Jodha Bai's Palace

Jodha Bai's Palace

Entrance to Jodha Bai's Palace

Interior Courtyard of Jodha Bai's PalaceJodha Bai's Palace is the central structure in Fatehpur Sikri's harem complex. It was a nearly self-contained complex, fronted by guardhouses, and designed to ensure that the women in purdah had everything that they needed for their daily life. While such a life may seem confining, particularly by Western standards. the palace itself is large and open. The Palace consists of a number of apartments linked by courtyards to an enormous inner courtyard. On the southern side of the palace were the harem baths, while behind the harem were the stables. The photo to the upper left Gardens adjacent to the Palace of Jodha BaiBirbal's Houseshows the entrance to the palace, while the photo to the upper right shows the inner courtyard. The harem complex, however extended beyond the walls of the Jodha Bai Palace. To the north (and linked to the palace by a viaduct) are a series of gardens, shown in the photo at the lower left. Just north and slightly west of this palace lies Birbal's house, a beautiful double-storied, double-domed structure. Interestingly enough, both dwellings seem to be misnamed. Jodha Bai was not Akbar's queen but rather that queen of son Jahangir; therefore this name was posthumously misdesignated. It was most likely the home of Akbar's wife, Mariam-uz-Zamani. Likewise, since the name Birbal refers to a male member of the Mughul royal family, it is a near-certainty that he did not live in the harem--after all, an emperor's generosity can only extend so far! The most likely occupants of this palace were Akbar's two senior queens, Ruqayya Begum and Salima Sultan Begum.