Akbar's tomb, Sikanadarah [Sikandra], India (Kohinoor was once set in pillar beyond kneeling man)
Photographer: Ricalton, James
Medium: Photographic print
Stereoscopic photograph of Akbar's Tomb at Sikandra in Uttar Pradesh, taken by James Ricalton in c. 1903, from The Underwood Travel Library: Stereoscopic Views of India. Akbar's tomb (r.1556-1605) was completed by his son Jahangir in 1614. This five storey building is set in a vast square garden of the char-bagh (four-plot) plan, divided into quarters by red sandstone causeways containing water channels, interspersed with fountains and ponds. The ground-level storey comprises a set of arched recesses with a tall rectangular central gateway topped by a marble kiosk. The cenotaph sits on the top, fifth storey which is open to the sky, directly above the grave in the chamber below. It is inscribed with the ninety-nine names of Allah and intricate floral motifs. This is one of a series of 100 photographs, designed to be viewed through a special binocular viewer, producing a 3D effect. The series was sold together with a book of descriptions and a map to enable the 'traveller' to imagine that he was really touring around India. Stereoscopic cameras, those with two lenses and the ability to take two photographs at the same time, were introduced in the mid 19th century and revolutionised photography. They cut down exposure time and thus allowed for some movement in the image without blurring as subjects were not required to sit for long periods to produce sharp results.