Ankh Michouli in Fatehpur Sikri was not used by the ladies of Akbar’s harem to play Ankh Michouli – the game of hide and seek. You may even be informed so by some of the guides at Fatehpur Sikri. That's a popular myth!
It was in fact the building which housed the treasury of Akbar’s empire. Akbar took particular interest and paid his personal attention to the management of the revenue and expense with a lot of care.
The structure of the Ankh Michouli has four rooms that form a semi open space. There are two staircases that go to the flat roof. The walls are hollow and have recesses with openings to hold several items of the treasury at the base of the walls. In Akbar’s times rare artifacts and manuscripts were also stored in the Ankh Michouli along with his family heirlooms, as he was fond of collecting these rare pieces.
The structure of the Ankh michouli harks back to the times of the Mughal era and the architecture typical of Akbar’s many buildings. The structure of the Ankh michouli is comparatively plain unlike other buildings of that time which were usually embellished with rich carvings.
One of the only ornamental figures in this building is a head of monsters with the form or a serpent which forms the bottom of the struts. This ornamental figure rests on corbels which project from the walls and is supposed to be the traditional guard of the Imperial treasury.
Ankh michouli is located in the main palace complex right next to the Divan-i-Khas and the Astrologer's Seat.
During the days of Akbar, the most prominent of the Mughal emperors, Fatehpur Sikri was the capital of Mughal India. However after his death the city had been abandoned. Fatehpur Sikri carries that eerie look even today!