Shihab al-Din Muhammad Khurram Shah Jahan (Transliterated)
شاه جهان (Variant)
Shah Jahan (Transliterated)
Shah Jahan, Emperor of Hindustan (Translated)
Shah Jehan (Alternate transliteration)
Shahjahan (Alternate transliteration)
Śāhajahām̐ (Alternate transliteration)
شهاب الدين محمد (Alternate)
Shihab al-Din (Transliterated)
Shihabuddin (Alternate transliteration)
Shahab al-Din (Alternate transliteration)
Shahabuddin (Alternate transliteration)
صاحب قران سليمان مكاني (Alternate)
Sahib-Qiran Sulayman-Makani (Transliterated)
Shah Jahan ("King of the World") was the fifth emperor of the Mughal dynasty of India. He was the son of Mughal emperor Jahangir. His given name was Prince Khurram, and he also bore the honorific title Shihab al-Din Muhammad ("Meteor of the Faith"). After his death he was given the epithet Sahib Qiran Sulayman Makani ("lord of the conjunction who occupies Solomon's place").2
Prince Khurram's entrance into the world of Mughal court politics had a bumpy start. In 1623/1032 AH he was compelled to arrange the murder of his older brother Prince Khusraw and then rebel against his father Jahangir when his wife Nur Jahan attempted to secure the succession for her son in law. The rebellion was put down, but after Jahangir's death Khurram prevailed in ascent to the throne with the help of his father in law Asaf Khan, becoming emperor as Shah Jahan in 1628/1037 AH.
As emperor, Shah Jahan is known for his campaigns in the Deccan and in Central Asia, both of which submitted to Mughal sovereignty for periods of time during his reign. He is also responsible for expanding the income of the imperial treasury by enlarging the definition of imperial reserved lands.2
With his wealth Shah Jahan commissioned numerous building projects. His most famous commission was the costly and monumental Taj Mahal, a mausoleum constructed for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Among his other prominent commissions were the Shalimar Gardens at Lahore and the Red Fort Complex at Shahjahanabad, a fortified palace-city built on the outskirts of Delhi that included a market place, great mosque, palaces, and riverfront gardens. He ordered the construction of the famed Takht-i Tawus (Peacock Throne), a gold-encrusted and enameled baldachin throne that was used by the Mughals until it was carried off in the sack of Delhi 1739/1151-2 AH.
Trouble surfaced at court when Shah Jahan's four sons began to fight for succession to the throne. The clashes were especially strong between Awrangzib and Dara Shikuh, the eldest son and crown prince. Awrangzib dethroned his father and imprisoned him in 1658/1068 AH, claiming for himself the succession of Mughal rule. Shah Jahan remained imprisoned at the Red Fort of Agra, dying ten years later in 1666/1076 AH.
Jahangir died in Rajauri, as he was leaving Lahore for Kashmir. His body was brought back to Lahore and buried in Nur Jahan's walled garden, the Bagh-i Dilkusha, on the banks of the river Ravi. The grounds of the tomb, which cover 55 acres, are laid out in the classical charbagh pattern, with bisecting perpendicular paths. Entrance is through large northern and southern gates; the southern one is faced in red Sikri sandstone and white marble inlay.
The mausoleum itself is also in red sandstone and floral marble inlay, and consists of an arcaded platform, or takhgah, 84 meters square. On each corner is an octagonal minaret rising in five segments. The shaft is decorated in chevrons of pink and white marble, and a domed kiosk crowns each minaret. Openings on each of the four sides of the platform lead through long corridors to a central, octagonal crypt containing the marble cenotaph resting on a platform, the chabutra. The marble cenotaph is considered one of the finest in India. It is inlaid precious stones set in naturalistic floral patterns, and black calligraphy inscribing the date of Jahangir's death, and the ninety-nine names of God.
Originally, the crypt had a second floor; a platform still exists, built on top of the large square one. Remnants of a marble screen show that it was once enclosed, and traces indicate where a second cenotaph may have stood. It is, however, believed that the second story remained unroofed: before his death, Jahangir, like his ancestor Babur, had requested that his tomb be left open to the sky. To the west of the charbagh tomb garden, there is a related, rectangular enclosure known as the Akbari Seria, which served as the forecourt, or chowk-i jilo khana, for the mausoleum. A small mosque stands at its western wall.
Tillotson, G. H. R. Mughal India, 136. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1990.
Latif, Syad Muhammad. Lahore: Architectural Remains: Its History, Architectural Remains and Antiquities, With an Account of its Modern Institutions, Inhabitants, their Trade, Customs, &c., 104-107. Lahore: New Imperial Press, 1892.
Asher, Catherine. The New Cambridge History of India: Architecture of Mughal India, 172-74. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.