Fatehpur Sikri was a revelation. The ghost town unfurled its cinnamon sandstone storied pavilions like a pop-up book. Dado paneled quarters materialized atop stepped terraces. Gujarat carved brackets and Persian calligraphy entwined themselves into sculpted chambers that imitated the sumptuous look of carved wood. Here, no monumental marble palace domineers the landscape and no inlaid jewels adorn facades. Instead, geometric fretwork lightens the earthy red tones of the edifices, and walled courtyards define private sections from public ones. I was in Fatehpur Sikri by accident. I had never heard of it before embarking on my exploration of Agra, India. A casual conversation with the taxi driver, Sunjeet, on my way out of Agra revealed my ignorance and prompted him to take me on a detour. Walking with him among the abandoned courtyards, I feel I am the only one to see the place in a thousand years.
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