Unhappily, there is reason to believe that the marble slab no longer covers the bones of Akbar. Manucci states positively that ’During the time that Aurangzeb was actively at war with Shiva Ji [scil. the Marathas], the villagers of whom I spoke before broke into the mausoleum in the year 1691 [in words], and after stealing all the stones and all the gold work to be found, extracted the king’s bones and had the temerity to throw them on a fire and burn them’ (Storia do Mogor, i. 142). The statement is repeated with some additional particulars in a later passage, which concludes with the words: ’Dragging out the bones of Akbar, they threw them angrily into the fire and burnt them’ (ibid. ii. 320). Irvine notes that the plundering of the tomb by the Jats is mentioned in detail by only one other writer, Ishar Das Nagar, author of the Fatuhat-I-Alamgiri, a manuscript in the British Museum. Manucci seems to be the sole authority for the alleged burning of Akbar’s bones. I should be glad to disbelieve him, but cannot find any reason for doing so.
Nur Jahan, the Aunt of the Empress Nur Mahal, over whose Remains the Taj is built.
I crossed over the river Jumna one morning to look at the tomb of Itimad-ud-daula, the most remarkable mausoleum in the neighbourhood after those of Akbar and the Taj. On my way back, I asked one of the boatmen who was rowing me who had built what appeared to me a new dome within the fort. ‘One of the Emperors, of course,’ said he. ‘What makes you think so?’
‘Because such things are made only by Emperors,’ replied the man quietly, without relaxing his pull at the oar.