At Fatehpur Sikri dargah, Sarkozys pray for son

After a relaxed morning and lunch at the luxury Amar Vilas hotel, Sarkozy and Bruni went to view Fatehpur Sikri.

Fatehpur Sikri: They may be the
French First Couple, but at the famous Fatehpur Sikri dargah
of saint Salim Chisthi they walked barefoot with their heads
covered and prayed for a son just like Mughal Emperor Akbar
did centuries ago.

President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni,
who got married in February 2008, reached the famous dargah at
about 3:40 pm and was welcomed by Peer Zada Rais Mian Chisthi,
the Sajjadanashin of the dargah, along with his two sons.

Both Sarkozy and Bruni then walked barefoot to the
dargah, where Rais Mian helped them offer the specially made
5X4 feet long `chadar` of roses.

The dargah became famous after its peer Sheikh Salim
Chisthi had blessed Akbar with a child.

In the morning, expecting the Sarkozys Akbar, who was childless, had prayed at several dargas
and temples before coming to Sikri where Chisthi, sitting on a
rock, blessed him and said he will have three children, said
Arshad Faridi, son of Rais Mian.

Akbar, then, named his eldest son Salim after the
saint. Salim later became Emperor Jehangir.

"I told them this dargah grants wishes to jobless, non
married and even childless. He asked me to pray for him and
wish him success. While they were tying the thread, Carla said
she wants a son and I prayed for them," Rais Mian said.

He said even as the couple were leaving, Bruni again
talked of her wish of having a son.

The couple do not have children. But, Sarkozy has
three sons and Carla one through their previous marriages.

Sarkozy and Carla even tied the thread, known as
`Kalava`, the symbol of their wish, after asking Rais Mian to
blow his breath on it.

Before entering the dargah, the French first couple
covered their heads. The dargah authorities had already made
arrangements of skull caps and long robes for the visiting

Sarkozy borrowed the skull cap of one of the officials
here as none of those which were kept fit him properly. Bruni
had covered her head with a pink stole.

A short `qawali` programme was also organised inside
the premises of the magnificent fort, as per the wishes of the
first couple.

The couple, who spent about 20 minutes at the dargah
later left for Agra, about 40 kms from here.

Rais Mian said that it was the first time that a head
of the state had informed much before the visit that he
personally wished to offer the chadar at the dargah.

"They followed all the customs and seemed very happy.

It was an informal visit and they were very pleasant," he

Sarkozy, while he was leaving, said he was blessed to
have been welcomed by the direct descendant of Chisthi, Faridi

The French First Couple had yesterday visited the Taj
Mahal, the monument of love.

Hundreds come here every day and pray for their wishes
to be fulfilled. The most common is wish for a child.