Long before the Taj Mahal was built, Agra boasted of two beautiful tombs – the imposing red tomb of Emperor Akbar (which he himself commissioned and laid out), and the dainty white tomb of Itmad-ud-daulah (commissioned by his daughter the Empress Noor Jehan). On your private half day tour, you will visit both of these sites and learn about their fascinating story.Highlights • Mausoleum of Akbar • Mausoleum of Itmad-ud-daulah • Learn the history of Mughal Emperor Akbar, Noor Jehan and Ghiyath Beg
You will be picked up from your hotel in an air-conditioned vehicle and drive to the Cantonment area in the outskirts of Agra.Upon arrival, meet your local English speaking guide and visit the Mausoleum of Akbar the Great (1542-1605). A visionary leader, Akbar ruled over a vast terrain and is one of the most well known and admired of the Mughal emperors. DuringAkbar’s long reign of over 50 years, the Mughal empire grew in strength, eventually encompassing nearly all of northern Hindustan. His reign was marked by agricultural and land reforms, improved taxation systems, and a spirit of religious tolerance. Akbar’s tomb at Sikandra, on the outskirts of Agra, houses his mortal remains. Designed by Akbar himself, and completed within his lifetime, it was modified later by his son Jahangir who augmented it by building a marble portion on the top.Your tour will then take you to the the Mausoleum of Itmad-ud-daulah, also known as the “Baby Taj”. Your guide will give you the history of Akbar’s son Jahangir. He was fond of opiates, and spent the second half of his life in a stupor. His queen Noor Jehan (which means Light of the World) was a beautiful, talented and strong woman. She ran the Empire by proxy, controlling it through her network of trusted advisers and ministers (which included her father and brother). Noor Jehan’s father, Ghiyath Beg, was one of Akbar’s trusted court officials. Akbar gave him the title Itmad-ud-daulah (which means Pillar of the State). He was the chief treasurer, and a man of significant influence. Later, under Jahangir’s rule (and no doubt, by Noor Jehan’s influence), Itmad-ud-dalulah rose further to become wazir (chief minister).Itmad-ud-daulah’s tomb is a tribute to Noor Jehan’s refined sensibilities. Built fully in white marble, it has some of the prettiest inlay work in all of Agra. It is the first example of outstanding pietra dura in Agra, showing a marked deviation from the robust and masculine style of Akbar. It was this new style that would later manifest itself in the Taj Mahal.After your tour ends, you will be transferred back to your hotel in Agra city center in an air-conditioned. vehicle.