Monday, November 22, 2004

Shah Jahan

Padshah Shah Jahan I (January 5, 1592 - January 22, 1666) was the ruler of the Mughal Empire from 1627 until 1658.Although a grandson of the Muslim apostate
Akbar the Great he was a firmly orthodox Muslim who initiated forty-eight military campaigns against non-Muslims in less than thirty years. Following the Ottoman
practice, on coming to the throne in 1628 he killed all his male relations except one who escaped to Persia.In Benares during his reign 76 Hindu temples were
destroyed, as well as Christian churches at Agra and Lahore. At the end of the three month siege of the Portuguese enclave of Hugh, he had ten thousand inhabitants
massacred and four thousand were later killed after refusing to convert to Islam.He commissioned the building of the Taj Mahal in Agra, for his first wife Empress
Mumtaz Mahal (meaning 'the first lady of the palace')
milf.Shah Jahan had 5,000 concubines and also conducted affairs with his daughters Chamani and Jahanara. But
for the last five years of his life he was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb in a room Agra Fort, tended only by his eldest daughter Jahanara Begum, with a direct view
of the building. This was punishment for his endorsing Dara Shikoh, Aurangzeb's older brother in the fight for succession, but it was a better fate than he might have
expected; most Mughal Emperors killed their fathers upon succession.


Islamic architecture is the entire range of architecture that has evolved from Islam as a social, cultural, political and religious phenomenon. Hence the term
encompasses religious buildings as well as secular ones, historic as well as modern expressions and the production of all places that have come under the varying
levels of Islamic influence.
Another distinctive sub-style is the architecture of the Mughal Empire in India in the 16th century. Blending Islamic and Hindu elements, the emperor Akbar
constructed the royal city of Fatehpur Sikri, located 26 miles west of Agra, in the late 1500s.
The most famous example of Mughal architecture is the Taj Mahal, the "teardrop on eternity", completed in 1648 by the emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife
Mumtaz Mahal who died while giving birth to their 14th child. The extensive use of precious and semiprecious stones as inlay and the vast quantity of white marble
required nearly bankrupted the empire. The Taj Mahal is completely symmetric other than the sarcophagus of Shah Jahan which is placed off center in the crypt room
below the main floor. This symmetry extended to the building of an entire mirror mosque in red sandstone to complement the Mecca-facing mosque place to the west
of the main structure.