Bill and Sue-On Hillman: A 50-Year Musical Odyssey

North India: Gallery 22b
Baby Taj

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Our local guide Shef left us after Fort Agra. Parakrum took us to Baby Taj, which was built by the Raj's favourite wife when her father died. It is like the Taj but the dome is like a jewel box. The Raj's mother-in-law is also buried there as well as his own parents. It only took seven years to build, but not as impressive after seeing the actual Taj Mahal!

It was a very long day of walking in the +40 degree heat, but we got it all done. The Taj Mahal grounds were being closed in the early afternoon as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were due to visit the site at 5:30 pm. We saw many police cars with sirens on, carrying more security into the area. As mentioned before, there was also a carnival-like atmosphere as they were celebrating the end of a nine-day festival of some kind. The worshippers have all their idols in glittery "floats" carrying them to a central location for the celebration. There were SO many buses loaded, REALLY loaded with people coming in for this celebration. Parakrum (our CEO) wanted to make sure we got back to our hotel before the traffic got worse.

Tomb of I'timad-ud-Daulah is a Mughal mausoleum in the city of Agrah. Often described as a "jewel box", sometimes called the "Baby Taj", this tomb  regarded as a draft of the Taj Mahal.

Along with the main building, the structure consists of numerous outbuildings and gardens. The tomb, built between 1622 and 1628 is primarily built from red sandstone with marble decorations with its second phase, based on white marble and pietra dura inlay, most elegantly realized in the Taj Mahal.

The mausoleum was commissioned by Nur Jahan, the wife of Jahangir, for her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg, originally a Persian Amir in exile, who had been given the title of "pillar of the state." He was also the grandfather of Mumtaz Mahal, the wife of the emperor Shah Jahan.

Located on the right bank of the Yamuna River, the mausoleum is set in a large cruciform garden criss-crossed by water courses and walkways. The mausoleum itself covers about twenty-three meters square, and is built on a base about fifty meters square and about one meter high. On each corner are hexagonal towers, about thirteen meters tall.

The walls are made up from white marble from Rajasthan encrusted with semi-precious stone decorations cornelian, jasper, lapis lazuli, onyx, and topaz formed into images of cypress trees and wine bottles, or more elaborate decorations like cut fruit or vases containing bouquets. Light penetrates to the interior through delicate jali screens of intricately carved white marble. The interior decoration is considered by many to have inspired that of the Taj Mahal, which was built by her stepson, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.

Many of Nur Jahan's relatives are interred in the mausoleum. The only asymmetrical element of the entire complex is that the cenotaphs of her father and mother have been set side-by-side, a formation replicated in the Taj Mahal.

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On our way over to the Baby Taj

Arrival at the Baby Taj

Back to Agra
Past yet another ubiquitous barber shop



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Bill and Sue-On Hillman Eclectic Studio