Mariam‘s tomb is situated some 1 km away from Akbar's Tomb at Sikandra. While coming towards Mathura from Agra,It falls on the left side. You can see the signboards/directions from the main highway (NH2).
Mariam Zamani was the doughter of Raja Bharmal Kachhwaha of Amber (Jaipur) and was married to Akbar in 1562 A.D. she gave birth to Salim (Jahangir) in 1569 at Fatehpur Sikri, when the title ; Mariam Zamani; (Compassionate to the World). When she died in 1623 at Agra, Jehangir built a stylish tomb for his mother close to the tomb of Akbar within the compound of Christian Missionary Society. This square tomb stands in the center of garden.
This was originally a Lodi Barahdari (Open pavilion) which was adopted by the mughals and converted into a tomb by making a crypt below the central compartment; reconstructing the four facades of the building with carved red sandstone panels and a chsajja with addition of Duchhattis (Mezzanine floors) at the corners; and remaking the superstructure with Chhatris and Chhaparkhats.
The cenotaph of Mariam Zomani is set in the central chamber, directly above the main mortuary chamber. There is a third grave of the queen too, situated as the white marble cenotaph on a brick masonry platform in the centre of the terrace.
The third Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great (1542 – 1605), himself commenced its construction in around 1600, according to Tartary tradition to commence the construction of one's tomb during one's lifetime. Akbar himself planned his own tomb and selected a suitable site for it, after his death, Akbar's son Jahangir completed the construction in 1605-1613.
It is located on National Highway from Agra to Mathura NH2 ( Calcutta -Delhi Highway) about 8kms from The Tajmahal.
When you are that type of traveler who can sacrifice a little comfort for experience, then venture out to one of the villages. My most unforgettable moments happened here. I spent one breezy afternoon under the shade of a tree, surrounded by elderly and kids alike, all eager to share their stories. I couldn't get enough of watching the ladies prepare food. They toss dough between hands so fast, one would lose count! Then there was this baby I held in my arms, his big eyes outlined with black henna (?). The boys played cricket at daytime which reminded me of my own childhood games. To cap things, I witnessed an engagement party for 2 local villagers.
P.S. You could bring extra bottled water and mosquito repellent. Mosquitoes there are GIANTS!
I arrived in Agra on a Friday afternoon in late February 2009 only to find out that the Taj Mahal was closed on Fridays. Thus, I began my sightseeing tour by first visiting the mausoleums on the opposite bank of the River Yamuna, namely, Chini-ka-Rauza and Itimad-ud-Daulah, and then ended the day by watching sunset from the viewing point of the Taj Mahal across the River Yamuna. It was one of my last days in India and this moment turned out to be the most unforgettable. Because it was the dry season in late winter, the giant River Yamuna was reduced to a small stream and its riverbed was mostly dry, which allowed the visitors to descend into the riverbed and to walk over fine white sand nearly all the way to the majestic white monument. Watching the incredible Taj Mahal and its changing hues as the sun receded in the sky, with only a handful of others and a few animals, was simply magical. Naturally I could not stop gazing at the Taj and taking many photos in the process, some of which are attached while others I've posted in the travelogue: "Unforgettable Sunset by the Taj Mahal". This is a MUST when visiting Agra, preferably on the evening before the scheduled visit to the Taj Mahal.
Yes! This is the real India. Just looking at rural India will give you an insight into primordial times. It also brings you near to nature and if you are lucky enough you can see a dancing Peacock and Cobra in wild. Agra should be viewed patiently for more you look at it more you will find it amazing and incredible that is there are old markets (Bazaars) where things are pretty cheap and try your hands at some Indian spices as well. You will be amazed at their aromatic smell and taste and also healing qualities.
Named after its founder, the Delhi Sultan Sikandar Lodi, Sikandra lies about 8km north west of Agra, on the road to Delhi. Originally it was a separate village, used by emperors as a hunting base, but modern urban expansion turned it into a mere suburb of Agra. The village is best known for the magnificent tomb of the Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great. It was built between 1605 and 1614 AD and is considered one of the most beautiful and unique mausoleums in the Indian subcontinent. It is a must-see when visiting Agra.
For more, check out my Sikandra page.
About an hour west of Agra (or 40 km away) lies Fatehpur Sikri, the ephemeral capital of the Mughal Empire. It was built in 1571 by Emperor Akbar at the location where a revered Sufi mystic lived. It served as the capital of the empire until 1585, when it became evident that water shortage in the area could not sustain a growing capital of an empire, and the city was thus swiftly abandoned and the capital moved to Lahore. This quick evacuation has left us with a 16th century architectural ensemble frozen in time and devoid of subsequent modifications, one whose importance has earned it a place among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The city consists of a magnificent grand mosque and an exquisite imperial palace complex, surrounded by numerous lesser structures, ranging from ramparts and caravanserais to palaces and mausoleums. While most of the architecture of the city is typically Mughal, the imperial palace complex exhibits a unique blend of Hindu, Jain and Islamic styles. Fatehpur Sikri makes an excellent day trip from Agra, or a stop along the drive to Jaipur.
For more on this ghost city, check out the separate page dedicated to Fatehpur Sikri.
The main road from Agra to Dehli take you through the countryside where shepherds walk along the road. Many domestic animals cross the street and slow vehicles are driving in the middle of the road. The driver must be on his guard.
If you are going to be in Agra- it is really worthwhile going to visit Fatehpur Sikri
It has a fascinating history, and wonderful architecture that has been well preserved.
There is a Sufi Shrine there which has the most marvellous marble lattice work.
This place is only 37 km from Agra by road, and can easily be combined with a visit to Agra.
Highly recommended. We had a car and driver- it took us about 30mins to get to Fatehpur Sikri from Agra
Taxi's can be hired from Agra, and there is also a bus (which might take longer)
Beware of fake guides who will try and convince you that you need their services. There are genuine guides available. Insist on seeing credentials.
If you are going to visit the Taj, just a few hundred yards from where the green zone starts, there is a nature walk with some of the best far away views of the Monument. There is a very small entrance fee but the vista's are excellent.
Chini-ka-rauza is situated at a distance of less than one kilometer north of Itmad-ud-daulah (Baby Taj) on the same side of the Yamuna.This tomb is Built in 1635 a memorial dedicated to Allama Afzel Khan Mullah Shukrullah of Shiraz, who was a Persian poet-scholar and later the Prime Minister of Shah Jahan. It is decorated with glazed tiles (chini) on the facade and depicts the Persian influence on Mughal architecture.Paintings and Islamic calligraphy can still be made out on the high domed ceiling.It is a rectangular structure, having beautiful tile work in glazing colours On the top of the chamber some Quranic texts are inscribed. Although it is in a dilapidated condition, its craftsmanship is worth seeing.
Mehtab Bagh is situated north side to the Taj Mahal trans Yamuna opposite to Taj Mahal.The moon light garden was built by Emperor Shahjahan viewing the Taj is on the sandy bank of the river Yamuna.
Mehtab bagh is an ideal spot for the photography the Taj. The panoramic view of the Taj along with Yamuna flowing gently makes this site an excellent photography point.
Entrance Fees Rs 100.
The very name "Cobra" sends a chill down the spine of a common Indian. The poison of cobra is neurotoxic. While in India try to hold the dreaded cobra in your hands. Don't worry it won't bite you, cause its poison glands have been removed. The one you see in this picture is not a cobra but a racer variety snake. These snakes are a beauty in themselves.
Gwalior lies about 76 miles (121km) south of Agra and is easy to reach as it's located on the main Delhi-Bhopal railway line. Most people pass through the city on their way from Agra to the more touristy sites of Orchha and Khajuraho. But this doesn't mean that there isn't anything to see or do here. There is.
There are two main tourist attractions in Gwalior. Firstly, there's the magnificent 3km long fort which looks down over the city from on top of a 100m high basalt hill. Within its dominating walls lie many ruined palaces, a few temples dating from the 9th-11th centuries and the highlight, the early 16th century Man Singh Palace. The western approach to the fort is lined with rows of Jain rock sculptures that date from the mid-15th century of which the tallest, at 17 metres, is the largest in northern India. The other main attraction of Gwalior lies outside the forts southern wall in the centre of the city. The ruling maharajas of Gwalior built the Jai Vilas Palace in the late 19th century which is built in the style of the 'Palais de Versailles' in France combining Tuscan, Italian and Corinthian styles of architecture. The palace is open as a museum which features many peculiar objects, furniture and decorative tastes such as the world's largest chandeliers each weighing 3.5 tonnes.
If you're thinking of passing through Gwalior, why not stop here like I did for a couple of days to take in what the city has to offer. The city is off the beaten tourist path, in fact I only saw a few western tourists here.
Akbar started building his own mausoleum, near Agra, that was to be a perfect blend of Hindu, Christian, Islamic, Buddhist and Jain designs and motifs, bespeaking of his religious tolerance and secular views. However, he could not complete it and died. Thus, his son Jehangir completed his tomb (between 1605-12), popularly known as Sikandra after Sikandra Lodi, who established the community where Akbar's Tomb is located. The result is this impressive, perfectly symmetrical complex with the tomb located in the centre of a vast walled garden. The main gatehouse is also very impressive and features 4 tall white marble minarets on the four corners. This place is a must visit and I came here as part of a small auto-rickshaw tour as it's some 20km away from Agra. More photo's can be found on one of my travelogues.
Open: Sunrise to sunset. Admission: Rs110 for foreigners.