23. No good general description of the buildings at Agra, Sikandra, and Fathpur-Sikri exists. The following list indicates the beat treatises available.
(1) Syad Muhammad Latif—Agra, Historical and Descriptive., &c.; 8vo, Calcutta, 1896, Useful, but crude and badly illustrated.
(2) E. W. Smith—The Moghul Architecture of Fathpur-Sikri; 4 Parts, 4to, Government Press, Allahabad, 1894-8.
(3) Same author—Moghul Colour Decoration of Agra; 4to, Government Press, Allahabad, 1901.
(4) Same author—Akbar’s Tomb, Sikandarah; posthumous; 4to, Allahabad Government Press, 1909.
The three works by Mr. E. W. Smith are magnificently illustrated and worthy of the subject.
(5) Nur Baksh—’The Agra Fort and its Buildings’, in A.S. Annual Report for 1903-4, pp. 164-93.
(6) Moin-ud-din—The History of the Taj, &c.; thin 8vo, 116 pp.; Moon Press, Agra, 1905. Useful, as being the only book devoted to the Taj and connected buildings, but crude and inadequate.
The Archaeological Survey of India, since its reorganization, has not had time to study the Taj buildings, except for conservation purposes. The report by Mr. Carlleyle on the minor remains at and near Agra in A.S.R., vol. iv, 1874, is almost worthless.
In 1873 Major Cole prepared a handsome volume entitled Illustrations of Buildings near Muttra and Agra, &c.
Some information, to be used with caution, is to be found in gazetteers of different dates.
The brief observations in Fergusson’s History of Indian and Eastern Architecture (ed. 1910) are of permanent value. The plan of the editor’s work, A History of Fine Art in India and Ceylon (H. F. A.), Oxford, 1911, does not permit of detailed descriptions. The well-known little Handbook by Mr. H. G. Keene contains many errors and is unworthy of the author’s reputation as an historian.
A good guide-book, prepared with knowledge and accuracy, is badly wanted. It would be difficult to find an author possessed of the needful local knowledge and sufficiently well read to compile a satisfactory book. An adequate illustrated history of the Taj buildings on the lines of Mr. E. W. Smith’s work on Fathpur-Sikri is much to be desired, but would be a formidable undertaking, and is not likely to be written for a long time to come. Perhaps some wealthy admirer of Akbar and his achievements may appear and provide the considerable funds required for the preparation of the desired treatise. The Christian antiquities of Agra also deserve systematic treatment. At present the information on record is in a chaotic state.
Bharatpur—Dig—Want of employment for the Military and the Educated Classes under the Company’s Rule.