Itimad-ud-Daula Tomb, History of Itimad-ud-Daula, Ticket (Entrance Fee) of Itimad-ud-Daula, Architecture of Itimad-ud-Daula, Best Time to Visit, How to Reach Itimad-ud-Daula, Interesting Facts About the Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah.
About Itimad-ud-Daula Tomb
The Itimad-ud-Daula Tomb is situated on the left bank of river Jamuna next to Chini-ka-Rauza. Itimad-ud-Daula was the title given to Mirza Ghiyath Beg, father of Nur Jahan. He held the post of Lord of treasure of the empire and later rose to the dignity of wazir under Jahangir. Nur Jahan completed the construction of the building of the Tomb of her father in 1628 AD, nearly 7 years after his death.
The tomb is located at the centre of a quadrangle with gardens laid out on the Char Bagh pattern surrounding it. The structure stands over a raised sandstone terrace measuring 149 feet square and 3 feet and 4 inches high from the ground. The tomb building consists of a central hall, which houses the tomb of Wazir and his wife. Small chambers in which the tombs of other family members are located surround this hall. A sandstone staircase leads to the first floor, where elegant oblong dome is found surmounting a pavilion over the central hall, topped with pinnacles. This pavilion also contains cenotaphs of plain marble but without any inscriptions. At the corners of the top of the building stand four round towers approximately measuring 40 feet in height, which are surmounted by marble kiosks.
The cenotaphs and walls of the ground floor contain inscription in Persian. The wall inscriptions are from Quran and other holy texts, while the cenotaph inscriptions are stating the name and title of those interned.
Tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah 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 Tāj”, the tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah is often regarded as a draft of the Tāj Mahal. Along with the main building, the structure consists of numerous outbuildings and gardens.
The mausoleum was commissioned by Nūr Jahān, the wife of Jahangir, for her father Mirzā Ghiyās Beg, originally a Persian Amir in exile, who had been given the title of I’timād-ud-Daulah (pillar of the state).
The tomb situated on the eastern bank of Yamuna River, stands in the center of a charbagh, a four-quartered garden, with the usual enclosing walls and side buildings. The main gate is on the eastern side, ornamental gateways are built in the middle of the northern and southern sides. A multi-storey open pleasure pavilion is on the western side, overlooking the river.
Open from Sunrise to Sunset
Itmad-ud-daula has a special place in the chronicles of both history as well as architecture. This is precisely because Itmad ud Daula is the very first tomb in India that is entirely made out of Marble. This is actually a mausoleum that overlooks the River Yamuna and is a tomb of Mir Ghiyas Beg, a minister in the court of Shah Jahan.
The story of Itmad-ud-daula is an inspirational rag to riches saga. The tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah is as interesting as the life of the person for whom it was built. Mirza Ghiyas-ud-din or Ghiyas Beg (later known as Itimad-ud-Daulah) was a poor merchant and lived in Persia (modern-day Iran). His wife gave birth to a daughter whom he wanted to abandon for he has no money to feed her but the persistent wails of the infant changed his heart. The baby girl brought a stroke of good luck to her parents, for Ghiyas Beg found a caravan that straightaway took him to the court of the great Mughal Emperor, Akbar. . After Akbar’s death in 1605, his son Jahangir became the Mughal emperor, who made Ghiyas Beg his chief minister or Wazir. Ghiyas Beg was also honored with the title of Itimad-ud-Daulah or the pillar of the state.
Jahangir fell in love with his widowed daughter who processes unspeakable beauty. She was later christened Noor Jahan and went down in the history as one of the most beautiful and artistically gifted women in the world. Jahangir conferred the title of Itmad-ud-daula or ‘Pillar of the Empire’ to his father-in-law. Noor Jahan ordered the tomb after the death of her father in 1622.
Itmad-ud-daula is a pure white and elaborately carved tomb that conforms to the Islamic style of architecture. The Indo-Islamic architecture becomes prominent because of the fusion that this tomb displays. While the use of arched entrances and octagonal shaped towers signify the Persian influence, the absence of a dome and the presence of a closed kiosk on top of this building and the use of canopies talks about the possible Indian influence. From out side, when you take a bird eye view, Itmad-ud-daula looks like a jewel box set in a garden. This tranquil, small, garden located on the banks of the Yamuna was to inspire the construction of the Taj Mahal in the later years.
The square two-storeyed tomb stands in the centre of a charbagh. At the four corners of the low platform are four squat attached minarets. Open-pillared domed pavilions known as chhatris top the minarets. Tapering pinnacles with lotus mouldings crown the minarets. The dome, with its canopy-like shape, is different from the conventional domes of this period. The tomb is beautifully conceived in white marble, coloured mosaic, stone inlay and lattice work. Panels of geometric designs, created by inlaid coloured stones, decorate the dado level of the tomb. Niches with painted floral bouquets, trees, fruit and wine decanters embellish the interior of the central chamber of the main tomb. The replica tombs of Itmad-ud-Daulah and his wife are placed in the marble-screened upper pavilion. There is a good view from the roof of the entrance.
The star features of the tomb are the marble screens, pietra dura artwork and the tomb chamber itself. Perforated marble screens with complex geometric lattice work are carved out of a single slab of marble; they permit soft lighting of the inner chamber. The polished marble surface is covered with stone inlay, the first time this technique was extensively used in Mughal architecture. The ceiling has incised, painted and gilded stucco and stalactite patterns. The yellow marble caskets appear to have been carved out of wood. On the engraved walls of the chamber is the recurring theme of a wine flask with snakes as handles – perhaps a reference by Nur Jahan, the tomb’s creator, to her husband Jahangir’s excessive drinking.
Stylistically, the tomb marks a change from the sturdy and manly buildings of Akbar’s reign to softer, more feminine lines. The main chamber, richly decorated in pietra dura with mosaics and semi-precious stones inlaid in the white marble, contains the tomb of I’timad-ud-Daulah and his wife. Some have argued that the concept and skill must have travelled from its European home of 16th-century Florence to India. However, Florentine pietra dura is figurative whereas the Indian version is essentially decorative and can be seen as a refinement of its Indian predecessor, the patterned mosaic.
The tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah
Even though the tomb is not as majestic or beautifully proportioned as Taj Mahal, in many ways it was the prototype on which Taj was later built. However, in some ways the tomb even surpasses the beauty of Taj when it comes to the exquisite inlay work on it’s walls. The tomb was also the first one which was built on the banks of river Yamuna, a zone which was till then used only for gardens (unfortunately only one such garden survives now).
Like all Mughal buildings, the tomb is completely symmetrical. Some might call it’s proportions a bit too strict, but to me it simply shows the skill of the workers who made this possible.
The tomb has another gate which is red sandstone and another gate which overlooks river Yamuna on the back. It’s located on the opposite side of Taj Mahal, though you can’t really see Taj from here. When I visited it was winters and the day was quite foggy, but otherwise it’s easy to see on the other side of the river.
The walls are made of marble with inlay work in semi-precious stones from Rajasthan. You can also see cypress trees on the wall, which simply shows the connection of Mughals to the land they came from.
The first tomb to be built in white marble instead of red sandstone. It marks the departure from the red sandstone buildings of Mughal architecture.
Location~ in the old city area of Agra
Ideal time to visit~ anytime round the year
How to reach~ Hire a cab or auto from the hotel.
(Total- Rs.20) Indian Rs. 15/- per head (ASI); Rs. 5/- per head as Toll Tax (Agra Development Authority)
Citizens of visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) -(Total-25)- Rs. 15 per head(ASI) + Rs. 10/- per head as Toll Tax (Agra Development Authority)
(Total- Rs.210) Indian Rs. 200/- per head (ASI);
Rs. 10/- per head as Toll Tax (Agra Development Authority) (Fridays free entry by ADA)
(Note: Foreign Visitors who purchase Agra Development Authority (ADA)’s Pathkar (Toll tax) ticket of Rs.500/- forTajMahal, need not to purchase any other Pathkar (Toll tax) ticket, if he/she visits the monuments viz. TajMahal, Agra Fort, FatehpurSikri, Akbar’s Tomb, Itimad-ud-Daulah’s tomb on the same day) .
(Free entry to children up to 15 years)
Interesting Facts About the Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah
- Itmad-ud-Daulah means ‘Pillar of the Goverment’
- The Tomb of Itmad-ud-daulah is also known as ‘Baby Taj Mahal’
- It doesn’t have the same awesome beauty as the Taj but it’s arguably more delicate in appearance thanks to its particularly finely carved jali (marble lattice screens)
- This was the first Mughal structure built completely from marble, the first to make extensive use of pietra dura and the first tomb to be built on the banks of the Yamuna
- The small yet elegant marble tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah is lyrically described as a “jewel box in marble”
- The style of the tomb is similar to the tomb built for Jehangir near Lahore in Pakistan
- The star features of the tomb are the marble screens, pietra dura artwork and the tomb chamber itself
Best Time to Visit
You can visit any time of the year. However, the favorable time would be from October till the end of March as the weather remains cool and is pleasant to travel during that time.
How to Reach
The Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah is located on the east bank of the Yamuna river 4 km (2 miles) from the Taj Mahal. The most affordable way to get here is to hire a cycle rickshaw to and fro; alternatively, you can get an auto rickshaw will be faster but cost at least double.