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Photographer's Note

In my travelogue, I am slowly approaching the highlight - Taj Mahal.

Itmad-ud-Daula's Tomb a Mughal mausoleum in Agra. Often described as 'jewel box', sometimes called the 'Baby Tāj', it is often regarded as a draft of the Tāj Mahal.

Along with the main building, the structure consists of numerous outbuildings and gardens. The tomb, built between 1622 and 1628 represents a transition between the first phase of monumental Mughal architecture - primarily built from red sandstone with marble to its second phase, based on white marble and pietra dura inlay, most elegantly realized in the Tāj Mahal.

The mausoleum was commissioned by Nūr Jahān, the wife of Jahangir, for her father Mirzā Ghiyās Beg, who had been given the title of I'timād-ud-Daulah (pillar of the state). He was also the grandfather of Mumtāz Mahāl.
Located on the left bank of the Yamuna river, the mausoleum is set in a large cruciform garden criss-crossed by water courses and walkways.
The walls are white marble from Rajasthan encrusted with semi-precious stone decorations - cornelian, jasper, lapis lazuli, onyx, and topaz formed into images of cypress trees and wine bottles, or more elaborate decorations like cut fruit or vases containing bouquets. Light penetrates to the interior through delicate jālī screens of intricately carved white marble.

Meaning "hard stone", pietra dura is intricate inlay work from thin pieces of coloured stones. The pieces are cut to fit together perfectlyThis type of mosaic can look like a painting.

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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 11664 W: 123 N: 29633] (139480)
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