Etmad Ud Daulah

Itmad ud Daulaf, or Etmad Ud Daulah, if you pronounce it the way we do in Hindi, is the place where the parents of Nur Jehan were buried. The photograph above is the entrance to the main tomb enclosure and the gardens. The tomb has been built on the left bank of the Yamuna, which you can see as you walk to the gardens at the back.

Jehangir was the son of Akbar, and the fourth of the great Mughal Emperors. He ruled for 22 years, from the death of his father. Those were troubled times indeed, much like our own. Soon after Jehangir came to power, one of his sons wanted to overthrow him. The son was defeated, and blinded by his father. The fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Angad, who aided the young fellow, was tortured for five days, and then he disappeared.

Many years later, another young fellow, who later called himself Shah Jehan, murdered his brother, to ensure that there would be no opposition to his own accession to the throne.

Jehangir was a highly tolerant king, barring the Sikhs, and he had a highly elevated sense of justice. His twentieth wife, (and this shows he had stamina!), was Nur Jehan. She was by far his favourite, and as he increasingly battled his addiction to opium and alcohol, she became the real power behind the throne.

Mirza Ghiyas Beg, Nur Jehan’s father came from Persia. He was received by Akbar and rose quickly. He was an important official in Jehangir’s court, and was the grandfather of Mumtaz Mahal, who is the inspiration behind the Taj. In that sense, we can credit Mirza Ghiyas Beg for two of the more famous tombs in India.

It was a cloudy day when I went to the Etmad Ud Daulah. The photo above shows the main building in which the tomb has been housed. I took a low shot, to emphasise the walkway leading up to the tomb, and to dramatise the trees and the clouds. The gardens are on either side of the walkway. The Mughals loved their gardens, and the gardens in all the major structures that I have seen are truly beautiful.
Some people believe that this tomb is historically significant from an architectural perspective as well. Prior to this, most Mughal structures, including the Sikandra, had been made of red sandstone. The Etmad Ud Daulah has been built in marble, with an incredible amount of inlay work. This practice of using pietra dura inlay was perfected in the Taj.
Nur Jehan commissioned the building of the Etmad Ud Daulah. She was, later, interred in her own tomb in Lahore, Pakistan, quite close to Jehangir’s tomb. After Jehangir’s death in 1628, she was interred in a comfortable mansion for the rest of her life. 
Quite possibly, she did not realise that, with the building of the Etmad Ud Daulah, she also planted the seeds for the construction of the most famous tomb of all – the Taj Mahal. She was indeed a most incredible woman who, in my opinion, deserves a more prominent place in Indian history than has been accorded to her. 

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