| || The Great Mogul Akbar, emperor of India, built the city of Fatehpur Sikri in 1573 to celebrate his victory over the Afghans. He installed his court magniﬁcently in red sandstone palaces built on a rocky plateau, 897 miles (38 km) from the imperial city of Agra. Fatehpur Sikri has often been described as a Versailles to Agra’s Paris. The similarity ends there, however, for Fatehpur Sikri was abandoned 15 years after it was completed. This was probably due to the exhaustion of ground water supplies, which were used to maintain parks and ﬁll pools—as testiﬁed by the depth of the wells now used by farmers. Water consumption in India is greater than the natural replenishment of ground water; consequently, the water table has fallen by between 3.25 and 9.83 feet (1 and 3 m) over 75 percent of the country. This deﬁcit is endangering Indians’ food supplies, and is a threat to lakes, rivers, and other wetland ecosystems.
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