Sun Temple, KonarkIndian MonumentsCultural IndiaCulture in India
Cultural India
Akbar the Great was one of the most successful Mughal Emperors. Read the biography cum life history of King Akbar.


Akbar the Great

Emperor Akbar, also known as Akbar the Great or Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar, was the third emperor of the Mughal Empire, after Babur and Humayun. He was the son of Nasiruddin Humayun and succeeded him as the emperor in the year 1556, when he was only 13 years old. One of the most successful emperors of the Mughal Empire, Akbar also made significant contribution in the field of art. Apart from commencing a large collection of literature, he also commissioned a number of splendid buildings during his reign. This biography of King Akbar will provide you more information on his life history:

Early Life
Akbar was born on 15th October 1542, to Emperor Humayun and his recently wedded wife, Hamida Banu Begum. The Rajput Fortress of Umarkot in Sind, where Humayun and Hamida were taking refuge, became the birthplace of this great emperor. In 1540, Humayun was forced into exile by Afghan leader Sher Shah and Akbar spent his childhood in Afghanistan, at his uncle Askari's place. His youth was spent in running and fighting, rather than learning to read and write. However, this could never impair his interest in art, architecture, music and literature.

Humayun recaptured Delhi in the year 1555, with the help of his Persian ally Shah Tahmasp. However, a few months after his victory, he met with an accident and died. On 14th February 1556, Akbar succeeded the throne, in the midst of a war waged by Sikandar Shah for the Mughal throne.

Early Rule
The first battle fought by Akbar was against Sikandar Shah Suri of Punjab. However, when Akbar was busy leading assault against Sikandar Shah, Hemu, a Hindu warrior, launched an attack on Delhi, which was then under the regency of Tardi Beg Khan. Tardi fled from the city and Hemu claimed the capital. On the advice of his general, Bairam, Akbar launched an attack on Delhi and reclaimed the city. On 5th November 1556, 'Akbar the Great' fought the Second Battle of Panipat against General Hemu.

Following soon after was the battle with Sikandar Shah at Mankot. In 1557, Adil Shah, who was the brother of Sikandar, died in a battle in Bengal. Along with fighting against the other rulers, Akbar also solidified his support by revoking the jizya tax on non-Muslims. At the same time, he started wooing the favor of the powerful Rajput caste, at times by marrying Rajput princesses. He expanded the Mughal Empire by including Malwa, Gujarat, Bengal, Kabul, Kashmir and Kandesh, amongst others. In no time, the rule of Akbar was firmly established over the entire Hindustan (India).

Final Years
Akbar was greatly troubled in the last few years of his life due to the misdemeanors of his sons. Especially his third son, Salim, was frequently in rebellion against his father. The last conquest of Akbar comprised of Asirgarh, a fort in the Deccan. Thereafter, he faced the rebellion of his son and breathed his last on 12th October 1605. His body was entombed in a magnificent mausoleum at Sikandra city, near Agra.

Navratnas
Akbar's court had Navaratnas (Nine Jewels), meaning a group of nine extraordinary people. They included:
  • Abul Fazel (Akbars's chief advisor and author of Akbarnama)
  • Faizi (Akbar's poet laureate)
  • Mian Tansen (a Hindu singer who converted to Islam)
  • Birbal (a noble known for his wittiness)
  • Raja Todar Mal (Akbar's finance minister)
  • Raja Man Singh (trusted general of Akbar)
  • Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana (a noble and a renowned poet)
  • Fakir Aziao-Din
  • Mullah Do Piaza