fifteen years to build, they lived in it for fourteen and then it was abandoned - WHY ? They made a HUGE miscalculation on the availability of water and the rest is history. I wonder in 50 years time how many cities in the world will face similar problems.
The second, and to me this is even more fascinating, is the secular nature of this city. Akbhar was not called the great for no reason. He was a visionary and an aesthete and a lover of learning. He built three palaces for his three wives who came from different backgrounds and had different religions and he was sensitive to these differences but also conscious of the need to be inclusive and accepting of all. How liberating and how forward thinking in a man of the 16th century. His secularization is a lesson for every ruler in every country. Well at least that is what my friend Celia and I believe !