Akbar’s Tomb, Sikandra

This mausoleum is situated on the out skirts of the Agra City. It houses the mortal remains of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, who, during his lifetime itself had completed the tomb and laid out a beautiful garden. However, the topmost portion of mausoleum in marble was constructed by his son, Jahangir.

The shape of tomb is pyramidal and consists of five storeys. The cenotaph is at a level below the ground level, while the false cenotaph is at the top floor. The entire tomb is constructed of red sandstone but for the top storey which is constructed in white marble. The ground floor is surrounded by cloisters except at the centre on the southern side. These cloisters are divided by massive arches and piers divisible into many bays.

The square storeys have arcaded verandah, with arcades and cluster of kiosks on each side. Some of the kiosks in second storey have marble pyramidal roofs while the rest are crowned by cupolas. Each angle at the third storey has a small square room.

The top most storey is entirely made up of white marble. It has a square court, which is open to sky. The central courtyard is enclosed in all the sides by slender arches and piers and divided into bays, which has been roofed in the trabeate pattern. At the centre of the courtyard lies a square platform, over which a white marble cenotaph is laid out. This cenotaph is profusely carved with arabesque and floral patterns.

Location
It is located at Sikandra, in the suburbs of Agra, on the Mathura road (NH2), 8 km west-northwest of the city center. About 1 km away from the tomb, lies Mariam’s Tomb, the tomb of Mariam-uz-Zamani, wife of the Mughal Emperor Akbar and the mother of Jahangir.

Brief History

Sikandra is the mausoleum of Akbar. Akbar himself started construction of this beautiful monument,  built 1605-1613, set in 48 Ha (119 acres). This structure has a perfect blending of Hindu, Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, Jain themes. Sikandra is named after Sikandar lodi, the Delhi ruler who was in power from 1488 to 1517.
Sikandra Fort is located in the western periphery of the city at a distance of about 10 kms from the city center. Sikandra the last resting place of the Mughal emperor Akbar. Akbar was the greatest of the Mughal emperors and one of the most secular minded royalties of his time. He was the heir to a long tradition of oriental refinement, a great patron of the arts, literature, philosophy and science. A visit to Akbar’s monument opens before one, the completeness of Akbar’s personality as completely as the Taj Mahal does of Mumtaz Mahal’s . Akbar himself planned his own tomb and selected a suitable site for it. To construct a tomb in one’s lifetime was a Tartary custom, which the Mughals followed religiously. Akbar’s son Jahangir completed the construction of this pyramidal tomb in 1613.

Although there is only one entrance in use today there exist four red sandstone gates which lead to the mausoleum complex. The decoration on the gateways is strikingly bold, with large mosaic patterns set into it. The gateway’s four minarets rising from the corners are particularly striking. Built of red sandstone, the minarets are inlaid with white marble polygonal patterns; the pleasing Proportions & Profuse surface ornamentation makes the gateways very impressive. These gateways reflect a curious hybrid of different styles of architecture-Hindu, Muslim Christian and a patent mixture of Akbar’s typical style. A broad paved causeway lead to the tomb, which has five storeys and is in the shape of a truncated pyramid. The main tomb has a unique square design which is unparalleled by all other Mughal buildings.Geometrical designs achieved by the mosaics of glazed tiles or of colored stones, predominate the tomb. The mosaic work is generally in the tass eleated style, that is, square or rectangular pieces of colored stones were assembled and arranged together to form patterns. Emperor Jahangir inlaid semi-precious stones into a hollowed depression in the white marble slab later on. Akbar’s daughters Shakrul Nisha Begum and Aram Bano are also entombed on this floor.

Some of its design features are similar to the design of the Taj Mahal built later in Agra.
The most striking feature of the place is definitely the splendid gateway with its four minarets that have been intricately carved. The striking inlay of white marble on the red sandstone is also grand. Another notable feature here is the portico in front of the grave in the basement. It is covered with beautiful stucco paintings.

This is a must visit place for all those who want to experience an environment of ultimate serenity and peace. The outlaying garden which is laid out in the Char Bagh style is yet another attraction of the place. The tomb of Mariam, Jehangir’s mother, is also located close to the imposing red sandstone building.
Best Time to Visit

Winter is the best time to visit, when days are warm and sunny and ideal for sight seeing.
Ticket

Open from sunrise to sunset.
Entrance Fee:
Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) – Rs. 5 per head.
Rs. 10/- per head as Toll Tax (Agra Development Authority)

Others: US $ 2 or Indian Rs. 100/- per head (ASI)
Rs. 10/- per head as Toll Tax (Agra Development Authority) (Fridays free entry by ADA)
Rs. 500/- ticket of ADA is valid for the monuments of Agra Fort, Itimadi-ud-daula, Akbar’s Tomb, Sikandara and Fatehpur Sikri

(Free entry to children up to 15 years)
MONUMENTS Of agra define the changing patterns of the architectural style. They depict several unspoken stories of the past and of the exclusive Mughal era.

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