The resting place of Mirza Ghiyas Beg and his wife Asmat Begum, here lies the story of changing fortunes and undying fame. Few know it as the predecessor of the world heritage site Taj Mahal

tomb of i'timad-ud-daulah, photo: ambica gulati

For most tourists, Agra begins and ends with the Taj Mahal. But there is a long story behind the birth of Taj Mahal, lying in the tomb of I’timad-Ud-Daulah, meaning pillar of the state. This is the story of Mirza Ghiyas Beg who rests in peace with his wife Asmat Begum at this tomb, constructed between 1622-28 by his daughter Nur Jahan. We discovered this story on our way back from the Agra Car Rally.

It was spring and birds were chirping. The rays of the sun were dancing over the little Yamuna stream. We tried to capture them in our cameras and then drove over the bridge to be right in front of this little visited building.

Like all Mughal structures, this had an imposing red sandstone entrance with inlaid marble floral carvings. The tablet at the entrance said that we were going to enter the resting place of Nur Jahan’s parents—Mirza Giyas Beg and his wife Asmat Begum. It also gives a clear picture of the architectural layout.

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