Roman Catholic Cemetery, Agra

This is the tomb of col John William hessing who was dutch and came to Ceylon s a free-lance Adventurer. He participated in the battle of Kandy in 1765. Then he served Nizam of Hyderabad and in 1784, entered the service of Maratha chief Mahadji Sindhia. He fought several battles under the command of French general Do Boigne. Mahad ji trusted him the most and hessing accompanied him in poona in 1792. On Mahadji’s death there in 1794, He returned to Agra which was held by the Marathas. He was made commandant of fort and its Maratha garrison in 1799. He died here on 21st July 1803. The fort was captured by British same year. The Red Taj Mahal or John William Hessing’s Tomb was built by his wife in the memory of her husband.

If Taj Mahal is known for the love of a husband for his wife, then on the other hand, the Red Taj Mahal is known for the love of a wife for her husband. It was built by Ann Hessing, wife the Dutch Soldier after his death in 1803 A.D. Who was Colonel John William Hessing? Colonel John William Hessing was in military services working with various rulers in India. He was hailed from Utrecht, Holland. He came to Ceylon for military services of Dutch E.I. Company in 1752 A.D. He was part of troops capturing Candia. He returned Holland after five years of war.This tomb stands on a square platform which is 11-1/4 feet high and 58 feet side, containing a crypt with the real grave and corridor around it. An octagonal Chabutara is attached to each-corner in the form of a mini-tower. Twin stairways are also attached to it on the western of side with a platform measuring 22*8-3/4 feet.

The tomb reposed effectively in the middle of main platform. It is square in plan with 34-3/4 feet side and 28-1/2 feet in height. Each façade has an iwan in the middle, flanked on either side of ornamental double peshtaq (Alcoves). It is essentially a mugal design. Slender turrets are attached to the central iwan-frame. They are crowned by pinnacles. Square turrets, 2 feet side are attached to the corner of the tomb. These have vertical flutes and are surrounded by beautiful square chhatris. The tomb is roofed by a double dome, crowned by mahapadma (Sheath of lotus petals) and Kalash finial. With pinnacles and chhatris of the turrets, it makes up a perfect superstructure. The interior is square chamber 17-3/4 feet side with ribs and panels soffit. The Cenotaph bears an inscription in English.

As a whole it is perfectly balanced and beautiful building and rightly called “The Taj in Miniature”. This is in fact the most beautiful tomb of a European in Agra and probably in India. Though a Dutch tomb it belongs, in letter and spirit to Agra and to the art of the Jamuna-Chambal region. It marks continuance of Mugal ‘ideas’ feelings and skills in the 19th century A.D.


Very near to Bhagwan Cinema on MG Road. It is a bit difficult to locate this place and not much help you can expect from the locals. While going towards AnjanaCinema from Bhagwan Cinema. it falls on the left side.

Visiting hours:

Like every other monument, its open from sunrise to sunset.

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