Born On: 1478
Died On: 1572
Career: Sufi Saint
No one ever wondered that the great Mughal Emperor Akbar would pass on a simple Sufi saint’s name to his son. Reason being that the latter had foretold the birth of his son and Akbar, as a mark of respect, bestowed the name Prince Salim to his first son, who later succeeded him to the throne as Emperor Jahangir. The person who had prophesized this was none other than Salim Chishti, a renowned and revered Sufi saint under the Mughal Empire. Belonging to the Chishti order in India, Salim Chishti was one of the descendants of the legendary Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti of Ajmer, Rajasthan. Such was his greatness that Akbar built a mausoleum in his honor at Fatehpur Sikri. Today, the tomb is one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture in India.
Salim Chishti was considered to be a great and extraordinary Sufi Mystic who was believed to perform miracles. Though he was known amongst the common masses, his major recognition came when Akbar identified his powers. On one occasion, Mughal Emperor Akbar visited the shrine of Hazrat Ashraf Jahangir Semnani. Having heard much about Salim Chishti and highly inspired by the latter's works, he decided to pay him a visit. Thus, he went to the holy man’s camp, which was located deep in the desert, with hopes of giving birth to a male heir. The Sufi saint offered him his blessings, following which Akbar had the first of his three sons. As a mark of respect and admiration to Salim Chishti, Akbar named his son Salim, who later became Emperor Jahangir. To top it all, Akbar valued him so much he got a city built around his camp. Today, this great city is known by the name of Fatehpur Sikri. Akbar even got his Mughal Court and Courtiers shifted to this city. However, the city was abandoned due to shortage of water. Nonetheless, the city, today, stands as one of the major tourists attractions in India.
Salim Chishti Tomb
Salim Chishti was originally buried in a tomb covered with red sandstone. But Akbar converted the simple burial place of the Sufi saint into a beautiful marble mausoleum. The tomb lies in the center of the quadrangle of the Jama Masjid at Akbar’s Courtyard at Fatehpur Sikri. It is located near Zenana Rauza facing south towards Buland Darwaza. Even the ancestral home of Salim Chishti has been beautifully decorated with a large Sun motif at the main door and an array of impressive stone screen inside. The carved herring bone roof has been connected to “Sangtarash Mosque”, or Stone Cutter’s Mosque, the first building in Fatehpur Sikri. It is believed that Salim Chishti spent most of the time in this mosque on numerous occasions of his journeys to perform hajjes during his life. Today, the mausoleum is one of the most visited monuments in India which is regarded as a premium accomplishment of Mughal architecture. People still come to the mausoleum and pray with hopes of having a male heir to their family. Devotees seek blessings of the saint for getting their wishes fulfilled. Every year, an annual Urs Festival of Hazarat Salim Chishti is organized at Fatehpur Sikri from 20th to 29th Ramadan.