Also called Sikandra, the tomb of Akbar the Great is situated on the main Agra-Delhi road. This is the first monument you will see on your way to Agra. This monument is considered the perfect example of the mixture of five different architectural styles: Hindu, Islamic, Christian, Buddhist, and Jain.
Akbar himself proposed its construction in around 1600, based on the tradition of Tartary, wherein one should start the construction of his tomb during his lifetime. He planned his tomb and chose a suitable site for it. After his death, his son Jahangir completed the construction from 1605 to 1613.
The first floor houses a vast corridor and platform roofed by concrete arches in every façade. The second floor has an arched veranda and is built on red sandstone. The third and fourth floors use similar plans, although they trim down in size the floors ascend. The fifth and topmost floor is made of white marble with no roof.
Akbar’s tomb is often seen as the transition between the traditional Mughal architecture, which greatly uses the red sandstone, and the new architecture style, which used white marble as the principal element with intricate carvings and ornaments. From an architectural standpoint, construction of the tomb of Akbar the Great marked a remarkable turning point in Mughal architecture. The construction saw an evident change from using red sandstone — which was an integral element of Mughal architecture — to white marble later on.
The tomb of Akbar the Great comprise of two buildings – the mausoleum and the massive gate — which are connected to each other through a broad pathway. The huge gate called Gateway of Magnificence (Buland Darwaza) consists of four marble minarets on top of the chattri and huge archway. It is even more fascinating than the tomb itself.
There is a straight pathway ahead of the gateway to the tomb and both sides have well-manicured char baghs. Surprisingly, such Mughal garden is filled with deers and antelopes grazing idly.
The mausoleum’s architecture is noteworthy as it is a great example of the combination of red sandstone and marble. It is better not to stay too long on the courtyard as you might be attacked by monkeys that can be very aggressive. Inside, you will find the cenotaph in a small sober room through a highly decorated vestibule, filled with arabesque, floresque, and calligraphic designs.
The tomb of Akbar the Great will remind you of the Taj Mahal. The front façade of the tomb features elaborate inlays and engravings. This structure displays the replica of the tomb while the original tomb of Akbar is positioned underneath the replica. The path to it is a dark stairway that leads you downstairs.
Other chambers housed in the tomb of Akbar the Great are the graves of Shukru-n-nisa and Aram Banu (daughters of Akbar), Sulaiman Shikoh (son of Shah Alam), and Zebu-n-nisa (daughter of Aurangzeb). The tranquility inside the entire compound is distinctive for such great site. You can sit amidst the quietness of the lush gardens in carefree nonchalance. The crowd inside is well-behaved as well.