Location: Sikandra, near Agra (Uttar Pradesh)
Founded By: Akbar and Jehangir
Founded In: 16th-17th century
Timings: Sunrise to Sunset (Daily)
Akbar's tomb is situated in the town of Sikandra, which falls in the
suburbs of Agra. The tomb, or the mausoleum, houses the mortal remains
of one of the greatest Mughal Emperors of India, Akbar, and was built by
him during his own lifetime. However, Akbar's son Jehangir got the
monument fully completed by constructing its topmost portion in white
marble. Sikandra tomb of Akbar is of a pyramidal shape and has five
stories in toto. In the basement is situated the real cenotaph of the
Emperor, while the top floor comprises of the false cenotaph.
The architecture of Akbar's tomb represents a blend of different
architectural styles. The Islamic style is reflected in its splendid
entrance, delicate patterns, admirable jali work, Persian style
calligraphy as well as the garden (Charbagh) layout. However, one can
also see the influence of the local style of architecture in the use of
chhatris (canopies), absence of a dome, tiers of airy pavilions, etc.
The same pattern can also be seen in the edifices built by Akbar inside
the Agra Fort and the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri.
The entrance to the Akbar tomb is through a gateway in the south, which
leads to a large enclosed garden. The gateway stands ornamented with
floral and geometrical arabesque embellishments in white color. On each
of the corner of the monument is an elegant minaret, made of white
marble. The elegance of the calligraphic decoration adorning the gateway
is beyond description, while its high central arch is quite simple. The
four gardens (Charbagh) lead to the main structure of the tomb.
Apart from the top floor that has been constructed in white marble, the
entire monument is made up of red sandstone. Surrounding the entire
ground floor of Akbar's tomb, except the center of the southern side,
are covered passages. These passages have been divided into many bays,
with the help of massive arches and piers. The square stories of the
tomb have arcaded verandah, with cloisters and a bunch of cubicle on all
the sides. In the second story, a few of the kiosks have marble
pyramidal roofs also.
The other kiosks in the second story stand adorned with cupolas. Each
angle at the third story has a small square room. The topmost story,
made entirely of white marble, has a square court that has been left
open to the sky. Encircling the central courtyard, which stands divided
into bays, are slender arches and piers. There is also a square platform
in the center of the courtyard. It is on this platform that the white
marble cenotaph has been laid. The cenotaph has been adorned with
arabesque and floral pattern carvings.