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Home >> Monuments Around Taj Mahal

Monuments Around Taj Mahal

Agra Fort - An Architectural Treasure

Though Agra is more famous world over as the city of Taj, Agra Fort is another dimension to the city that attracts tourists in hordes.Built by Akbar in Red Sandstone when he was through with the consolidation of his power after accession to power in 1654, Agra Fort worked both as a military strategic point as well as the royal residence. Many of the palaces inside the fort were later added by next generations of Mughal Emperors like Jahangir and Shahjahan

Most of the buildings within the Agra Fort are a mixture of different architectural styles. The assimilation of these different styles has given the buildings within the fort a distinctive look. For instance, the Jahangiri Palace built by Akbar is a good blend of Islamic (Persian) and different local Hindu styles. Other buildings either have a mixed style or conform predominantly to the Islamic style.

Fatehpur Sikri - Imperial Ghost City

The imperial city of the Mughal dynasty between 1571 and 1584, Fatehpur Sikri was built by Mughal Emperor Akbar. The architectural grandeur of this deserted city cannot be described in words and one can only experience the aura of its magnificent edifices by seeing them. Fatehpur Sikri is the most popular day excursion from Agra, the city of Taj and capital of invincible Mughals for a long time.


Itmad-ud daulah, one of the most beautiful of Mughal tombs, stands across the river Yamuna from the Taj Mahal, nearly one and a half kilometers up-stream. Belonging to the age of Jahangir, it contains cenotaphs of Mirza Ghiyas and Asmat Begum, parents of the powerful Mughal Empress Nurjahan queen of Jahangir, an exceptional beauty and an astute administrator. Mirza Ghiyas had left Persian in sheer penury in search of better prospects at the Mughal court. He benefited much from the influence of his daughter who he had once abandoned in the desert. Akbar offered him a good rank and privileges.Jahangir made him his prime minister with the title Itmad-ud-daulah (Pillar of the State). Nurjahan's brother Asaf Khan later became prime minister of Shahjahan. This Persian family formed at the Mughal court giving the grand Mughals two most celebrated queens-Nurjahan and Mumtaz Mahal (Lady of the Taj), daughter of Asaf Khan.

Akbar's Tomb

Sikandra, Akbar's tomb in the former Lodi capital, is a grand affair, much under-rated in comparison to the Taj Mahal. Akbar started building his mausoleum in the true Timurid tradition, but the actual monument was completed by his son Jahangir.He pulled down most of the earlier structure and redesigned it according to his wishes and the result is more than impressive. There is a huge gateway, Buland Darwaza, modeled on the famed victory gate at Fatehpur Sikri, leads to the great garden enclosure. The decoration on the gateway is strikingly bold, with its large mosaic patterns.The walled garden enclosure is laid out in the char bagh style with the mausoleum at the center.

The four minarets on the splendid gateway, striking inlay work of white marble on red sandstone, and perfect calligraphic ornamentation are still grand. The unique pyramidal tomb structure is topped by an open terrace contained within large panels of jail screens. The portico in front of the grave in the basement is covered with the most lavish stucco paintings in gold, blue, brown and green colors, unsurpassed in splendor by any Mughal building. Close by stands the red sandstone sample baradari-the tomb of Mariam Zamani, Jahangir's mother.

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