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The Fatehpur Sikri complex remains among the most intriguing architectural marvels from the Mughal era in Uttar Pradesh. While the sprawling town, also called the ghost town, has many spectacular buildings that hold immense significance, one part is often overlooked: the Pachisi Court. According to historians, the Panch Mahal’s courtyard resembles a game that is a cross between ludo and chess. If you are a history buff who loves to delve into history, visiting the Pachisi Court is a must because long after you go home, you will still keep wondering about its purpose. Get ready to delve into the Pachisi Court, which has baffled historians and theorists alike.

Pachisi Court In Fatehpur Sikri

Pachisi Court is a courtyard of the Panch Mahal in Fatehpur Sikri

Image Credit:David Castor for wikimedia commons

The Pachisi Court was the brainchild of Emperor Akbar and it is an open-air courtyard within the Fatehpur Sikri compound. The design of the court was inspired by the cruciform board. Historians believe that it was built around 1572 AD and served as the primary entertainment source and recreational activity that kept the emperor happy and busy. The Pachisi Game is similar to Ludo and Chess. According to experts, it is much older than these two games although there is still ongoing debate about how old the game is. The name Pachisi has been chosen because it translates to ‘25’. In the Pachisi game, this is the maximum score a player can attain in a throw.

The Pachisi Court, also called the Chaupar Court by some, symbolises innovation due to its layout. There is a sitting chair at the centre of the huge board where people believe the emperor used to sit and play. The court resembles a traditional Pachisi board with 64 squares. The courtyard measures 66.29 by 46.93 metres and is made with red sandstone like most Fatehpur Sikri buildings. Facing the Panch Mahal on one side and the Diwan-i-Am on the other, the courtyard is an open space that is spread across a wide area. Some people speculate there may have been marbles of alternate colours in the square blocks of the board.

Fatehpur Sikri Timings: Sunrise to sunset, Monday to Sunday
Fatehpur Sikri Tickets: INR 50 for Indian nationals, INR 610 for international tourists and foreigners

Must Read: Places To Visit In Fatehpur Sikri

Pachisi Court Legends

 It is best to visit Pachisi Court during the winter season

Image Credit: Rashid Jorvee for wikimedia commons

The dimensions of the Pachisi Court flooring indicate that humans were used to play the game instead of game pieces. There are two variations that many people tend to believe to this day. Some think that slave girls were dressed in different colours and they were used as playing pieces after the dice were rolled and the emperor along with the others played the game. Others believe that it was the emperor’s servants who acted like the game pieces, and they moved according to the dice roll.

It is unclear which of these is correct because there is no evidence found about the specifics of the game played in the courtyard.

Why You Should Visit The Pachisi Court

A front picture of Pachisi Court In Fatehpur Sikri

Image Credit: Aryadeep Bhattacharya for wikimedia commons

Alt text: The Pachisi Court should be visited for its beauty and its fascinating past

The vast Pachisi Court remains a mystery for those who have dared to explore it. Many people often just walk around without giving it due credit while others ignore it completely when they visit the Fatehpur Sikri. You should visit it for the following reasons.

  • Experience the past: You can delve into the past by going to the courtyard and seeing how big it all. You can then theorize what you think the emperor did in the open-air court. It will surely take you to the past!
  • Explore the area and its architecture: The signature red sandstone along with the design of the courtyard is a must-see which you should experience first-hand. It will make you wonder how much time it took to complete it all.
  • Put yourself in their shoes: The Mughal period is rather captivating and you should visit the courtyard to get a feel of how things were back then. You can see for yourself how emperors passed their time. It will make you understand a bit about their lives and the social culture of that time.

Suggested Read: Fatehpur Sikri

How To Reach

Image Source:Pexel

  • UPSRTC runs various bus services that enable you to reach from Agra to Fatehpur Sikri. Other bus services are also available so you can reach your destination on time.
  • You can get off at the Agra Cantt Railway Station and then hire a taxi from the station to Fatehpur Sikri to reach the courtyard.
  • The Kheria Airport in Agra is the closest airport to Pachisi Court. You can hire a taxi directly from the airport to reach Fatehpur Sikri.

Tips For Visiting Pachisi Court

  • Hire a guide in advance for the tour of the entire Fatehpur Sikri including the Pachisi Court. The tour should not take more than an hour. Then explore taking your time.
  • You will be overwhelmed with the number of guides available. Only opt for licensed guides from the ASI Guide counter or the UP Tourism counter. The guide fee is separate from the entry fee.
  • If visiting during the summer, carry water and apply sunscreen as the sun can be strong. It is best to go as early in the morning to stay safe from the sun.
  • You can find water refilling stations in some areas of the Fatehpur Sikri such as Jodha Palace so make sure you are carrying sufficient water with you.

Further Read: Diwan E Khas Fatehpur Sikri

Your trip to Uttar Pradesh will be complete only if you visit the Pachisi Court of Fatehpur Sikri. With its marvellous architecture and intriguing backstory, the courtyard is a great part of UP’s history that you should not miss on your trip to Agra.

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Cover Image Credit: Shutterstock

Frequently Asked Questions About Pachisi Court

What is the size of the court?

The size of the Pachisi Court is 66.29 by 46.93 metres and it is located in front of the Panch Mahal which is the tallest building of Fatehpur Sikri.

How much time is needed for Pachisi Court?

You need at least 15 minutes for the Pachisi Court and a minimum of 3 hours to visit all the ruins sites of Fatehpur Sikri.

When is the best time to visit Pachisi Court?

It is better if you visit the region after the monsoon or during the winter as it is open ground and can get hot in the summer. The best time is from October to March.

Can we take food inside?

You can only take a bottle of water inside the Fatehpur Sikri complex. Eating inside the compound is prohibited.

Do we need to adhere to a dress code?

While there is no dress code, it is better to dress modestly when visiting all the sites at Fatehpur Sikri.

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