Tomb of Mariam-uz-Zamani
The Tomb of Mariam-uz-Zamani is the mausoleum of Mariam-uz-Zamani, the Queen consort of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. The tomb was built by Jahangir, in memory of his mother Mariam-uz-Zamani. The tomb is located in Sikandra, a suburb of Agra.
Mariam-uz-Zamani was born a Rajput princess named Jodha Bai, the eldest daughter of Raja Bharmal of Amer. She was married to Emperor Akbar in 1562 CE. She was honoured with the title Mariam-uz-Zamani ("Mary of the Age") after she gave birth to Jahangir. She died in Agra in 1623 and her son Jahangir built a tomb for her in between 1623 and 1627 CE. The tomb is just next to the Tomb of Akbar the Great, the only nearest of all the tombs of his other wives.
The structure was originally an open baradari (pleasure pavilion) under Sikander Lodi, who built it in 1495 AD. It was adopted by the Mughals in 1623 AD and was converted into a tomb by making a crypt below the central compartment and remodelling it substantially.
This square tomb stands in the centre of the Mughal garden. It is built on a raised platform with stairs on its northern and southern sides. The two corridors running from east to west and from north to south divide the structure into nine sections that are further subdivided into smaller compartments. The largest one is at the centre, four smaller square ones at the corners and four oblong ones in their middle. Massive piers have been used to support the broad arches and vaulted ceilings. The tomb is built of brick and mortar, and finished with stucco.
The facades (exterior) of the building were reconstructed with red sandstone panels and a chhajja with the addition of duchhati (mezzanine floors) at the corners by the Mughals. On each facade there is a rectangular structure which projects forward and has a pointy arch in it. It is flanked on either sides by wings, which consists of three arches and a set of double arches, one over the other, thus accommodating a duchhatti at each corner of the building. The wings are protected by chhajjas. The duchhatti are accessible by stairways.
The tomb also contains the work of the Mughals, who remodelled them by adding chhatris and chhaparkhats. The tomb has four massive octagonal chhatris on its four corners, and four oblong chhaparkhats in the centre of the four sides. Each chhatri is made out of red sandstone with a white dome and stands on a square platform. The domes are crowned with an inverted lotus or 'padma kosha'. Brackets have been used to support the internal lintels and external chhajja, five on each pillar, making a total of 40 brackets in one chhatri. Each chhaparkhat is rectangular and has eight pillars with a similar cluster of brackets and a white roof. These chhatris and chhaparkhats are the most important ornament of the whole composition. The rectangular chhaparkhats with eight pillars and a cluster of brackets resemble the corner cupolas.The tomb doesn't have a dome. The mausoleum is of architectural importance in the category of Mughal tombs without a dome.
Another important aspect of the tomb is that it is identical both in the front and the rear. Unlike other Mughal era structures, the back entrance is not a dummy but an actual entrance.
The red sandstone facade and panels with a variety of decorative designs, such as floral patterns, tell a lot about the former splendor of this tomb. There are chevron patterns in the nook shafts, wine-vases within sunk niches and geometrical floral designs gracing the piers between the arches. The chhatris have beautiful carved columns with hexagonal bases. The stone brackets occupy the spaces just below the chajja, while beautifully carved friezes are above it. And white marble is inlaid underneath the dome. The friezes of the chhaparkhats were originally covered with glazed tiles and have pyramidal roof. Traces of floral paintings can still be seen in the corners that tells about the former beauty of the tomb.
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