Itmad Ud Daula

Agra, Uttar Pradesh

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Tomb of Itmad Ud Daula is a Mughal mausoleum in the city of Agra in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Often described as a "jewel box", sometimes called the "Baby Taj", the tomb of I'tim?d-ud-Daulah is often regarded as a draft of the Taj Mahal.

Along with the main building, the structure consists of numerous outbuildings and gardens. The tomb, built between 1622 and 1628 represents a transition between the first phase of monumental Mughal architecture – primarily built from red sandstone with marble decorations, as in Humayun's Tomb in Delhi and Akbar's tomb in Sikandra – to its second phase, based on white marble and pietra durainlay, most elegantly realized in the Taj Mahal.

The mausoleum was commissioned by Nur Jahan, the wife of Jahangir, for her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg, originally a Persian Amir in exile, who had been given the title of I'timad-ud-Daulah (pillar of the state). Mirza Ghiyas Beg was also the grandfather of Mumtaz Mahal (originally named Arjumand Bano, daughter of Asaf Khan), the wife of the emperor Shah Jahan, responsible for the construction of the Taj Mahal. Nur Jehan was also responsible for the construction of the Tomb of Jehangir in Lahore.

 

Tomb

Located on the eastern bank of the Yamuna River, the mausoleum is set in a large cruciform garden criss-crossed by water courses and walkways. The mausoleum itself covers about twenty-three meters square, and is built on a base about fifty meters square and about one meter high. On each corner are hexagonal towers, about thirteen meters tall.

The walls are made up from white marble from Rajasthan encrusted with semi-precious stone decorations – cornelian, jasper, lapis lazuli, onyx, and topaz formed into images of cypress trees and wine bottles, or more elaborate decorations like cut fruit or vases containing bouquets. Light penetrates to the interior through delicate jali screens of intricately carved white marble. The interior decoration is considered by many to have inspired that of the Taj Mahal, which was built by her stepson, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.

Many of Nur Jahan's relatives are interred in the mausoleum. The only asymmetrical element of the entire complex is that the cenotaphs of her father and mother have been set side-by-side, a formation replicated in the Taj Mahal.

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