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Akbar’s mausoleum

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Given the Mughal tradition of magnificent tombs, it is no surprise that the mausoleum of the most distinguished Mughal ruler was one of the most ambitious structures of its time. Akbar’s mausoleum borders the side of the main highway to Mathura at SIKANDRA, 10km northwest of Agra.

The complex is entered via its huge Buland Darwaza (Great Gate), surmounted by four marble minarets, and overlaid with marble and coloured tiles in repetitive geometrical patterns, bearing the Koranic inscription “These are the gardens of Eden, enter them and live forever”. Through the gateway, extensive, park-like gardens are divided by fine raised sandstone walkways into the four equal quadrants of the typical Mughal charbagh design. Langur monkeys may be seen along the path, while deer roam through the tall grasses, just as they do in the Mughal miniature paintings dating from the era when the tomb was constructed, lending the whole place a magically peaceful and rural atmosphere.

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