The Garden Guide

Book: C.M Villiers Stuart Gardens of the Great Mughals
Chapter: Chapter 2 Gardens of the Plains - Agra

Sikandra design as cosmic symbol

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Sikandrah is laid out on this plan of the cosmic cross, in a huge square enclosure with high battlemented walls. In the midst, raised on a wide platform, stands the mausoleum, on each side of which are tanks with central fountains supplying the water for the narrow canals which once ran down the centre of the raised stone pathways. The mausoleum was commenced by Akbar himself. Mr. Havell, in his book on Agra, draws attention to the fact that-'It is different in plan from any other Mughal monument, and, contrary to the usual Mohammedans' custom, the head of the tomb of Akbar is turned towards the rising sun, and not towards Mecca. The whole structure gives the impression of a noble but incompleted idea; both in its greatness and in its incompleteness, it is typical of Akbar and his work.' The tomb of India's greatest Emperor fitly combines both Hindu and Moslem traditions. Even the present park of grass and scattered trees, crossed by the raised stone walks, preserves in bare outline something of the garden's ancient symbolism.