AGRA, India — Unlike the legend of the “Black Taj Mahal,” the so-called “Baby Taj” actually exists.
Formally known as the Tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah, the 17th century Mughal mausoleum is considered something of a first draft of its better known brethren, iconic building and World Heritage Site, the Taj Mahal.
The tomb was built between 1622 and 1628, primarily “from red sandstone with marble decorations, as in Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi and Akbar’s tomb in Sikandra – to its second phase, based on white marble and pietra dura inlay,” Wikipedia writes.
The mausoleum was commissioned by Nūr Jahān, the wife of Jahangir, for her father Mirzā Ghiyās Beg, originally a Persian Amir in exile, who had been given the title of I’timād-ud-Daulah (pillar of the state). Mirzā Ghiyās Beg was also the grandfather of Mumtāz Mahāl (originally named Arjūmand Bāno, daughter of Asaf Khān), the wife of the emperor Shāh Jahān, responsible for the construction of the Tāj Mahal. Nur Jehan was also responsible for the construction of the Tomb of Jehangir at Lahore.
Up close, it’s even more dazzling.