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 an emperor of the Mughal dynasty of India. He was the son of Mughal emperor Jahangir and his Rajput wife Manmati. His given name was Prince Khurram and 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").
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. Upon his ascent to the throne, he had a number of family members executed to prevent challenges to his power.
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.1
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 and including 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. When Shah Jahan fell ill in 1657/1067 AH, Awrangzib took the opportunity to dethrone his father and imprison him, claiming for himself the succession of Mughal rule. Shah Jahan recovered from his illness but remained imprisoned at the Red Fort of Agra, dying ten years later in 1666/1076.
Lahore is the site of the first Mughal conquests in India. Situated between the Mughal centers and the strongholds of Kabul, Multan, and Kashmir, the city had great strategic importance for the empire. It became the most important Mughal city after Agra, until Shahjahanabad eclipsed them both. Akbar rebuilt an earlier fort on the site, enlarging and strengthening it by replacing the original clay walls with solid brick masonry. Lahore fortress is contemporary to Agra Fort, and is based on the same formal organization, although it is smaller (roughly 365X304 m or 1200X1000 feet), and distinguished by strong Persian stylistic influences, as well as the Hindu influences also apparent at the Agra and Delhi forts. Akbar's successors Jahangir, Shah Jahan, and other Mughal, and later Sikh, rulers would make revisions, replacing many of the original buildings, but the scheme seems to have been preserved.
The high outer walls are decorated with blue kashi tiles of Persian origin. The fort has two distinct sections: the 'private', palatial section, and the administrative section, including areas for royal audiences. The residential section is arranged in courts along the northern half of the fort, and is accessed by the Hathi Pol, or 'elephant gate'. The northeastern section, which includes red sandstone buildings, is the oldest part of the residences, and was built in Akbari times. The Bari Khwabgah, or 'large bedroom', is attributed to Jahangir, and the Choti Khwabgah, in white marble, is a later addition by Shah Jahan. The Mussaman Burj, Naulakha Pavilion, and the Shish Mahal, known as the 'hall of mirrors', also by Shah Jahan, are examples of the ornate architecture in fine white marble work he brought to the Fort.
The more public, administrative section is organized in a layer that conceals the private one. It is accessed from the Alamgiri Gate, built by Awrangzib (1658-1707), which leads into the large courtyard of the Diwan-i-Amm, or hall of public audience. The Fort also contains gardens and a mosque, the white marble Moti Mosque by Shah Jahan.
Asher, Catherine. 1992. The New Cambridge History of India: Architecture of Mughal India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 224-6.
Tillotson, G.H.R.. 1990. Mughal India. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. pp. 131-37.
Koch, Ebba. 1991. Mughal Architecture. Munich: Prestel. pp. 60-61, 84-85.