Chini Ka Rauza at Agra- A tiled marvel

The Chini Ka Rauza is located further down the road ( about a km away) from the tomb of Itimad ud Daula on the banks of the Yamuna. This is a mausolem built by Shukrullah Shirazi Afzal Khan , the Vazir or Prime Minister of Shahjahan who originally hailed from Shiraz in Iran.

Chini ka Rauza
Chini ka Rauza

Afzal Khan built this mausoleum between 1630-1635 while he was still alive- A prime example of pre-planning indeed !!! This tomb then came in handy when he died in 1639. Although he died in Lahore, his body was brought to Agra for burial since the tomb was already in place. The tomb is known for extremely intricate work made of glazed tiles which were known as ‘ Chini’ in the days of the Moghuls since they were imported from China.

Lovely tile work on the facade of the tomb
Lovely tile work on the facade of the tomb

IMG_0111 Although quite a bit of the tile work has been damaged over the years, what remains is sufficient to provide a glimpse of the original grandeur of the tomb The tomb sadly attracts few visitors today and I saw no one except a few locals loitering there.

Islamic calligraphy in the form of verses from the Koran
Islamic calligraphy in the form of verses from the Koran

IMG_0119 I spotted remnants of intricate paintings inside the arches

Traces of paintings inside the arches
Traces of paintings inside the arches

The motifs are again those recurring in Islamic architecture and relating to daily life and pleasure such as wine bottles, perfume bottles, fruits, flowers, creepers and trees IMG_0123 IMG_0126 The tile work reminded me of similar tile work that I saw on the Gwalior Fort and the similarity was striking particularly in the choice of vibrant blues coupled with striking yellows IMG_0128 IMG_0130 The tile work reminded me of an intricately designed Persian carpet in terms of the layout and patterns which is not that surprising given that the architects employed by the Moghuls also had Persian roots IMG_0131 This tomb is definitely worth a look when in Agra and can be clubbed with the monuments on that side of the Yamuna

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