It is located at Sikandra, in the suburbs of Agra, on the Mathura road (NH2), 8 km west-northwest of the city center. About 1 km away from the tomb, lies, Tomb of Mariam-uz-Zamani, his favourite wife, who after the death of Akbar laid a large garden around his tomb and was later buried there by her son, Jahangir.
After Akbar's death, his son Jahangir planned and completed the construction of his father's tomb in 1605–1613. It cost 1,500,000 rupees to build and took 3 or 4 years to complete. Mariam-uz-Zamani, after the death of her husband, Akbar, laid a large garden around his tomb.
During the reign of Aurangzeb, Jats rose in rebellion under the leadership of Raja Ram Jat. Mughal prestige suffered a blow when Jats ransacked Akbar's tomb, plundering and looting the gold, jewels, silver, and carpets. The grave was opened and the late king's bones were burned.
As Viceroy of India, George Curzon directed extensive repairs and restoration of Akbar's mausoleum, which were completed in 1905. Curzon discussed the restoration of the mausoleum and other historical buildings in Agra in connection with the passage of the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act in 1904, when he described the project as "an offering of reverence to the past and a gift of recovered beauty to the future". This preservation project may have discouraged veneration of the mausoleum by pilgrims and people living nearby.
The south gate is the largest, with four white marble chhatri-topped minarets, which are similar to (and pre-date) those of the Taj Mahal, and is the normal point of entry to the tomb. The tomb itself is surrounded by a walled enclosure 105 m square. The tomb building is a four-tiered pyramid, surmounted by a marble pavilion containing the false tomb. The true tomb, as in other mausoleums, is in the basement. The buildings are constructed mainly from a deep red sandstone, enriched with features in white marble. Decorated inlaid panels of these materials and a black slate adorn the tomb and the main gatehouse. Panel designs are geometric, floral and calligraphic, and prefigure the more complex and subtle designs later incorporated in Itmad-ud-Daulah's tomb.
Circumferential gallery around the cenotaph
- Tomb of Mariam-uz-Zamani, tomb of the chief queen consort of Akbar
- Tomb of Jahangir, tomb of Akbar's successor
- Humayun's Tomb, tomb of Akbar's father
- Bagh-e Babur, tomb of Akbar's grandfather
- Hindu Shah, Muhammad Qasim (1595–1612). Gulshan-I-Ibrahimi. Vol. 2. p. 143.
Akbur, after this conquest, made a pilgrimage to Khwaja Moyin-ood-Deen Chishty at Ajmere and returned to Agra; from whence he proceeded to visit the venerable Sheikh Sulim Chishty, in the village of Seekry. As all the king's children had hitherto died, he solicited the Sheikh's prayers, who consoled him, by assuring him he would soon have a son, who would live to a good old age. Shortly after, his favourite sooltana, being then pregnant, on Wednesday the 17th of Rubbee-ool-Awul, in the year 997 was delivered of a son, who was called Sulim.
- Aziz, Al (12 August 1905). Selections from the Native Newspapers Published in the United Provinces of Agra & Oudh. p. 262. JSTOR saoa.crl.25922623.
- "The Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri; or, Memoirs of Jahangir. Translated by Alexander Rogers. Edited by Henry Beveridge".
- Catherine Blanshard Asher, Catherine Ella Blanshard Asher, 1992, "Architecture of Mughal India - Part 1", Cambridge University Press, Volume 4, Page 108.
- Edward James Rap; son, Sir Wolseley Haig and Sir Richard, 1937, "The Cambridge History of India", Cambridge University Press, Volume 4, pp.305.
- Waldemar Hansen, 1986, "The Peacock Throne: The Drama of Mogul India", Page 454.
- Rajagopalan, Mrinalini (Summer 2011). "From loot to trophy: the vexed history of architectural heritage in imperial India" (PDF). International Institute for Asian Studies. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
- "Fascinating monuments, timeless tales". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 22 September 2003. Archived from the original on 29 October 2003.
- Akbar's Tomb Archived 2010-06-19 at the Wayback Machine Archnet.org.
- Akbar's Tomb Architecture of Mughal India, Part 1, Volume 4, by Catherine Ella Blanshard Asher. Cambridge University Press, 1992. ISBN 0-521-26728-5. p. 107.
- Keene, Henry George (1899). "Sikandra". A Handbook for Visitors to Agra and Its Neighbourhood (6 ed.). Thacker, Spink & Co. p. 43.
- Havell, Ernest Binfield (1904). "Sikandra". A Handbook to Agra and the Taj, Sikandra, Fatehpur-Sikri, and the Neighbourhood. Longmans, Green & Co., London.
- ASI's page on Akbar's tomb
- A painting of the tomb by William Purser, engraved by J Rolph, as an illustration to Template:Ws, a poem by Letitia Elizabeth Landon.