Agra is all about the Taj Mahal. Perhaps India’s most famous landmark, it draws people from around the world to witness the beauty and the detailed design of a tomb built for Shah Jahan’s favourite wife.
While many come to Agra just to see the Taj Mahal, it’s lesser known mini-me, the Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah is definitely worth seeing.
We stopped at the Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah on our way to see the Taj Mahal at sunset thanks to Khan, our guide for the day.
The Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah has almost all the beauty and craftsmanship of the Taj Mahal, but it’s far quieter.
We arrived by rickshaw late in the afternoon, sweaty and thirsty.
Entering the gates of the mini Taj afforded us a moment of shade before we entered the grounds. We were greeted by wide open space, grass and not too many people, such a rarity in India.
The tomb itself was incredible. It looked so majestic and beautiful in the golden light.
Every inch of the baby Taj is worthy of study. From the white marble and mosaic designs, to the lattice screens, the Itmad-ud-daulah tomb provided a feast for the eyes.
The Tomb of Itmad-ud-daulah was built for the empress Noor Jahan in memory of her late father Mirza Ghiyas Beg between 1622 to about 1628. Noor Jahan was married to the Mughal Emperor Jehangir and was also the aunt of Muntaz Mahal, whom the more famous Taj Mahal was built for later.
The Tomb Itmad-ud-daulah was the first Mughal tomb made from marble, and the first tomb to be built on the river Yamuna. Before it was built, tombs were made from sandstone with marble decoration, similar to the design of the entrance gates pictured earlier and below.
After walking around the four sides of the gorgeous structure, we left our shoes at the end of a haphazard row and entered the Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daluah.
Inside the Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah / the Mini Taj Mahal
It’s hard to tell whether the inside our outside of the Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daluah is the most impressive. The interior is filled with intricate designs and details, in a range of colours.
While some damage is visible, it doesn’t take from the workmanship and beauty of the interior design.
No matter where your eye falls, there is something new to admire. From delicate petals on carved flowers to the marble lattice screens that are designed in such a way to make the light cast beautiful displays on the interior walls and floor.
After spending a long time wandering around the baby Taj, we somewhat reluctantly headed outside for one more lap of the white marble building. We slowly left the tranquility of the grounds of the Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daluah through one of the sandstone entrance gates and were brought back to the microwave-like dusty heat and loud chaos that is India.
Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daluah
Moti Bagh, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282006, India
Entrance 110 Rp for non-Indians, 10 Rp for Indians