The Emperor Jahangir, son of Akbar and formerly known simply as Prince Salim, reigned from 1605 – 1627 in his father’s capital city of Agra.
Like his father, Jahangir was a patron of the arts, with himself being known as a great connoisseur of art. Unlike his son, Shah Jahan, however, he did not leave much by way of architecture, in the city of Agra, or at least, not much of it has survived.One of his most important legacies is the Mausoleum of his father, Akbar, in the suburbs of Sikandra, which had been initiated by his father in 1604, but completed by himself in 1613. This is the second of the four tombs of the great Mughal Emperors to be built – Jahangir would have his own mausoleum erected in Lahore. Just outside Akbar’s tomb at Sikandra sits Kanch Mahal – a harem quarter (later used as a hunting lodge) built by Jahangir himself.
One of the most architectural legacies of his reign, was not commissioned by him, but by his favourite wife, Nur Jahan (“Light of the World”), whom he married in 1611, after (so rumours say) conspiring to have her husband – she was previously married – killed off so he could have her.Nur Jahan, who had Persian origins, was responsible for perhaps the second most exquisite Mughal monument in Agra proper, after the Taj Mahal. This is the jewel-like Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daula – a mausoleum for Nur Jahan’s father, Mirza Ghiyas Beg, who had been given the title “Itimad-ud-Daula” or “Pillar of the State”.
The entire mausoleum is constructed in white marble inlaid with semi-precious stone, a technique heavily influenced by Safavid styles in the West, but came to be the epitome of Indo-Persian architectural style. Nicknamed the “Baby Taj”, this mausoleum represents a transition between early Mughal red sandstone architecture to the Taj Mahal, and is often cited as an inspiration for the latter.
Situated on the banks of the Jamuna River like its more famous relative, it is one monument in Agra not to be missed.
Akbar’s Tomb at Sikandra
Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daula
- Agra – The Architectural Heritage. An INTACH Roli Guide. By Lucy Peck, 2008. New Delhi: Lotus Collection – Roli Books.