Akbar’s Tomb - Quick Guide
Akbar’s Tomb - Overview
Akbar’s Tomb, located at Sikandara in Agra, is a beautiful monument. The monument is built using red sandstone. Most of the part was completed during the lifetime of Akbar but the fifth floor was built by Jahangir. Akbar also laid a garden in the center of which the tomb exists.
Agra is situated on the banks of river Yamuna and is a popular tourist place visited by many people from India and abroad. The monuments to be visited in Agra are Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Itmad-ud-Daulah Tomb and many others. Agra can be easily reached from any part of India through road, rail, and air transport.
The tomb is opened for the visitors from 6:00am to 6:00pm on all days of a week. The tomb is also opened on all the public holidays. It takes around one to two hours to visit the whole tomb as it is a five-storey building.
Tourists have to pay an entry fee in order to visit the tomb. The cost of ticket as per the ASI for Indian citizens and citizens of SAARC and BIMSTEC countries is Rs. 15 while the citizens of other countries have to pay Rs. 200. The tourists also have to pay toll tax as per Agra Development Authority. The toll tax for Indian tourists is Rs. 5 and for SAARC, BIMSTEC and other countries, it is Rs. 10. There is no fees for the children below 15 years.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Agra is from February to April and from October to December as the weather remains pleasant during this time of the year. In the rest of the months, the climate is either very hot, humid or very cold which can lead to the discomfort of the tourists.
Where to Stay?
There are more than 400 hotels in Agra that range from inexpensive hotels to expensive five-star hotels. Tourists can enjoy their stay in any of these hotels. Some of the hotels in the city are as follows −
ITC Mughal Agra located at Taj Ganj
Radisson Blu Agra located near Taj Mahal
Orient Taj Hotels ‘n’ Resorts located at Fatehabad Road
Jaypee Palace Hotel & Convention Center located at Fatehabad Road
Mansingh Palace located at Fatehabad Road
Hotel Atulyaa Taj located at Agra Cantonment
Howard Plaza The Fern located at Fatehabad Road
Utkarsh Vilas located at Fatehabad Road
The Grand Imperial Heritage Hotel located at Rakab Ganj
Hotel Narayan Palace located at Agra Cantonment
Treebo Rigel Inn located at Shamsabad Road
Hotel Lava Kush located at Fatehabad Road
Hotel panna Paradise located near Taj Mahal
Taj Inn Hotel located at Fatehabad Road
Hotel Crimson Palace located at Taj Nagari
Budget or Two-Star Hotels
Hotel Om Sai Palace located at Gwalior Road
Hotel Anand Villa located at Fatehabad Road
Hotel Taj Sapphire located at Fatehabad Road
Hotel Safari located at Shamsabad
Hotel Dolphinn located near Taj Mahal
Cheap or One-Star Hotels
Hotel Pentas located at M.G. Road Agra
Hotel Vishal located at Agra Cantonment
Viren Residency located at Fatehabad Road
Hotel Sarwan located at Agra Cantonment
Hotel Omega located near Idgah Bus Stand
Akbar’s Tomb - History
Akbar was the son of Humayun and grandson of Babur. The tenure of his reign was from 1556 to 1605. Humayun died when Akbar was 13 years old and so he started reigning under the guidance of Bairam Khan. Akbar conquered a large part of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan and in order to control his kingdom, he appointed many governors over his territories.
Birth of Akbar
Akbar was born when his Father Humayun left Delhi due to defeat in the battle of Chausa and Kannauj. In both the battles Humayun was defeated by Sher Shah Suri. Humayun was married to a 14-year old girl named Hamida Banu Begum and she gave birth to Akbar in 1542 at Umerkot, a Rajput fort. At that time Rana Prasad provided refuge to Humayun.
Akbar was nurtured by his uncles Kamran Mirza and Askari Mirza. He learnt to hunt and fight but never read or written. Akbar married to the daughter of his paternal uncle Hindal Mirza whose name was Ruqaiya Sultan Begum. Humayun conquered Delhi in 1555 and again established Mughal Empire.
Humayun died when he fall from stairs in his library and Akbar succeeded him. Akbar was a minor so Bairam Khan guided him in ruling the kingdom. Humayun conquered Delhi, Agra, and Punjab but Suris again reconquered them after his death. Bairam Khan planned an attack on Sikandar Suri but Suri avoided the battle.
His minister Hemu and the army of Suris was defeated in 1556 in the second battle of Panipat. Later Akbar defeated Sikandar Suri and also captured Gwalior which was also under Suris. Akbar expanded his kingdom by defeating many Muslim rulers, Rajput rulers and other rulers. Akbar died in 1605 due to suffering from dysentery.
Akbar’s love of architecture
Akbar built many monuments in Delhi and Agra. Some were built for protection, like Agra Fort, and some were built due to his love of architecture like Fatehpur Sikri, Buland Darwaza, Humayun’s Tomb, Jodhabai Palace, and Akbar’s Tomb. Akbar constructed his tomb during his life time. Most of the portion of the tomb was constructed in his reign and the topmost part was constructed by Jahangir.
Akbar’s Tomb - Architecture
Akbar built many monuments in his life time mainly in Delhi and Agra. Besides this he also built a city called Fatehpur Sikri which he later abandoned due to scarcity of water. Akbar built forts, palaces and his tomb. The construction of tomb is based on Hindu, Islamic, Buddhist, and Jain rchitecture. The tomb has domes, balconies, windows with jalis and other structures which depicts Hindu architecture.
Design of Akbar’s Tomb
Akbar’s tomb is a five storey monument which is built in the shape of a pyramid. The main mausoleum was built in the shape of a square. Tourists can enter the tomb through a huge gate which is similar to the Buland Darwaza in Fatehpur Sikri. There is a garden at the entrance which is divided into four portions.
The tomb is situated in the middle of the garden which is divided into four parts. The garden is surrounded by walls on all sides and there is a main gateway through which people can enter the tomb. Each part of the garden has a water channel and has a terrace. There are also footpaths on the side of each quarter.
There are four minarets built on the southern gate and Akbar got this idea from the char minar when he came to Deccan in 1599. There are three storeys in each minaret which are built with marble.
There are four gateways in the tomb but now only southern gate is used to enter. The rest three are built only for decoration and were not used as gateway. This gate was built by using red sandstone and many designs were inlaid using marble.
The roof of the gateway has four kiosks. The magnificence of the gateway is inspired by the Buland Darwaza which was constructed in Fatehpur Sikri. The gateways are raised at a good height from the garden and staircases are there to approach the gateways.
First Floor or Ground Floor
The first floor has cloisters on four sides having arches. There is a hall which has many carvings, paintings and other geometrical structures. The tombstone of Akbar lies in this hall and along with this the tombstones of Shakrul Nisha and Aram Bano is also there. These two ladies were the daughters of Akbar.
The second floor is in the form of a square and is smaller than the first floor. It has a chhatri of eight pillars supported by eight octagonal pillars on each corner. The diameter of each chhatri is 5.18m. There are 23 bays on each arched verandah situated on each side. Third floor is also supported by these bays.
The third floor is smaller than the second floor and is in a form of square and each side measures 31.62m. There are four chhatris, one on each side having the same dimensions as that of the second floor. The cupolas of the chhatris have blue, green, and yellow tiles. The edges of the floor have railings in which jalis are fixed. The jalis have various geometrical designs like star, swastika, triangular and many others.
The fourth floor is square in shape whose one side measures 27.16m. This floor is smaller than the third floor and has arches with pillar support and chhatris on each side. There is one secret storey on this floor where people can go only through a ladder and enter through a narrow opening. In the secret storey, there are five corridors from east to west and five from north to south which cut each other at right angles. Brick masonry is used to make the tombstone which is at the center.
Fifth floor is the smallest and is built by using marble. The side of the square-shaped central court has the dimensions of 21.34m. There are dalans or cloisters on all the four sides of the floor. Each dalan measures 27.16 x 2.74m.
Akbar’s Tomb - How to Reach?
Agra is a popular tourist place and people come here to visit the monuments mainly constructed during the Mughal period. Agra is well-connected to various cities in India through rail, road, and air transport.
The distance of some of the cities from Agra is as follows −
Agra to Delhi
By air – 180km
By rail – 195km
By road – 231km
Agra to Mathura
By air – 46km
By rail – 50km
By road – 58km
Agra to Jaipur
By air – 222km
By rail – 228km
By road – 242km
Agra to Ajmer
By air – 341km
By rail – 363km
By road – 371km
Agra to Ahmedabad
By air – 711km
By rail – 867km
By road – 905km
Agra to Lucknow
By air – 296km
By rail – 299km
By road – 334km
Agra to Gwalior
By air – 106km
By rail – 118km
By road – 121km
Agra to Jhansi
By air – 201km
By rail – 215km
By road – 233km
Agra has its airport which is directly connected with Delhi, Varanasi, and Khajuraho. The airports of Delhi, Jaipur, Lucknow and Gwalior are nearby Agra and are connected by national and international flights. People can go to Agra from these places through road or rail transport.
Agra has three main railway stations which are Agra Cantt, Agra Fort, and Raja Ki Mandi which are connected to all the major cities of India. Idgah and Agra City are two other railway stations but very few trains stop here. Many premium, superfast, mail and express trains pass through these railway stations. Premium trains like Rajdhani, Shatabdi, and Double-Decker express connects nearby as well as distant places to Agra.
Agra is connected to Delhi, Jaipur, Lucknow and other nearby cities by road. Tourists can either book taxis or take a bus to reach Agra.
The major bus stands of Agra are −
Idgah Bus Stand
Inter State Bus Terminal
From railway station, bus stand, or airport, tourists can reach Akbar’s Tomb through various modes of local transport like cycle rickshaw, auto rickshaw, local buses, and taxis. There are also tourist packages provided by various tour operators for visiting different places in Agra.
Akbar’s Tomb - Nearby Places
Agra has many historical monuments like tombs, palaces, forts etc. Besides visiting Akbar’s tomb, tourists can also visit Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Itmad-ud-Daulah Tomb and many other monuments. Some of the nearby places are as follows −
Mariam-uz-Zamani was a Hindu wife of Emperor Akbar and mother of Jahangir. She was the daughter of King Bharmal of Rajasthan. She is also popular by the name of Jodhabai though history says that she was not known by this name in her life time. The tomb was a baradari during the reign of Sikandar Lodi which was converted to a tomb in 1623.
Fatehpur Sikri was built by Akbar and its construction was started in 1569. While being childless, he went to Saint Sheikh Salim Chishti and due to his blessings, Akbar became the father of a male child.
Fatehpur Sikri was constructed in the commemoration of this event. Later, Akbar abandoned the city due to water shortage and other events. The places to visit here are Salim Chishti tomb, Buland Darwaza, Panch Mahal, Jodhabai Mahal, and other structures. Fatehpur Sikri is around 38 km from Akbar’s Tomb.
Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. This monument is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and is built from white marble. Along with marble, red sandstone is also used to build some structures like mosque, entrance gates and others. Taj Mahal is around 17km from Akbar’s Tomb.
Agra Fort was built by Lodi dynasty and Mughal dynasty elaborated its construction area-wise as well as architecture-wise. The red sandstone of the fort were replaced with marbles and other Mughal art has been embedded in the fort.
Aurangzeb imprisoned his father Shah Jahan in this fort who looked at the Taj Mahal from the window of the fort. The distance between the fort and the Taj can be covered in 15 to 20 minutes as the distance between both the monuments is around 7km. Many structures like pillars, mosques, halls and others are included in the fort. Agra fort is 12km away from Akbar’s Tomb.
Itmad-ud-Daulah is the tomb of the father of Nur Jahan, wife of Jahangir. In Indian history, it is considered as the first monument built of white marble. It is built on the banks of Yamuna River.
The tomb is surrounded by a garden which is a picnic spot nowadays. The distance between Akbar’s Tomb and Itmad-ud-Daulah is around 11km.