Agra is, of course, world-famous for that most admired of buildings, the Taj Mahal – the mausoleum built by the fifth Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz.
Agra ought also to be equally famous for what is locally called the Baby Taj, or to give it its proper name, the Itimad-Ud-Daulah.
It lies on the eastern bank of the Yamuna river, away from the center of Agra and the Taj Mahal and is a fine, dainty, inlaid-box of a building set among trees and formal gardens.
Like the Taj Mahal, it also is a mausoleum. It is older than the Taj Mahal and was built in memory of Mirza Ghiyas Beg, who was the Chief Minister to Jehangir, the emperor who preceded Shah Jahan.
The mausoleum was built by Mirza Ghiyas Beg’s daughter Nur Jahan, who was the wife of Jehangir and it followed the pattern of the period – that of building mausoleums on the banks of a river.
And so I learned that it is not by chance that the Taj Mahal is also built by a river – in this case the western bank of the Yamuna river – where it is flanked by the red sandstone walls and towers, as here in this photo.