The empress Nur Jahan (Jahangir's favorite wife) built this small, gorgeous tomb for her father, Mirza Ghiyas Beg (pronounced Baig), a Persian nobleman who became Jahangir's chief minister. Beg was also the grandfather of Mumtaz Mahal, the wife of the emperor Shah Jahan. The monument, one of Agra's loveliest, was supposedly built by workers from Persia. The tomb incorporates a great deal of brown and yellow Persian marble and marks the first use of Persian-style marble inlay in India—both features that would later characterize the style of Shah Jahan. Particularly in its use of intricate marble inlay, this building was a precursor of, and very likely an inspiration for, the Taj Mahal (for this reason it has earned the somewhat goofy nickname of the "Baby Taj"). The roof is arched in the style of Bengali terra-cotta temples, and the minarets are octagonal, much broader than the slender cylinders of the Taj Mahal—in its fine proportions this mausoleum almost equals that masterpiece.
Inside, where the elegant decoration continues, the central chamber holds the tombs of Itimad-ud-Daulah and his wife; other relations are buried in adjacent rooms. Most travelers to Agra never see this place, but its beauty and tranquillity are extraordinary, and its well-maintained gardens make it a wonderful place to pause and reflect.