Fatehpur Sikri was very close to Agra. After checking in to the hotel, I had lunch. The hotel didn’t have parking or driver’s facilities, so Prem had to stay elsewhere. He was to pick me up for a little sightseeing later in the afternoon when it wasn’t so hot.
I wanted to see the tomb of Itimad ud Daulah. Mughal mausoleums all seem to have been built on the same plan. There was an elaborate gate at the entrance. The tomb was built at the center with gardens surrounding it, and it was flanked by identical buildings on each side.
The tomb is also known as the Baby Taj, but it was built between 1622 and 1628, a decade before the Taj Mahal. Itimad ud Daulah (pillar of the state) was the title of Mirzā Ghiyās Beg, the grandfather of Mumtaz Mahal, the third wife of Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal. Mirzā Ghiyās Beg was the treasurer of Emperor Jahangir, who ruled just prior to Shah Jahan.
There was a third building directly behind the mausoleum.
This tomb is distinctive because it was the first time white marble had been used for a Mughal mausoleum. Up until then, red sandstone had been the favorite material, as had been used in the Red Fort and Humayun’s Tomb. The tomb represents a jewel box.
This was a very enjoyable visit. It was small, and no guide was needed. It apparently wasn’t very heavily visited, as no touts were around. My bad luck, all the water features were empty.