Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah
On the left
bank of river Yamuna, is located the second most beautiful
building in Agra; after Taj, the tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah.
Designed like a silver Jewel box in marble, this building is
a marvellous example of delicacy and precision in inlay
work. This tomb was the first mausoleum built on riverbank,
till then only pleasure gardens were built on the
riverbank. This beautiful mausoleum was built by
Nur-Jahan between 1622-1625 A.D. for her father Mirza
Ghiyath Beg, who was appointed the prime Minister of the
Empire shortly after Nur Jahan's marriage to Jehangir and
titled as 'Itimad-ud-Daulah' which means Lord
Treasurer of the Empire.
GENERAL PLAN OF THE TOMB BUILDING
building consist of a quadrangular enclosure about 550 sq.
feet, one side of which faces, the river Yamuna. This
enclosure is pierced by four gateways in cardinal
directions, out of which Eastern gateway is the main
entrance gateway to the tomb and rest of three are merely
The main tomb building is square in plan and is raised on a
red sand stone plinth, in the centre of a 'Char Bagh'
or four quartered garden. Hence, the overall setting of the
building substantiate its aesthetic beauty.
The main entrance gate of the tomb is on Eastern side. This
is the only functional gateway of the tomb, while the other
three were built for the sake of symmetry in accordance with
Char Bagh pattern, and may be appropriately called as water
or 'garden pavilions'.
are built in red sand stone with inlaid marble designs. The
main gateway measures 64'x26' (19.51x7.92m), and is double
storyed. Dados of the main iwan and spandrels of arches are
beautifully decorated with marble inlay work. The wings of
the gateways are also double storied having brackets and
lintel opening on ground floor and half recess on upper
storey bearing arched painting in stylized arabesque
View of the
main entrance gateway
pavilion at the Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah
and southern pavilions are more or less identical measuring
64'x24'(19.51x7.32m), having single storyed iwan in the
middle and double storyed wings on sides, like main gateway.
Each of these pavilions contains rooms and halls on upper
floor. Stairways have also been provided on sides of facade.
Beautiful chhatris on the top provides an aesthetic and
proportionate look to the pavilions.
The western pavilion, which is multistoried is built on the
river bank, is the largest and profusely decorated pavilion.
It is believed that this pavilion could have served the
purpose of pleasure pavilion during the life time of
Itimad-ud-Daulah. This pavilion measures 64'x33'
(19.51x10.06m) and is similar in plan like other gateways.
The tomb is situated in the centre of a Char Bagh or four
quartered garden, surrounded on all sides by tanks and water
channels. the garden measures 503' (153.34m) East-west and
492'(149.96m) The river water was drawn into two wells
located on the river side, which are further connected to
storage tanks. The storage tanks were the main source of
water supply and were connected to other devices through
water channels and underground Earthen pipes and hence
constitute the integral layout of a Char Bagh.
Main tomb with
THE MAIN TOMB
The main tomb is square in plan and is entirely finished in
marble. The tomb building stands on a plinth of red
sandstone and contains tanks with fountains in front of
facades on all four sides. The main tomb is '70' (21.34m) in
dimension and contains three broad arches on each of its
four sides. The central arch provides the entrance and rest
of the two openings are closed with beautiful jalis. Roof of
the tomb has a small chajja supported on brackets and
perforated balustrade, all around. Attached to the tomb
building are four octagonal towers, at corners, which attain
a circular form at a considerable height from the terrace
and terminate into a beautiful chhatri supported on eight
pillars. These chhatris are crowned with inverted lotus (Padmakosh)
and Kalash finials. These towers play a dominant role in
composition of facade as the super structure of the building
does not have a dome in the middle of the terrace, but a
square pavilion with pyramidal roof. The pavilion is about
three feet higher than the roof level and is 26 sq. feet in
dimension. The pavilion has two entrance one to the south,
and one to the north, rest of the ten openings are closed
with beautiful screens in geometrical designs. The pyramidal
roof of the pavilion is crowned by 9 huge Padma Kosh
and four Kalash finials at four angles. In the interior, the
pavilion contains replicas of the graves of Itimad-ud-Daulah
and his wife, vertically above the real grave.
attached to Main tomb
chamber of the main tomb is about 22 sq. feet having the
graves of Nurjahan's mother Asmat Begum and Father
Itimad-ud-Daulah. The entrance to this chamber is from
the south direction and the graves lies in North-south
direction. The graves are composed of yellow marble. The
walls and floors of interior chamber contains beautiful
inlay mosaic. Around this main chamber are four rooms at
four corners interconnected through common doorways, which
contains graves of other members of Nur Jahan's family.
of Itimad-ud-Daulah marks a step forward in the
development of the art of mosaic and inlay. The whole
interior of the tomb has been finished in white marble
with very profuse, delicate and intricate stylized inlay
and stucco designs.
Mosaic ornamentation at Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah
MOSAIC AND INLAY WORK
gateway of the tomb contains bold and profuse inlay work
with white marble pieces on red sandstone. Geometrical
designs and wine vases have chiefly been depicted, besides
that stylized floresque and arabesque designs are used to
fill lesser spaces. The red sandstone plinth of the main
building also contains inlaid work in star pattern. The
plinth contains running bands of highly stylized floral
pattern and creepers in combination, which are bordered by
design on dado panel
and interior of the tomb has been divided into dados, which
bear geometrical designs and stylized creepers. The dado has
appeared here in fully developed form as a distinct feature
of architectural ornamentation. The upper pavilion contains
superb floral scroll in multi coloured inlay work on the
pavement. This scheme of ornamentation is carried on towers
on all sides and upto the frieze.
ornamentation, Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah
flowing designs, cups and wine vases and guldastas, which
are characteristics of the age of Jehangir are abundantly
depicted in inlaid mosaic on the sides of entrance arches
above the dados. Handles of these vares are serpentine, with
bird's beak. Cypress motif has also been chiefly depicted on
inner sides of the flanking arches.
A wide variety of rare and semi precious stones of different
tints and tones have been used in inlay mosaic. These are
agate, carnelian, turquoise, Jasper, lapis lazuli, opal,
onyx, garnet and jade. These semi precious stones were used
in combination with black, white and yellow marble for inlay
depicting cypress and dish containing grapes and
STUCCO AND ARCHITECTURAL PAINTINGS
The whole of the interior, which comprises the central hall,
four corner chambers and side halls has painting and stucco
ornamentation beautifully distributed over the walls above
dados and ceilings. Guldastas, wine vases, cypress and other
persian motifs are freely depicted. The eastern and western
side halls have, extremely beautiful incised stucco on the
ceilings which have actually been copied from embroidery
designs. Besides the usual motifs animal motif have also
been depicted in the painted designs, mostly inside the Jar
shaped Guldasts. These motifs include peacock, hens, fishes,
rat and dogs. The central chamber has also contains some
animate designs, specially lions. Surprisingly human figures
are also depicted in this scheme of painted panels. A number
of jar shaped guldastas contains a chhatri, with a human
figure in sitting posture.
Floral vase on
the interior wall
have also been depicted on white marble panels of different
length, on the frieze, above the arches, which rotates on
all sides including the octagonal towers at the angle.
design on the interior wall