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Photographer's Note

Generally, Mughal tombs may be classed as either having a dome or not having a dome. Of the latter, the most notable examples include (1) the tomb of Akbar at Sikandra, (2) tomb of Mariam uz-Zamani (Jahangir's mother) at Sikandra and just west of Akbar's, (3) and (4) Nur Jahan's and Jahangir's tombs at Shahdara north of Lahore, and (5) the tomb of Ghiyas Beg and Asmat Begum (a twofer) in Agra. Perhaps and arguably the most representative of the no-dome types is that of Mariam uz-Zamani in that the architects, working at the same time as those designing the tomb of Ghiyas Beg, were concerned to create what, may be called, a skyline profile for the structure. In the case of Mariam's and Akbar's, this involved the placement of chhatris at the corners of the roofline and chhaparkhats (oblong pavilions with eight pillars) over the four iwans on the mausoleum.

Now the tomb of Ghiyas Beg is small, having a footprint on the platform of only 23 (or 21) square metres. So, the architects added chhatris at the corners of the rooftop, and they extended these my mounting them on short minarets. They were not able to incorporate iwans into the sides of the mausoleum (these they left for the gates). Accordingly, it was not appropriate to mount chhaparkhats on the roof. What they did was construct one chhaparkhat, seven metres square in shape (rather than rectangular) and filled in the space between the pillars with jalis (screens). This was placed in the centre of the roof and it houses the replica cenotaphs for Nur Jahan's mother and father.

The rooftop structures are decorated on top with inverse lotus blossoms and finials, with the square pavilion having four finials. Between the minarets, there is a marble railing with jalis of alternating delicate geometric designs.

I did not visit Mariam uz-Zamani's tomb*, now, to my regret, but I suggest that TE members may like to look at a photo elsewhere on the Internet. Google Earth has a selection.

* This tomb contains only cenotaphs, one on the ground level and one on the roof. The tomb with her body in it** reposes in a chhatri-like structure west off Tantpur Road, Agra, in an area known as Jyoti Nagar. She died in 1622 CE. Geo coordinates are 27.10.00.59 N and 77.58.59.55 E (east of the Agra airport).

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Viewed: 1988
Points: 4
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Additional Photos by Ken Boulter (Sardonik) Silver Note Writer [C: 2 W: 0 N: 957] (1979)
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