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 reached the famous dargah at about 3:40 pm, were 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.
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 told PTI.
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 dignitaries.
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 km 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 said.
Sarkozy, while he was leaving, said he was blessed to have been welcomed by the direct descendant of Chisthi, Faridi said.
The French First Couple had on Saturday 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.