Nur al-Din Muhammad Salim Jahangir Padishah (Translated)
Jahangir, Emperor of Hindustan (Translated)
Jihangir (Alternate transliteration)
Jehangir (Alternate transliteration)
نور الدين محمد سليم (Alternate)
Nur al-Din (Transliterated)
Nur-ud-Din (Alternate transliteration)
Nuruddin (Alternate transliteration)
سلطان سليم ساه (Formerly known as)
Sultan Salim Shah (Transliterated)
Salim Shah (Transliterated)
Jahangir was the fourth Mughal Emperor of India. The imperial name Jahangir means "World Seizer," and was chosen at the time of his accession to the throne in 1605/1014 AH. His given name was Muhammad Salim and he also took the honorific name (laqab) Nur al-Din, meaning "Light of the Faith."
Jahangir's most significant contributions fell in the patronage of culture. He wrote his own memoir, known as the Tuzuk-i Jahangiri, which includes valuable observations of the people and places he knew. During the period of his rule, art also flourished. Because Jahangir actively commissioned portraits of people as well as studies of the flora and fauna of the northern Indian subcontinent, a rich legacy of painting and drawing has come down to us.
In the political arena Jahangir gradually lost control to his most powerful wife, Nur Jahan, who became a de facto ruler. Not only was she able to influence matters from behind the scenes, but coins were struck in her name and she is even said to have issued firmans. Jahangir's memoir includes several anecdotes pointing to her political ambition and her prowess in regal pastimes like hunting.
Court intrigue was not absent from Jahangir's reign. He had strained relationships with his sons Khusraw and Khurram, both of whom rebelled openly against their father at various points due to fighting over succession to the throne. Khurram would ultimately succeed to the throne as Shah Jahan upon Jahangir's death.
The Tūzuk-I-Jahāngīrī, or Memoirs of Jahāngīr. Translated by Alexander Rogers and edited by Henry Beveridge. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 2003.
The Shalimar Bagh is the celebrated royal garden of Kashmir. The name Shalimar ("abode of love") can be traced back to the name of the structure built by Pravarsena II in the 6th century CE, when the garden was a Hindu sacred site. The Emperor Jahangir was so fascinated with the garden that he called it "one of the sights of Kashmir."
Shalimar Bagh is located on the northeast side of Lake Dal, approximately fifteen kilometers away from the center of Srinagar. It was laid out by Jahangir as Farah Baksh ("the delightful") in 1619, while he was founding the city of Srinagar. In 1630, under the orders of Shah Jahan, the local Kashmiri governor, Zafar Khan, extended the garden under the name of Faiz Baksh ("the bountiful"). Under late Pathan and Sikh governors, Shalimar was treated as a pleasure resort, and during the reign of Ranjit Singh, European visitors were housed in its marble pavilion before the Maharaja Hari Singh installed electric lights. The site of Shalimar seems to have been ideally suited to a garden; it contained a natural canal, and a small nearby spring-fed stream was diverted to the garden site to provide continuous running water.
Covering an area of approximately 12.4 hectares, the garden is rectangular in shape and measures 587 meters long by 251 meters wide. It is oriented northeast to southwest, with the highest point located along the northeast side. Although it is not located directly on the lake shore, it is connected to Lake Dal by a long canal, and the formal approach to the garden is through this canal. It can now also be reached from the road that runs around Lake Dal.
Shalimar Bagh is an adaptation of the formal Persian chahar bagh, traditionally uniform in shape, with a water source in its center and four radiating streams that divide the garden into four sections. Like other Mughal gardens around Lake Dal, Shalimar adapts the chahar bagh to the mountainous topography by emphasizing the central water channel; the secondary channels are minimized or removed from the design, and the source of water shifts from the center of the garden to its highest point. Thus the central water canal of the garden (shah nahar) forms its main axis, uniting the three terraces with their regularly placed fountains and chinar (sycamore) tree-lined vistas. Beginning at the top of the garden, the canal runs through each of the baradaris (pavilions) in the garden. At each terrace, the canal flows into a larger pool, highlighting its baradari. Within the Shalimar Bagh, each of the three terraces had a different function and level of privacy: a public garden (first terrace), a private garden, also called the Emperor's Garden (second terrace) and the zenana (harem) garden, on the third terrace.
One accesses the garden, after arriving by water taxi or by road, through two small pavilions at street level that lead to the public garden on the first terrace. A large baradari, the Diwan-i 'Amm (public audience hall), where the emperor held his daily court when in Kashmir, is located just above the entrance gates. A black marble throne surrounded by water cascades forms the central feature of the Diwan-i 'Amm.
Continuing up along the axial canal to the second terrace, one reaches the (former) Diwan-i Khass, or the private audience hall, accessible only to the noblemen or guests of the court. Of the Diwan-i Khas, only the stone footing remains. The fountain pool of the Diwan-i Khass supplies the canal as it runs down to the Diwan-i 'Amm, and in turn, it is supplied by the fountain pool on the third level, the zenana garden. Moving upward from the second terrace and the Diwan-i Khass, chinar trees flank the axial water channel as it approaches the zenana garden. Two small pavilions mark the beginning of and control the access to the third level, which was reserved for the royal harem. The zenana garden houses a baradari of black marble called the Black Pavilion, which is surrounded by a fountain pool that is supplied from a higher terrace. Behind the pavilion, a double cascade falls against a low wall with small niches (chini khanas) cut into it. Two smaller, secondary water canals lead from the Black Pavilion to small baradari. Above the third level, two octagonal pavilions define the end wall of the garden.
The Shalimar Bagh is well known for its chini khanas, or niches, behind garden waterfalls. These niches, which once held oil lamps, now hold pots of flowers, so that their colors will be reflected behind the flowing water. Today, the garden is a public park.
Brookes, John. Gardens of Paradise: The History and Design of the Great Islamic Gardens. New York: New Amsterdam, 1987.
Findly, Ellison Banks. Nur Jahan, Empress of Mughal India. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.
Moore, Charles Willard, William J. Mitchell, and William Turnbull. The Poetics of Gardens. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1988.
Rehman, Abdul. Earth Paradise - The Garden in the Times of the Great Muslim Empires, 94-96. Lahore: Habib ur Rehman Research Foundation, 2001.
Tillotson, G.H.R. Mughal India, 128-130. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1990.
Wescoat, Jr., James L. and Joachim Wolschke-Bulmahn, eds. Mughal Gardens: Sources, Places, Representations, Prospects. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 1996.