This is the neglected cenotaph, the tomb of Mariam, Emperor Akbar’s wife, mother of Prince Salim, who later succeeded Akbar as Emperor Jahangir in Mughal Throne.
Being the mother of the next emperor, Mariam should have basked in the glory of history. Instead she stays largely overshadowed by other luminous presence of other illustrious wives of Akbar like Jodhabai. May be Mariam had to pay the price of her son’s quest for freedom from the overpowering patriarchal influence of a dominating father; maybe she paid the price for showering her affection towards a lover-son, whose tale of sharing his heart with a danseuse (Anarkali) attained level of legend amongst the ballads of love.
And may be, following that historical tradition, even today, the tomb of Mariam, “Mariam Ka Maqbara” stands in desolation and solitude, isolated at the left hand side of National Highway-2 (Agra to Delhi route), while on the opposite side of the same bustling highway, Sikandra, the tomb of her own husband (Emperor Akbar) basks in glory of attention of tourists coming from world-over.
The only saving grace is: there is a prominent signboard besides the highway that points towards the narrow alley which leads to the tomb, which is situated less than a Km away from the highway with ample car parking space available near the tomb complex.
An overpowering sense of melancholy and solitude touches the heart when one reaches this isolated tomb. Time seems to stand still, a few stray dogs roam about in the manicured garden surrounding the tomb, Archeological Society of India appears to have taken some care and bounded the area with gate; but sadly enough the structure is not as ornate as Sikandra. Or is it that the same is not carefully preserved, the famous Mughal arts so carefully carved out in other Agra monuments, but absent here? The prominent vertical minarets with the distinctive tombs at the top in 4 corners of the monument, a characteristic of Mughal structure is prominent here.
In late afternoon, only a few locales prevail nearby; as the sun sets in, a strange sense of desolation engulfs the place. This beautiful tomb requires more attention from the tourist fraternity and ministry as a whole for a facelift and bringing it to the tourism mainstream so that more people visits it and the place becomes prominent.
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