Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri is located in Agra District in the State of Uttar Pradesh in northern India. It was constructed southeast of an artificial lake, on the slopping levels of the outcrops of the Vindhyan hill ranges. Known as the “city of victory”, it was made capital by the Mughal emperor Akbar (r. 1556-1605 CE) and constructed between 1571 and 1573, according to the UN body UNESCO. Image Credit: Pexels

Agra: In a significant breach of security, the US Ambassador to India, Eric Michael Garcetti, was accompanied by an unlicensed guide during his recent visit to Fatehpur Sikri in Agra.

The guide, identified as Shadab, accompanied the envoy, who was touring Agra with his family. A purported video, recorded by a licensed guide, captured a local resident escorting Garcetti and his family in the presence of police personnel.

Rajkumar Patel, the Superintending Archaeologist, confirmed receiving information about an unauthorized tourist guide escorting VVIPs around the monument. "It is the responsibility of the police to take action against such unauthorized guides as they are accountable for VVIP security here. This matter will be thoroughly investigated," Patel added.

According to regulations, only licensed guides are permitted to operate within the Taj complex and other ASI-protected monuments. Despite the tourism police station maintaining a list of authorized tour guides, many unauthorized guides, commonly referred to as 'lapka' in the local parlance, gather at the parking lots of the monument's East and West Gates in Agra and at Fatehpur Sikri.