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Shah Jahan

shah jahan

Shahjahan, meaning ‘lord of the world’ (Jan 5,1592- Jan 22, 1666) was the fifth Mughal ruler. Shahjahan (Jan 5, 1592- Jan 22, 1666) was born with the name Khurram to Jahangir and the hindu Rajput Princess Manmati. He was entitled with the rule name Shahjahan when he ascended to the mughal throne.

Prince Khurram was ambitious to win the succession and rebelled against his father in 1622 but was pardoned and succeeded to the throne on his father’s death in 1627. On 24 January 1628 in Agra he assumed the throne as Shah jahan. . Shahjahan’s reign was relatively peaceful and prosperous mainly because of the firm base left by his father and grandfather and probably because he killed all the male members of his family. It is said that Shahjahan executed nearly all the male members of his family in order to ensure political stability. He humiliated other religions in order to identify the glory of Islam. During his reign the Mughal power attained its greatest prosperity and reached its golden age of art and architecture. After ascending to his throne the first step that he took was to expand his empire towards south. After an alliance with the Adilshahi Dynasty Shah jahan defeated the Nizamshahi Kingdom and annexed a large part of his kingdom. He also tried to repeat his success in the northwest frontier of his empire by conquering regions of Kandhar, Balkh and Badakshan in central Asia, but he could not succeed. For him human beings did not existed as individuals and always looked at them in terms of their use .


Shahjahan was lover of art and architecture and was even successful as patron of art and architecture. And more than anything else Shahjahan is known for his architectural beauties in India, especially the Tajmahal. It is the masterpiece of his reign erected in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died during childbirth. Shahjahan instantly fell in love with Arjumand while he was at the private market attached to harem, Meena bazaar. There he first saw Arjumand at her shop and was drawn towards her beauty. Shahjahan married her in 1612. In their 19 years of marriage they had 14 children. Mumtaz mahal died during her fourteenth childbirth at the Deccan. It is said that on her death bed Mumtaz asked Shah jahan to build a symbol of love and it took over a decade to build it. Tajmahal is indeed the most beautiful of world’s tombs.


taj mahal shah jahan

Shajahan had passionate interests in architecture and was fascinated by jewellery and paintings. At an early age of fifteen he rebuilds an apartment in Kabul, which depicts his interest in architecture. Shahjahan continued spending lavishly, beginning new construction projects and revamping the old ones. And thus apart from Tajmahal, his architectural legacy includes the structures like pearl mosque, the palace of unbelievable splendor and Masjid-i-Jahan Numa commonly known as Jama Masjid at Delhi are associated with him. Shahjahan built a new capital, near the city of old Delhi, Shahjanabad, with its magnificent Red fort. There Shahjahan sat on the celebrated “peacock throne”, setting the tone for a new era of ceremonial display, also dates from his reign. He also built the Shalimar Gardens, sections of Shahi Quila and Jahangir Masoleulm at Lahore and Black pavilion(Shalimar bagh) at Shrinagar. His massive construction projects employed a mix of Persian palatial sophistication and Hindu engineering knowledge .At his magnificent court literature also flourished.


Shahjahan enjoyed his reign for 30 – years, he remained the emporer until 1657. He fell severely ill beginning 1657 and that triggered of the struggle to succeed him. His sons recognized no kinship in their pursuit of power. His four sons Dara shikoh, Shuja, Murad Baksh and Aurangzeb, began to take steps to secure the succession.The contest itself resolved between Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb, and the latter proved successful. On June 8,1658 Aurangzeb entered Agra and made a captive of his father, and assumed the throne. He was jailed at the Agra fort, from where Shahjahan could look wistfully at the Taj. Shahjahan died in 1666, while he was still under house arrest . Aurangzeb acknowledged the deep love between his parents and buried Shahjahan next to Mumtaz mahal.