Agra in India is known worldwide for its famous monument Taj Mahal, an immense mausoleum of white marble, built between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife. The Taj Mahal is India’s crowning achievement in Muslim architecture and one of the most revered works of art in human history.
In addition to the Taj Mahal, several lesser-known attractions in Agra should be on any traveler’s itinerary. The tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah is one of them.
The Taj Mahal’s precursor
Agra’s Itmad-ud-Tomb Daulah’s is one of the city’s most stunning architectural achievements. The Taj Mahal is said to have been inspired by this monument. The “Baby Taj Mahal” got its moniker from this very reason. Visitors to Agra for the Taj Mahal are also drawn to the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah.
Itimad-Ud-tomb, Daulah’s with its marble lattice screens and fine carvings, is considered a more delicate work of art than Taj Mahal, despite the similarities. If you’re in Agra, don’t miss this one-of-a-kind structure, which serves as the foundation for all of the city’s marble landmarks. Many more tombs would be built along the Yamuna River after this one.
A fascinating history often accompanies a magnificent structure. The Itmad-ud-Tomb Daulah’s is unquestionably in this category. Mirza Ghiyas-ud-din, also known as Ghiyas Beg, was a Persian nobleman (modern-day Iran). He paid a visit to the Mughal court and eventually joined the court. As Akbar’s lord treasurer, he quickly rose through the ranks. Mehr-un-Nissa, or the sun of womankind, was his beautiful daughter, and she became famous for her unique beauty.
She was stunning, but she also had a fiery passion for her work and an impressive command of the details. As a result, she was able to gain the respect of her peers at court and the attention of Akbar’s son Jehangir. He was smitten by her talent and beauty, and they got married. It wasn’t long before she was known as the “light of the palace” and “light of the world” in Jahangir’s court.
As a tribute to her father, Itimad-Ud-Daulah’s daughter planned to build him a marble mausoleum in 1622. The structure’s centrepiece is a jewel box in the middle of a lush garden. For the first time, an Indian tomb has been constructed entirely of white marble. The tomb is justly famous for its stunning stone inlay decoration depicting cypresses, wine glasses, and an incredible variety of geometric arabesques. The arched jali screens are beautiful. The four corners of the small tomb structure are crowned by four small minarets. Overall, the structure has the appearance of an enlarging valuable.
Shahjahan was the son of Jahangir’s brother, whose daughter was married to her. Mumtaz Mahal was Shahjahan’s tribute to her, and he built the Taj Mahal in her honour. Later, Nur Jahan built her husband’s tomb in Lahore (in a style similar to her husband’s).
Unlike the Taj Mahal, the Itmad-ud-Tomb Daulah’s is a heartfelt tribute from a daughter, an empress and the most remembered women in the world.
Because of their delicate marble jali works, the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah is more famous than any other structure in Agra, including the Taj Mahal.
The dome, reminiscent of Persian design, is the centrepiece of the Itimad-Ud-Daulah tomb. Pietra dura style decoration with semi-precious stones was used for the first time on this tomb. Each and every building surface is covered in floral, geometric, and tree-like patterns. The interior of the building is made more appealing by using inlaid stonework.
This marble tomb was built outside the walls of Agra. The mausoleum is accessible via four monumental entrances on a red sandstone platform. The main entrance is located on the eastern side, while a waterfront pavilion serves as the western gateway. There are red sandstone gates with geometric patterns on them. For symmetry, the southern and northern gateways were constructed as false gates.
The tomb’s interior is divided into nine separate chambers. There are two sarcophagi in the central chamber, the largest of the three.
The central chamber can only be accessed from the south. Beautiful floral patterns adorn the walls of this chamber. Persian influences can be seen in the structure’s cypress tree decorations. Both levels feature calligraphy-inspired carved panels. Gujarat is where the lattice work first appeared. Beauty and ability to alter natural light to enhance carvings made it a favourite of the Mughal dynasty.
Symbolically, the tomb’s garden was meant to evoke paradise. Water channels divide the garden into four sections, each square in shape. The tomb is positioned in such a way that it is perfectly symmetrical. The paradise’s seven seas are represented by the four corners. Four rectangular pools with fountains can be found in the backyard of this house-turned-resort.
This monument displays the Persian architectural influence on Islamic architectural style.
Itmad-ud-Tomb Daulah’s is an excellent addition to any trip to the Taj Mahal. Suppose you’ve ever wanted to learn more about this architectural period and the history of this incredible city. In that case, this is the tour for you.
Planned and unplanned travel options
On the eastern bank of the Yamuna River in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, is the tomb of Itimad-Ud-Daulah. The Taj Mahal and Agra Fort are just 25 and 14 minutes away, respectively. The historic structure is open from dawn to dusk. However, a visit at sunset is highly recommended for the best possible view of the monument as it catches the fading light of the setting sun.
Itimad-Ud-Daulah tomb can be reached by taxi, auto rickshaw, or bus from anywhere in Agra.