Mahal-i Ilahi
Fatehpur Sikri, India
This building is also known as "Birbal's Palace," and may have once formed part of the haram sara, with its own covered and screened passage connecting it to the principal haram sara viaduct. It is sited at the northern end of the zenana area at the very edge of the complex, north and west of the principal palace of the haram sara.

There are differing opinions as to the building's functions: some hold that it was a residence, whose most probable occupants were Akbar's two senior queens, Ruqqaya Sultan Begam and Salima Sultan Begam. The building does not have the private court typical of zenana quarters, or toilet facilities, which suggest that its function may not have been residential. An inscription dated to 1572 refers to it as the "royal mansion of initiation," pointing to a usage more religious than residential.


Nath, R. "Fatehpur Sikri." In Grove Art Online, Oxford Art Online, (accessed October 8, 2010).

Rizvi, Saiyid A. A. and Vincent J. A. Flynn. Fatehpur Sikri, 117. Bombay: D. B. Taraporevala Sons, 1975.

Tillotson, G.H.R. Mughal India,117. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1990.
Fatehpur Sikri, India
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Associated Names
Part of Site
1571/979 AH
Style Periods
Variant Names
Birbal's Residence
Building Usages