143 Facts About Akbar


Strong personality and a successful general, Akbar gradually enlarged the Mughal Empire to include much of the Indian subcontinent.

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Eschewing tribal bonds and Islamic state identity, Akbar strove to unite far-flung lands of his realm through loyalty, expressed through an Indo-Persian culture, to himself as an emperor.

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Akbar was fond of literature, and created a library of over 24, 000 volumes written in Sanskrit, Urdu, Persian, Greek, Latin, Arabic and Kashmiri, staffed by many scholars, translators, artists, calligraphers, scribes, bookbinders and readers.

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Akbar did much of the cataloging himself through three main groupings.

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Akbar established the library of Fatehpur Sikri exclusively for women, and he decreed that schools for the education of both Muslims and Hindus should be established throughout the realm.

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Disillusioned with orthodox Islam and perhaps hoping to bring about religious unity within his empire, Akbar promulgated Din-i-Ilahi, a syncretic creed derived mainly from Islam and Hinduism as well as some parts of Zoroastrianism and Christianity.

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Akbar created a powerful military system and instituted effective political and social reforms.

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Akbar had Sanskrit literature translated, participated in native festivals, realising that a stable empire depended on the co-operation and good-will of his subjects.

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Akbar was succeeded as emperor by his son, Prince Salim, later known as Jahangir.

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Akbar spent his youth learning to hunt, run, and fight, making him a daring, powerful and brave warrior, but he never learned to read or write.

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One of Hindal's jagir was given to his nephew, Akbar, who was appointed as its viceroy and was given the command of his uncle's army.

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In Kalanaur, Punjab, the 14-year-old Akbar was enthroned by Bairam Khan on a newly constructed platform, which still stands.

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Akbar had a record of unbeaten military campaigns that consolidated Mughal rule in the Indian subcontinent.

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Akbar took an interest in matchlocks and effectively employed them during various conflicts.

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Akbar sought the help of Ottomans, and increasingly of Europeans, especially Portuguese and Italians, in procuring firearms and artillery.

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Mughal firearms in the time of Akbar came to be far superior to anything that could be deployed by regional rulers, tributaries, or by zamindars.

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Sikandar Shah Suri, however, presented no major concern for Akbar, and avoided giving battle as the Mughal army approached.

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Akbar made a triumphant entry into Delhi, where he stayed for a month.

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In 1558, Akbar took possession of Ajmer, the aperture to Rajputana, after the defeat and flight of its Muslim ruler.

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Akbar had firmly declared his intentions that the Mughals were in India to stay.

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However, Akbar methodically re-introduced a historical legacy of the Timurid Renaissance that his ancestors had left.

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Akbar was defeated by the Mughal army in the Punjab and forced to submit.

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Akbar forgave him, however, and gave him the option of either continuing in his court or resuming his pilgrimage; Bairam chose the latter.

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Akbar personally rode to Malwa to confront Adham Khan and relieve him of command.

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Baz Bahadur temporarily regained control of Malwa until, in the next year, Akbar sent another Mughal army to invade and annex the kingdom.

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Akbar now sought to eliminate the threat of over-mighty subjects.

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Akbar created specialised ministerial posts relating to imperial governance; no member of the Mughal nobility was to have unquestioned pre-eminence.

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Akbar pardoned the rebellious leaders, hoping to conciliate them, but they rebelled again, so Akbar had to quell their uprising a second time.

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Akbar did not personally lead the campaign because he was preoccupied with the Uzbek rebellion, leaving the expedition in the hands of Asaf Khan, the Mughal governor of Kara.

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Akbar went first to the Uzbeks, then returned to Gondwana where he was pursued by Mughal forces.

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The attempt was made when Akbar was returning from a visit to the dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin near Delhi, by an assassin shooting an arrow.

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Now, Akbar was determined to drive into the heartlands of the Rajput kings that had rarely previously submitted to the Muslim rulers of the Delhi Sultanate.

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Akbar had the surviving defenders and 30, 000 non-combatants massacred and their heads displayed upon towers erected throughout the region, in order to demonstrate his authority.

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Akbar remained in Chittorgarh for three days, then returned to Agra, where to commemorate the victory, he set up, at the gates of his fort, statues of Jaimal and Patta mounted on elephants.

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Akbar was now the master of almost the whole of Rajputana.

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Akbar would celebrate his conquest of Rajputana by laying the foundation of a new capital, 23 miles W S W of Agra in 1569.

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Akbar first moved against Gujarat, which lay in the crook of the Mughal provinces of Rajputana and Malwa.

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Akbar intended to link the maritime state with the massive resources of the Indo-Gangetic plains.

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Akbar crossed the Rajputana and reached Ahmedabad in eleven days – a journey that normally took six weeks.

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Akbar had now defeated most of the Afghan remnants in India.

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Akbar returned to Fatehpur Sikri and left his generals to finish the campaign.

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Akbar was defeated by the Mughal general, Khan Jahan Quli, and had to flee into exile.

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Akbar's severed head was sent to Akbar, while his limbs were gibbeted at Tandah, the Mughal capital in Bengal.

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Akbar did not leave Fatehpur Sikri on a military campaign until 1581, when Punjab was again invaded by his brother, Mirza Muhammad Hakim.

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Akbar expelled his brother to Kabul and this time pressed on, determined to end the threat from Muhammad Hakim once and for all.

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Akbar stayed there for three weeks, in the absence of his brother, who had fled into the mountains.

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Akbar left Kabul in the hands of his sister, Bakht-un-Nissa Begum, and returned to India.

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Akbar pardoned his brother, who took up de facto charge of the Mughal administration in Kabul; Bakht-un-Nissa continued to be the official governor.

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For thirteen years, beginning in 1585, Akbar remained in the north, shifting his capital to Lahore in the Punjab while dealing with challenges from beyond the Khyber Pass.

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In 1586, Akbar negotiated a pact with Abdullah Khan in which the Mughals agreed to remain neutral during the Uzbek invasion of Safavid held Khorasan.

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Thus freed, Akbar began a series of campaigns to pacify the Yusufzais and other rebels.

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Akbar ordered Zain Khan to lead an expedition against the Afghan tribes.

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Akbar immediately fielded new armies to reinvade the Yusufzai lands under the command of Raja Todar Mal.

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Akbar's response demonstrated his ability to clamp firm military control over the Afghan tribes.

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Nevertheless, Akbar's stay in the northern frontiers was highly fruitful.

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Akbar sent an army to conquer Kashmir in the upper Indus basin when, in 1585, Ali Shah, the reigning king of the Shia Chak dynasty, refused to send his son as a hostage to the Mughal court.

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Akbar responded by sending a Mughal army to besiege Sehwan, the river capital of the region.

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In preparations to take Kandahar from the Safavids, Akbar ordered the Mughal forces to conquer the rest of the Afghan held parts of Baluchistan in 1595.

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In 1558, while Akbar was consolidating his rule over northern India, the Safavid emperor, Tahmasp I, had seized Kandahar and expelled its Mughal governor.

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In 1593, Akbar received the exiled Safavid prince, Rostam Mirza, after he had quarrelled with his family.

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In 1593, Akbar began military operations against the Deccan Sultans who had not submitted to his authority.

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Akbar besieged Ahmednagar Fort in 1595, forcing Chand Bibi to cede Berar.

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Akbar then established the Subahs of Ahmadnagar, Berar and Khandesh under Prince Daniyal.

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Akbar touched the western sea in Sind and at Surat and was well astride central India.

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Akbar set about reforming the administration of his empire's land revenue by adopting a system that had been used by Sher Shah Suri.

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Akbar changed to a decentralised system of annual assessment, but this resulted in corruption among local officials and was abandoned in 1580, to be replaced by a system called the.

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Akbar organised his army as well as the nobility by means of a system called the mansabdari.

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Akbar employed strict measures to ensure that the quality of the armed forces was maintained at a high level; horses were regularly inspected and only Arabian horses were normally employed.

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Akbar was a follower of Salim Chishti, a holy man who lived in the region of Sikri near Agra.

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Or, as some historians believe, Akbar had to attend to the northwest areas of his empire and therefore moved his capital northwest.

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In 1599, Akbar shifted his capital back to Agra from where he reigned until his death.

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Indeed, Akbar would make concerted efforts to improve roads to facilitate the use of wheeled vehicles through the Khyber Pass, the most popular route frequented by traders and travelers journeying from Kabul into Mughal India.

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Akbar strategically occupied the northwestern cities of Multan and Lahore in the Punjab and constructed great forts, such as the one at Attock near the crossing of the Grand Trunk Road and the Indus river, as well as a network of smaller forts called thanas throughout the frontier to secure the overland trade with Persia and Central Asia.

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Akbar was a great innovator as far as coinage is concerned.

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Akbar introduced coins with decorative floral motifs, dotted borders, quatrefoil and other types.

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Akbar's coins were both round and square in shape with a unique 'mehrab' shape coin highlighting numismatic calligraphy at its best.

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Coins, left, represent examples of these innovative concepts introduced by Akbar that set the precedent for Mughal coins which was refined and perfected by his son, Jahangir, and later by his grandson, Shah Jahan.

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The Portuguese Governor, upon the request of Akbar, sent him an ambassador to establish friendly relations.

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Akbar accepted the offer of diplomacy, but the Portuguese continually asserted their authority and power in the Indian Ocean; Akbar was highly concerned when he had to request a permit from the Portuguese before any ships from the Mughal Empire were to depart for the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina.

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Akbar successfully defeated the rebels, but he had grown more cautious about his guests and his proclamations, which he later checked with his advisers carefully.

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In 1576 Akbar sent a very large contingent of pilgrims led by Khwaja Sultan Naqshbandi, Yahya Saleh, with 600, 000 gold and silver coins and 12, 000 Kaftans of honour and large consignments of rice.

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Mughal-Ottoman trade flourished during this period – in fact merchants loyal to Akbar are known to have reached Aleppo after journeying upriver through the port of Basra.

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Consequently, the city, which was being administered by Bairam Khan at the time of Akbar's accession, was invaded and captured by the Persian ruler Husain Mirza, a cousin of Tahmasp I, in 1558.

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Shortly afterwards, Akbar's army completed its annexation of Kabul, and in order to further secure the north-western boundaries of his empire, it proceeded to Qandahar.

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Vincent Arthur Smith observes that the merchant Mildenhall was employed in 1600 while the establishment of the company was under adjustment to bear a letter from Queen Elizabeth to Akbar requesting liberty to trade in his dominions on terms as good as those enjoyed by the Portuguese.

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Akbar sponsored religious debates between different Muslim groups, Parsis, Hindus (Shaivite and Vaishnava), Sikhs, Jains, Jews, Jesuits and Materialists, but was partial to Sufism, he proclaimed that 'the wisdom of Vedanta is the wisdom of Sufism'.

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Akbar suppressed Mahdavism in 1573 during his campaign in Gujarat, in the course of which the Mahdavi leader Bandagi Miyan Sheik Mustafa was arrested and brought in chains to the court for debate and released after eighteen months.

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However, as Akbar increasingly came under the influence of pantheistic Sufi mysticism from the early 1570s, it caused a great shift in his outlook and culminated in his shift from orthodox Islam as traditionally professed, in favour of a new concept of Islam transcending the limits of religion.

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Emperor of Islam, Emir of the Faithful, Shadow of God on earth, Abul Fath Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar Badshah Ghazi, is a most just, most wise, and a most God-fearing ruler.

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Akbar suppressed the rebellion and handed out severe punishments to the Qazis.

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The mahzar asserted that Akbar was the Khalifa of the age, a higher rank than that of a Mujtahid: in case of a difference of opinion among the Mujtahids, Akbar could select any one opinion and could issue decrees that did not go against the nass.

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Whenever Akbar would attend congregations at a mosque the following proclamation was made:.

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Upset by this, Akbar opened the Ibadat Khana to people of all religions as well as atheists, resulting in the scope of the discussions broadening and extending even into areas such as the validity of the Quran and the nature of God.

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Some modern scholars claim that Akbar did not initiate a new religion but instead introduced what Dr Oscar R Gomez calls the transtheistic outlook from tantric Tibetan Buddhism, and that he did not use the word Din-i-Ilahi.

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Akbar decreed that Hindus who had been forced to convert to Islam could reconvert to Hinduism without facing the death penalty.

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Akbar celebrated Diwali, allowed Brahman priests to tie jewelled strings round his wrists by way of blessing, and, following his lead, many of the nobles took to wearing rakhi.

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Akbar renounced beef and forbade the sale of all meats on certain days.

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Akbar referred to the Ganges water as the "water of immortality.

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Akbar regularly held discussions with Jain scholars and was greatly impacted by their teachings.

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Akbar was impressed by the scholastic qualities and character of the Acharya.

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Akbar held several inter-faith dialogues among philosophers of different religions.

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Akbar issued many imperial orders that were favourable for Jain interests, such as banning animal slaughter.

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In 1584, 1592 and 1598, Akbar had declared "Amari Ghosana", which prohibited animal slaughter during Paryushan and Mahavira Janma Kalyanak.

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Akbar removed the Jazia tax from Jain pilgrim places like Palitana.

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Akbar again invited Hiravijaya Suri's successor Vijayasena Suri in his court who visited him between 1593 and 1595.

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Akbar was a warrior, emperor, general, animal trainer, and theologian.

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Akbar was said to have been a wise emperor and a sound judge of character.

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Akbar has broad shoulders, somewhat bandy legs well-suited for horsemanship, and a light brown complexion.

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Akbar's forehead is broad and open, his eyes so bright and flashing that they seem like a sea shimmering in the sunlight.

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Akbar rode alone in advance of his escort and was confronted by a tigress who, along with her cubs, came out from the shrubbery across his path.

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Akbar's approaching attendants found the emperor standing quietly by the side of the dead animal.

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Akbar was notable for his command in battle, and, "like Alexander of Macedon, was always ready to risk his life, regardless of political consequences".

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Akbar often plunged on his horse into the flooded river during the rainy seasons and safely crossed it.

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Akbar rarely indulged in cruelty and is said to have been affectionate towards his relatives.

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Akbar pardoned his brother Hakim, who was a repented rebel.

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Akbar is said to have been extremely moderate in his diet.

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Akbar once visited Vrindavan, regarded as the birthplace of Krishna, in the year 1570, and gave permission for four temples to be built by the Gaudiya Vaishnavas, which were Madana-mohana, Govindaji, Gopinatha and Jugal Kisore.

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Such hagiographical accounts of Akbar traversed a wide range of denominational and sectarian spaces, including several accounts by Parsis, Jains and Jesuit missionaries, apart from contemporary accounts by Brahminical and Muslim orthodoxy.

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Work was commissioned by Akbar, and written by Abul Fazl, one of the Nine Jewels of Akbar's royal court.

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Akbar opposed the match until Nasir-al-Mulk made him understand that opposition in such matters was unacceptable.

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Akbar's was a poetess and was regarded as a remarkable woman being a poetess, lover of books and actively played role in the politics of the Mughal court during Akbar's and Jahangir's reigns.

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Akbar's was the daughter of the ruler of Amer, Raja Bharmal and was by birth of Rajput caste.

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Akbar's was his fourth wife and became one of his chief consorts.

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Akbar's gradually became his most influential wife and subsequently is the only wife buried close to him.

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Akbar's was bestowed with the name 'Wali Nimat Begum' by Akbar shortly after her marriage.

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Akbar's was a beautiful woman said to possess uncommon beauty.

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Akbar insisted that the Raja should submit to him personally, it was suggested that his daughter should be married to him as a sign of complete submission.

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Akbar's became his first wife to honour the royal mansion with an heir.

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Akbar's was the foster mother of Akbar's favourite son, Daniyal Mirza.

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Akbar's commanded a high rank in the imperial harem and held many powers in the harem.

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Akbar's was a smart woman who established international trade in the Mughal Empire and is regarded as the most adventurous and fearsome businesswoman of her time by contemporaries.

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Akbar was enamored with her beauty, and ordered Abdul Wasi to divorce her.

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Akbar married the daughter of Jagmal Rathore, son of Rao Viramde of Merta in 1562.

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Akbar married another Rajput princess in 1570, Raj Kunwari, daughter of Kanha, the brother of Rai Kalyan Mal, the ruler of Bikanir.

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Kalyan made a homage to Akbar and requested that his brother's daughter be married to him.

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Akbar married Bhanmati, daughter of Bhim Raj, another brother of Rai Kalyan Mal.

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Akbar married Nathi Bai, daughter of Rawal Har Rai, the ruler of Jaisalmer in 1570.

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Akbar had regard for his loyalty and granted his request.

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At some point, Akbar took into his harem Rukmavati, a daughter of Rao Maldev of Marwar by his mistress, Tipu Gudi.

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Akbar was buried at his mausoleum in Sikandra, Agra which lies a kilometer next to the tomb of Mariam-uz-Zamani, his favourite and chief consort.

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Akbar left a rich legacy both for the Mughal Empire as well as the Indian subcontinent in general.

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Akbar firmly entrenched the authority of the Mughal Empire in India and beyond, after it had been threatened by the Afghans during his father's reign, establishing its military and diplomatic superiority.

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Akbar introduced several far-sighted social reforms, including prohibiting sati, legalizing widow remarriage, and raising the age of marriage.

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