City of Mausoleums
05.09.2009 - 06.09.2009 32 °C
A special hello to Olive & Sal.
Agra’s draw card is mausoleums and I went to three of them while staying there.
Firstly there is “Sikandra” or known locally as “Akbar’s Tomb”. You enter through “Butland Darwaza” meaning “Great Gate” which has four tapering minarets surmounted on top of it. The mausoleum itself is set in a huge park where lots of deer roam freely. The park is broken into quadrants by wide paths that intersect at the tomb.
The next was “Itimad-ud-daulah” pronounced (artma dollar) and nicknamed “Baby Taj”. This is the tomb of “Mirza Ghiyas Beg”, who was the father in law of Emperor Jahangir. It was constructed between the years 1622 – 1628 AD and it was here that “pietra dura” or inlay work into marble, was first tried, a precursor to what would be used on the Taj Mahal.
I saw these two sites with Vitaly, a Jewish Russian, who is a television producer in Los Angeles. A nice guy!
The next morning at 6 am it was off to visit the Taj Mahal. It is set on the banks of the Yamuna River and was built by Shah Jahan between the years 1631 – 1652 AD using a labour force of over 20,000. The Emperor’s favourite wife,”Mumtaz Mahal”, had died giving birth to their fourteenth child. Devastated by her death he embarked on building a monument to her that would be unsurpassed. The inlay for the “Taj” include onyx, lapis lazuli, turquoise, crystal, coral and mother of pearl from all around Asia and the Indian Ocean.
With the costs escalating and the Shah in a morose state, he was replaced by his son “Aurangzeb”, who made sure of his accession, by having his three remaining brothers killed. He interred his father in the nearby Agra Fort, from where he would have been able to gaze; I suspect wistfully, at the “Taj” Upon his death in 1666 he was carried across the river to be laid to rest, along side his wife.
PS: Have just arrived in Delhi
PPS: Hotel Kamal had a great view of the “Taj Mahal” from its roof top