A Handbook to Agra and the Taj eBook

Ernest Binfield Havel
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 98 pages of information about A Handbook to Agra and the Taj.

The Ram Bagh was the temporary resting-place of the body of Babar before it was taken to Kabul for interment in another of the gardens he loved so much.  The old Mogul style of gardening is a lost art, and one misses in the Ram Bagh the stately rows of cypress, interspersed with flowering trees, the formal flower-beds glowing with colour like a living carpet, which were planted by Babar; but the terraces, the fountain, the water-channels, and the little stone water-shoots—­cunningly carved so that the water breaks over them with a pleasant gurgling sound—­which may have recalled to him the murmurings of his native mountain-streams—­the old well from which the water of the Jumna is lifted into the channels, can still be seen, as well as the pavilions on the river-bank, now modernized with modern bad taste.

In later times the Ram Bagh was the garden-house of the Empress Nur Mahal.  It was kept up by all succeeding Governments, and it is said to have obtained its name of Ram Bagh from the Mahrattas in the eighteenth century.

THE ZUHARA BAGH.—­Between the Chini-ka-Rauza and the Ram Bagh there is another great walled enclosure, which contained the garden-house of Zuhara, one of Babar’s daughters, and is named after her the Zuhara, or Zohra Bagh.  This formerly contained the largest garden-palace at Agra, and is said to have possessed no less than sixty wells.  A great well, just outside the enclosure, 220 feet in circumference, and of enormous depth, was filled up some years ago.


Sikandra, a village about five miles from Agra, and the burial-place of Akbar, is reached by two roads.  The older one follows, to some extent, the alignment of the great military road to Lahore and Kashmir, planned by Babar and completed by his successors.  A few of the kos-minars, pillars which marked off the kos—­a distance of about two and a half miles—­can still be seen along the road, or in the adjoining fields.

Numerous remains of archaeological interest are passed on the way of the old road.  First the Delhi gate of the old city walls.  About a mile further on the right-hand side, is a great walled enclosure, named after Ladli Begam, the sister of Abul Fazl, Akbar’s famous Prime Minister and biographer.  It formerly contained her tomb, as well as that of Sheikh Mubarak, her father, and of Faizi, her eldest brother.  Many years ago the whole enclosure was sold by Government.  The purchasers, some wealthy Hindu merchants of Muttra, promptly pulled down the mausoleum, realized the materials, and built a pavilion on the site.  In front of the great gateway was a splendid baoli, or well-house, the largest in the neighbourhood of Agra.  This was filled up about five years ago.

Not far from Ladli Begam’s garden is the Kandahari Bagh, where the first wife of Shah Jahan, a daughter of Mozaffar Husein, who was the great-grandson of Shah Ismail Safvi, King of Persia, is buried.

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A Handbook to Agra and the Taj from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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