Akbar was a pious and tolerant ruler. He wanted his city to reflect India's diverse heritage. Islamic-styled vaults and domes roofed posts and beams carved in Hindu and Jain designs. There were two main approaches. From the west, past the artificial lake, the elaborate Elephant Gate gave entry to the city. The Agra gate faced the east. Other entrances, such as the gates of Delhi, Lal, Birbal, Chandanpal, Chor, Ajmere and Tehra pierced the five-mile long wall surrounding Fatehpur Sikri, bounded by hills and the lake as barriers. The city was not fortified, like Agra and could not offer Akbar a stable base against incursions from the northwest. In 1585, the emperor moved his capital to Lahore. He returned once to Fatehpur Sikri in 1601.
In 1619, Emperor Jahangir sought refuge at the site for three months, after a devastating plague took the lives of most of Agra's residents. Later, Emperor Muhammad Shah also visited, but the city never regained the grandeur it held during Akbar's occupation.