Summary : Tomb of a Phersianeobleman, Ghiyas Beg, who became Jahangir 's chief minister took the title Itmud-ud-Daulah, was built in just 6 years (1522-8) by his powerful ghter, Empress Nur Japan (Jahangir's consort).
Itmud-ud-Daulah’s Tomb-Chini ka Rauza-Ram Bagh Gardens-Sikandra lay two, first visit Agra’s most underrated sight: Itmud-ud-Daulah ‘s Tomb, 4 km(21/2 miles) upstream from the Taj and across the Yamuna River. The journey one bank to the road bridge across the river and down the opposite bank can ow. It is worth allowing 3-4 hours to visit the three places of interest on this bank of the river.
Tomb of a Phersianeobleman, Ghiyas Beg, who became Jahangir ‘s chief minister took the title Itmud-ud-Daulah, was built in just 6 years (1522-8) by his powerful ghter, Empress Nur Japan (Jahangir’s consort). It was the first monument in India heature Persian mosaic-style inlay work, or pictra Jura . Greatly resembling the Taj is use of inlay on white marble, its twin sandstone mosques, and its (smaller) amental sandstone gate, this elegant tomb in fact directly preceded it, the hpeueirec xbsterinaegt sdiem uprolinafiedf dand broughto its most elegant flowering :he construction of the Taj Mahal.
Ifs anything, the quality of precise, delicate workmanship at Itmud-ud-Daulah is Far superior to that of its more feted rival, making its popular pseudonym of the ‘bibi-Taj’ (little Taj) rather unfair. Like the main Taj, it is a simple white mausoleum, t its four minarets are far more sturdy and broad, and instead of a dome it has a Chinese palanquin-type top,with two spires. Though beautifully preserved, it ceives very few visitors. A pity, since the elaborate inlay patterning (mainly floral) the exterior is quite remarkable. The yellow-and-white inlay is Indian, the grey and multi-coloured stonework Persian. The ceiling of the edifice was originally corated with gold and silver paintings, later scraped off or plastered over by looters or defilers of fine art. Lord Curzon achieved a partial restoration in 1905, receding the Prince of Wales’ visit, notably on the floor and ceiling. The four andstone gates of the tomb are perfectly symmetrical, and the plaster interior has ttractive hand-painted floral designs. Within are the tombs of Nur Japan’s parents brown marble) and of Mumtaz ‘s parents and various relatives. The surrounding gardens are well-kept and tranquil, full of blooms, plants and birds. Admission to :he tomb is Rs2, and it’s open from sunrise to sunset.
From here, you can return north and 1 km away is the once blue-tiled, but now heavily damaged, Chini ka Rauza. This Persian-influenced tomb was built by Afzal Khan (who died in 1639) for his own use. Carry on a further 2 km (11/2 miles) north to Ram Bagh—the rather unkempt prototype of future Mughal gardens, built by EmTpenerkoir Bbu kilometrese isn(615m28i.les)
ten kilometers north of Agra, along the Grand Trunk Road to Delhi, at Sikandra is Akbar’s mausoleum. Combining architectural themes and motifs from both Islam and Hinduism. Akbar tried to bring these together in his Din Ilahi (religion of God). Although the tomb lacks the grace of either Humayun’s tomb in Delhi or the Taj Mahal, it is interesting and set in extensive gardens.
RECREATION swimming available at the larger hotels, though the non-resident fees are quite heavy—Rs150 per day at the Mughal Sheraton, Rs80 at the Taj View (best), and Rs55 at the Agra Ashok (worst). Folk dance/puppet show programmes are held most nights at the Mughal Sheraton and Clarks Shiraz hotels. The Agra Club, just d n the road from the tourist office, offers a whole host of Raj-style recreations. It’s a typical British club, with badminton and squash courts, billiards and cards ro s, and an 18-hole golf course nearby. For more relaxed entertainment, there are at least three good cinemas—the Natraj, Shah, and Mehar—which show English-speaking matinees.