Akbar succeeded his father in 1556 under the regency of Bairam Khan, a Turkoman noble, whose energy in repelling pretenders to the throne, and severity in maintaining the discipline of the army, tended greatly to the consolidation of the newly recovered empire.
Bairam, however, was naturally despotic and cruel; and when order was somewhat restored, Akbar found it necessary to take the reins of government into his own hands, which he did by a proclamation issued in March 1560.
The emperor not only freely pardoned him, but magnanimously offered him the choice of a high place in the army or a suitable escort for a pilgrimage to Mecca, and Bairam preferred the latter alternative.
When his father died he was absent in the Punjab, fighting the revolted Afghans, under the guardianship of Bairam Khan, a native of Badakshan, whose military skill largely contributed to recover the throne for the Mogul line.
In 1801 Saud, son of the amir Abdul Aziz, led an expedition to the Euphrates, and on the festival of Bairam, the 10th of April, stormed Kerbela, put the defenders to the sword, destroyed the sacred tomb, scattered the sacred relics and returned laden with the treasures, accumulated during centuries in the sanctuary of the Shia faith.