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Notes on the Geography of Northern India: Taj Mahal, Sikandra, and Fatehpur Sikri: Photo 8

world pictures Northern India: Taj Mahal, Sikandra, and Fatehpur Sikri

Akbar's tomb. As was customary, there were two tombs: the real one--this one--and a cenotaph or ornamental tomb several stories above it. Alas, because the terraces that rise above the ground level are closed to the public, you'll have to settle for Fergusson's 19th century description. Above the ground level, he writes, "stands another far more ornate, measuring 186 ft. on each side, and 14 ft. 9 in. in height. A third and fourth, of similar design, and respectively 15 ft 2 in. and 14 ft. 6 in. high, stand on this, all these being of red sandstone. Within and above the last is a white marble enclosure 157 ft. each way, or externally just half the length of the lowest terrace, its outer wall entirely composed of marble trellis-work of the most beautiful patterns. Inside it is surrounded by a colonnade or cloister of the same material, in the centre of which, on a raised platform, is the tombstone of the founder, a splendid piece of the most beautiful arabesque tracery." Fergusson went on to speculate that a dome had been intended to cover the cenotaph but had never been built. Equally likely, the idea was that a tomb open to the sky was closer to God than one under a roof.

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