||During Akbar's reign, the Mughal empire tripled in size and wealth. Akbar had created a powerful army and instituted effective political and social reforms. By abolishing the sectarian tax on Hindus and appointing them to high civil and military posts, he was the first Muslim ruler to win the trust and loyalty of his Hindu subjects. He had Hindu literature translated, participated in Hindu festivals,
and realizing that a stable empire depended on strong alliances with the Rajputs, fierce Hindu warriors, he married a Rajput princess.
Akbar was truly an enlightened ruler, a philosopher-king who had a genuine interest in all creeds and doctrines at a time when religious persecution was prevalent throughout Europe and Asia. Understanding that cooperation among all his subjects Muslims, Hindus, Persians, Central Asians and indigenous Indians would be in his best interest, he even tried to establish a new religion that encouraged universal tolerance.
Akbar was strong-willed, fearless and often cruel, but he was also just and compassionate and had an inquiring mind. He invited holy men, poets, architects and artisans to his court from all over the Islamic world for study and discussion,and he created an astounding library of over 24,000 volumes written in Hindi, Persian, Greek, Latin, Arabic and Kashmiri, staffed by scholars, translators, artists, calligraphers, scribes, bookbinders and readers.
Manifesting the ancestral love of the arts on a monumental scale, Akbar filled the landscape with walled cities of royal pleasure and comfort, designed to dazzle the native rajas and advertise the glory of his reign. In the lovely capital city of Agra, Akbar built his remarkable Red Fort beside the Jamuna River. Part fortress, part palace, its construction proceeded at a hectic pace, and in eight years of frenzied building,
more than five hundred graceful pavilions and sumptuous residences adorned with exquisite carvings, lattice and pierced-stone screens,wall paintings, canopied roofs, carved brackets and pilasters were created within the massive red sandstone walls to accommodate his considerable court. And Agra became the repository for all the wealth and talent of one of the most extensive empires in the medieval world.