Akbar was the third emperor of the Mughal empire in India, who ruled from 1556 to 1605. Akbar, titled Akbar the Great, is considered to be greatest of all Mughal emperors and has been recently listed by the Time magazine as one of the all time top 25 political icons. Akbar’s father, Humayun led a troubled life as he lost his kingdom to Sher Shah Suri, fled to Persia, regrouped and returned to claim the kingdom back. However, Humayun died in an accident in 1556, as he fell from the staircase of a library with a handful of books. Young Akbar became the emperor at the age of thirteen in 1556. Akbar started the rule under the regency of Bairam Khan, a trusted general of his father, Humayun. Once, Akbar attained the age of eighteen, he took complete control of the empire and asserted his authority. Akbar expanded the empire and started the golden period of Mughal architecture by building Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, Humayun’s Tomb and other monuments. Akbar also encouraged the growth of talented people as ministers and generals and many of them like Birbal, Abul Fazal, Faizi, Tansen and Rahim became legends in their own right.
Akbar’s Tomb is located in Sikandra, at the outskirts of the city of Agra in India. Akbar started building the Tomb in his lifetime around 1600. He was laid to rest here after his death in 1605. His son Jahangir completed the construction work between 1605-1613.
The entrance to the tomb is through a magnificent gateway, inspired by the Buland Darwaza in Fatehpur Sikri. The predominantly red gateway is decorated with floral, geometric and calligraphic designs. There are four white marble minarets on the four corners of the gateway. Inside the gateway, there is huge Charbagh style garden. The tomb is in the center of the garden.
The tomb building, like the gateway, is made of red sandstone. The facade has a beautiful arch and there are floral, geometric and calligraphic designs in white, red and golden colors. There are five stories in the tomb. The top story is made of white marble. Akbar’s tombstone is on the ground floor, in the center chamber, which is reached via a highly decorated vestibule.
Akbar’s tomb in Sikandra is a popular tourist destination in Agra. The place is very serene and it is unique experience visiting the monument.