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.
Fond of hunting, Emperor Shah Jahan had many palaces and pavilions constructed at imperial reserves. The reserve at Bari was the largest and the best stocked, motivating the construction of the Lal Mahall for the Emperor to visit almost every year. Situated at the edge of the lake, the palace's name is derived from the red stone it is built of. The palace comprises a collection of small buildings that spreads out and has walled enclosures around them.
One of the enclosures has a hammam (bathing house) that overlooks the north end of the lake. A raised walkway ornamented with chhatris (kiosks) links the residential and hammam enclosures to a large pavilion on the east side of the lake. The pavilion consists of three courtyards, each designed following the char bagh pattern (garden divided into four sections). One of the side courtyards was for the use by men while the other was for women. The central courtyard was reserved for imperial use and has the emperor's jharoka (viewing balcony with open lattice work screen) centrally placed in the east wall of the courtyard. The jharoka forms the second level of a low building consisting of several rooms and is covered by a curved roof.
Alfieri, Bianca Maria. Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent. London: Laurence King Publishing, 2000. 259.
Asher, Catherine B. Architecture of Mughal India. New York: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, 1992. 205, 206.