Journey through India – Day 19 Akbar’s Tomb at Sikandra
After our morning visit to the Taj Mahal (see separate post) V drove through clagged Agra traffic to Sikandra to visit the mausoleum tomb of Akbar the Great. There were very few people there compared to the Taj but nonetheless it was an interesting place and well worth the drive. For most tourists in Agra, Taj Mahal is the only reason they visit the city.
Akbar the Great is, no doubt, considered the greatest of all Mughal emperors that ruled India. He is the son of Humayun whose tomb is one of the top tourist destinations in New Delhi (see separate post). Akbar founded a vast empire that stretched from Afghanistan to India. During his reign, he was responsible for building Fatehpur Sikri (see separate post) and Agra Fort (see separate post), two more great destinations not to be missed when you’re in Agra.
Akbar planned the tomb and selected a suitable site for it. After his death, Akbar’s son Jahangir completed the construction in 1605–1613. It was Akbar’s grandson, Shah Jahan who built the Taj Mahal.
This architectural masterpiece with a Persian influence, is situated in 119 acres of grounds in Sikandra, a suburb of Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. The gardens that surround the buildings are full of animals, especially the blackbuck gazelles.
As you approach the entry gate, you could be led to believe that this was the mausoleum. Such a spectacular building, but no, you have to go through this gate and then you are looking straight at the building (mausoleum) housing Akbar’s tomb. Another wow moment. So much to take in here.
On each sandstone facade there is a rectangular structure which projects forward.
The panels with a variety of geometric designs and floral patterns, tell a lot about the former splendor of this tomb. So much going on here.
Walk around the corridors and line up those arches.
Look up to the roof to see the many domes and other structures.
The mausoleum contains three tombstones: one in the underground mortuary chamber, which is the grave itself; the cenotaph above it; and another cenotaph on the terrace. This tomb does not have a dome and I am not sure if it was accessible to the public.
Loved how the sun was dancing on the floor, and the intricate detail on the tomb itself.
This building also has the most exquisite ceilings and archways. Some are in better condition than others but the colours were breathtaking. Zoom in on these finer details.
Outside there was more design and colour in the elements that make up the structures. Zoom in on these details.
Much of ancient Indian architecture has sandstone and or marble screens. When photographed from inside looking out, they make for stunning pictures.
We came across this side of the mausoleum with its intricate details, but as it was more exposed to the elements, the features were a little “worn”. However, I managed to find so much beauty in the patterns and artwork. There was a number of huge ant nests here as well.
We visited other buildings in the complex but did not go inside.
This one was the Kanch Mahal (once a harem retreat).
Having spent around two hours here, I would totally recommend that you take the time out to visit if and when you go to Agra to see the great Taj Mahal.