The mausoleum of Akbar at Secundra near Agra.
Photographer: Bourne, Samuel
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of Akbar's Mausoleum, at Sikandara, taken by Samuel Bourne in the 1860s. Akbar (r.1556-1605) was an energetic and innovative ruler who succeeded in being a significant unifying force in India. His syncretism was reflected in the architecture built during his reign, including his tomb which blends Persian and Hindu elements. Dated inscriptions show that it completed by Akbar's son Jahangir in 1614. It 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, exactly above the grave in the chamber below. It is inscribed with the ninety-nine names of Allah and intricate floral motifs.