Agra and Itimad-ud-Daulah's Tomb

At this point, it might be helpful to put the various mughal constructions we saw in context by means of a brief chronology. In 1526, Babur became the first mughal emperor. His son and succesor was Humayun, whose tomb was built in Delhi by his senior widow,  Haji Begum. Humayun's son and successor, Akbar, moved his court to Agra, where he built the Red Fort (1565-1573). But later, he built an entirely new capital some 30km to the west of Agra at Fatehpur Sikri. This capital was abandoned by Akbar's son and heir Jahangir. Jahangir was succeeded by his son, Shahjahan, who built Shahjahanabad (Old Delhi), including the Jama Masjid (1656) and the Red Fort, as well as his masterpiece, the Taj Mahal, finished in 1653 after 22 years of construction. Most if not all of the successions in this line were bloody and fratricidal, but Shahjahan's son Aurangzeb was seemingly the worst, capturing his older brother and sentencing him to being fed an opiate mixture until he went mad and died. Aurangzeb is now known widely in India more for the Hindu temples he tore down than for anything he built himself. He did build the Alamgir Mosque in Varanasi -- on the site of a Hindu temple he destroyed!

Our first day in Agra, we visited the Red Fort in the morning and the Taj Mahal in the evening. In between, we crossed the infamous old bridge over the Yamuna and visited Itimad-ud-Daulah's Tomb.

Itimad-ud-Daulah was the treasurer of the Emporer Jahangir and the father of Jahangir's favorite wife Nur Jahan. Nur Jahan had the tomb built. It can be seen as a fore-runner of the Taj Mahal, built by Jahangir's son Shahjahan. To get there, one must cross over the Yamuna. There are only two bridges and the more modern of the two was under construction.  The tomb, set in a pleasant garden roamed by monkies, is quite beautiful and very pleasant to visit -- once you get across that, uh, annoying bridge.

Itimad-ud-Daulah's Tomb

Itimad-ud-Daulah's Tomb Itimad-ud-Daulah's Tomb and garden

Many of the decorative techniques used in the tomb were employed again later at the Taj Mahal.

Itimad-ud-Daulah's Tomb Itimad-ud-Daulah's Tomb
Pietra dura (inlaid marble) on the walls
Itimad-ud-Daulah's Tomb Itimad-ud-Daulah's Tomb
Painted floral patterns inside the tomb

Oh, yeah, that bridge.

The bridge as seen from the tomb The tomb as seen from the bridge 
Bridge over the Yamuna Bridge over the Yamuna
Bullocks on the bridge These car and rickshaws are parked in
a traffic jam

The next day we visited Fatepuhr Sikri, about 25 km to the west of Agra.

Back to India 2007