The Unknown Monuments – 2
This is the third part in the series Explore India – Agra, Beyond Taj Mahal. In the first part we had talked about some Lesser Known Monuments https://amanjul.wordpress.com/2017/03/02/explore-india-agra-beyond-taj-mahal-the-lesser-known-monuments/.
In the second part we had talked about few of the unknown sites https://amanjul.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/explore-india-agra-beyond-taj-mahal-the-unknown-monuments-1/. These are the sites with ample architectural value and historical importance; they help in recreating the missing links and understanding the Mughal Empire in a better way.
This is the part B of the compilation of these sites.
Itbari’s Khan’s Mosque
On the Agra Delhi road (NH 19) close to Sikandra there is a small monument which generally is missed out. It’s a small three arched mosque measuring 13×10 feet surmounted by a dome. A Persian inscription carved in relief on three panels above the arches informs that Itbari Khan (a Khawajasara) who had been accorded with the status of a noble by Emperor Jahangir had built this mosque for Khwajah Kafur in 1605 AD (Hijri 1015). Khwajah Kafur was probably a Sufi saint, the mosque along with few living rooms and a well was built for him. (The rooms are no longer there and the well also was filled up).
Itbari Khan was the Nazir (Superintendent) of Emperor Jahangir’s harem. True to his title ‘Itibar’ (meaning trustworthy), he was extremely loyal to the emperor. He was made the Governor of Agra in 1622 AD with the charge of defence of the fort and treasury. In 1623 AD, Itbari Khan defended the Agra fort against the attempt made by rebel prince Shah Jahan. For this he was given the title of “Mumtaz Khan’ and mansab of 6000 Zat and 500 Sawar. He died in the same year.
Ititbar Khan’s tomb ‘Rauzah’ (garden tomb) was also situated in the neighbourhood. The monument is under Archaeological Survey of India.
Statue of Akbar’s horse
The life size statue of horse carved out of single block of red sandstone stands in the enclosure of Itibari Khan’s mosque. The statue dates back to AD 1580-1605. According to a legend it is said the Emperor Akbar rode his favourite horse from Delhi till this place, a distance of 195 km. The horse died due to exhaustion and was buried. Emperor had this statue installed on the grave of the horse. The statue was originally found near a railway line just behind the present boundary and was shifted to the present place in 1922 AD.
It is said that during the same construction work (when the horse statue was moved) the rooms behind the mosque and a tomb (probably of Itibari Khan) was damaged and finally nothing much except rubble is left of these things.
Rauza Diwanji Begum & mosque (Tomb of Diwanji Begum & Mosque)
Located right in the busy heart of Agra city in Billochpur, a locality of Mauzas Basai and Tajganj is the tomb of someone closely related to Shahjahan and Jehangir along with a mosque.
This is the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal aka Arjumand Bano’s mother Diwanji begum, daughter of Khwaja Ghias-ud-Din Qaziwani, wife of Asif Khan (brother of Noor Jehan).
The tomb or Rauza today is in ruins, the super structure has fallen down, the Cenotaph Chamber is intact but the grave is missing. The building is flanked by four corner towers and according to a Persian inscription the construction date is mentioned as 1677 AD. It was built upon a square raised platform.
The mosque rectangular in plan built of red sand stone stands on a highly elevate podium. The mosque has three domes (like a crown) with the middle one being larger than the other two. The mosque is made in Shah Jahani architectural style-the architecture was characterised by symmetry and balance between the parts of the building. The bulk of Mughal architecture under Shah Jahan was meant to serve as an imperial setting, which had taken on a specific air of formality. Shah Jahan had had used architecture to project the emperor’s formal and ‘semi-divine’ character. He had built many more mosques than did his predecessors and used this building type to project his official image as the ‘upholder of Islam’. According to a Persian inscription the construction date is mentioned as 1677 AD.
All these are ASI protected monuments.
Watch out for many more of such unknown monuments in the next part.