Itmad-ud-Daulah's Tomb#3 in Best Things To Do in Agra
Located on the east bank of the Yamuna River (just a few miles from central Agra), Itmad-ud-Daulah's Tomb boasts a pretty picturesque setting. This tomb is the first mausoleum in India to be constructed entirely of marble. You'll recognize that the same stone was used for the Taj Mahal; in fact, this monument often goes by the nicknames, "Mini Taj" or "Baby Taj." But just because it's smaller in size doesn't mean you should neglect it.
This monument houses a former royal representative. Not only did Itmad-ud-Daulah serve under Emperor Akbar, Shah Jahan's grandfather (Shah Jahan is the man responsible for the Taj Mahal) but also Emperor Jehangir, who ended up marrying Daulah's daughter. Itmad-ud-Daulah was actually not the government representative's given name. Rather, Mizra Ghiyas was given the name Itmad-ud-Daulah as an honor title from the emperors, which translates to "pillar of the state."
The story behind the tomb may not be as romantic as that of its larger cousin, but it still comes from love. His daughter was the one responsible for commissioning the mausoleum after her father's death. Travelers who visited the tomb were in awe of its beautiful architectural details, including delicate inlays, gilded, mosaics and impeccable symmetry. And in comparison to the Taj Mahal, travelers say there are far fewer crowds here, which made their experience overall very peaceful.
Itmad-ud-Daulah's Tomb is open from sunrise to sunset every day. Admission costs 110 rupees (about $2). For more information, consult the city of Agra's official website.
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#1 Taj Mahal
Plain and simple: This is the reason you come to Agra. The Taj Mahal is a majestic tomb built in the Mughal style, which combines Indian, Islamic and Persian architectural principles. Visitors marvel at the intricate Quran inscriptions, the structure's perfect symmetry, the ornate accents, and the surrounding manicured gardens. But this monument's enchantment goes beyond its arresting visual appeal: The story behind its creation has drawn romantics for centuries.
According to legend, Emperor Shah Jahan (part of the Mughal dynasty, which ruled the majority of northern India between the 16th and 18th centuries) fell deeply in love with Arjumand Banu Begum, who became his favorite of his three wives. They shared such an intense passion for each another that he renamed her "Mumtaz Mahal," or "Chosen One of the Palace." After many years of happy marriage, Mumtaz passed away during the birth of her 14th child. To commemorate their undying love for one another, the Shah built the Taj Mahal as an elaborate tomb. The tomb is made up entirely of white marble and features jade, crystal, lapis, turquoise and amethyst stones inlaid throughout. Over 20,000 workers labored over the site for more than 20 years.
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