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Shah Jahan

General Developments:

• Golden era of Mughal domination was achieved.

• It was the age of marble in the building art.
• Architecture received a new impressiveness during this regime
• All buildings were of a more polished type
• All sand stone buildings were transformed into marble pavilions
• Marble gave scope for delicate ornamentations & fine moldings
• Enrichment was attained by means of inlaid patterns in coloured
• Noticeable alterations in the character of the arch
• The arches and curves were foliated.
• The dome also assumed another form – the bulbous Persian type
• The system of double doming was also derived
• Introduction of pillars with tapering baluster shafts with vaulted
bracket capitals and foliated bases
• The major contributions of Shah Jahan are as follows

 The Taj Mahal – Agra

 Red Fort – Delhi
 Diwani i khas
 Diwani i amm
 The Jamma Masjid – Delhi


• Shah Jahan resolved to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi

• He began to layout the city of Shahjahanabad in 1638
• The site was on the right bank of river jamuna
• The project consisted of a palace fortress in a more comprehensive
• It was formed on the concept of a city within a city
• The whole scheme was executed according to the requirement of one
• The scheme was carried out in a systematic & uniform manner
• The most important portions were designed and executed under the
personal direction of Shah Jahan himself
• The Delhi fort in plan is an oblong shape with 3100 ft in length and
1650 ft wide
• It is aligned from north to south
• The fort enclosed is enclosed within a high and strongly fortified wall
• There are 2 main gateways, one on the west and the other on the south
• The western entry was called ‘Lahore Gate’ and was used as a
ceremonial entry
• The southern entrance was a more private one
• From these gateways two thoroughfares pass into the fort interior
• These two thoroughfares intersecting at right angles towards the
centre of the entire composition
• The Lahore Gate on the west is in the form of a broad gate vaulted
arcade - most imposing
• The two thoroughfares directly link with a large rectangular area and
itself contained within the surrounding walls.
• This gives the effect of an enclosure within an enclosure
• The inner area measures 1600’ by 1150’
• It aligned along the eastern rampart overlooking the river Jamuna
• This accommodates the royal and private apartments
• Outside this on west within the rectangular spaces are the service
quarters, barracks etc.
• The palace enclosed nearly symmetrical in its arrangements resolves
into four parts

1. A large central quadrangle with Diwani i amm

2. & 3. Two square spaces open on each side for ornamental
gardens and courtyards
4. The range of marble palaces

• Every feature in this plan is formal and regular and most of it laid out
in a square
• There is no oblique or curve in the entire scheme

 The range of marble palaces

 The Hammam Mahal
 The Rang Mahal or the hall of audience
 Diwani i khas
 Diwani i amm

The range of marble palaces:

• These palaces are located on the eastern side on a high rampart

• One side facing the gardens on the west and the other facing the river
jammuna on the east
• Originally six palaces were planned with irregular intervals
• Their balconies, oriel windows and other similar openings with their
pillared frontages overlooking the river gives a picturesque
• The outer side of these pavilions were closed with marble screens
• The more stately architectural effect was given to the inner facades
which overlooks the gardens to the west
• The in between spaces were used a terraces with grape gardens with
graceful balusters

The Hammam Mahal :

• It is a luxurious bathing embellishment

• It had a continuous supply of water distributed throughout the
• This was brought by means of a conduit called the Naha I Bashist
• The Hammams were ornamented with fountains, cascades, waterfalls
and pools
• All were enchantingly designed and furnished
• All located near places to furnish the extensive requirements
• The water supply was arranged under and around the marble
pavements of royal pavilions
• Each apartment had all the accompaniments of a water palace
• They made the best use of flowing water with their age old experience
of irrigation for agricultural and the inherit artistic nature of the
craftsmen of India

The Rang Mahal :

• The rang mahal – or the painted palace is the more lavishly decorated
• It may be regarded as the crowning jewel of Shah Jahan’s work at
• It measures 153’ x 69’
• It consists of a main hall in the centre and smaller compartments at
each corner
• The central hall is divided into 15 bays , each 20 sq ft by means of
ornamental piers
• Originally the exterior arches were filled with marble screens
• Triple arched placed across the centre of each exterior side for its
complete privacy
• It also consists of a lotus fountain
• It occupies the entire central bay
• It has a shallow marble basin sunk in the pavement
• The water was perfumed and bubbling out of a lotus ( in silver ) rising
from the centre
• The form of the fountain was also like a lotus
• Both the rang mahal and the audience hall are of similar and common

Diwani I Khas :

• Diwani i Khas is the hall of private audience – it was called so only

for the royal people and noblemen
• The hall measures 90’ x 70’
• The façade consisted of five equal arches
• The interiors were cool and airy
• There was no part enclosed or covered with screens
• Interiors has 15 bays of square shape
• This was divided by square marble piers supporting arches on top
• Flooring of polished marble reflecting the piers and arches
• Piers of inlaid flowers in colour stones
• Arches were foliated with gold and coloured inlaid decoration

Diwani I Am :

• This was used as the hall of public audience

• Not much of decorative treatment unlike the other halls
• It was purely official and was designed specifically to suit its purpose
• It was originally planned around a square courtyard with a pillared
colonnade all around
• Now only the main structure remains – it measures 185’ x 70’ and was
built with sand stone
• It had arches with double pillars between each arch and a group of
four at each corner
• There were huge oblong recesses in the plain back wall
• The walls were shell plastered and ivory polished
• This was a special plaster called Mughal plaster
• The entire building is brilliant in white colour
• Back wall alcove was used as the emperor’s seat which was the
famous peacock throne in gold, studded with the world’s largest ruby


• This was a large congregational mosque near the red fort citadel
• This was constructed at the same time as the red fort outside the red
fort complex
• The mosque has a lofty plinth
• The elevation seems to be a complete composition
• It has three noble gateways on the northern, southern and eastern sides
• It is approached by a majestic flight of steps
• All these elements add height and dignity to the exterior
• The public entered the mosque only through the north and south
• The east was the royal entrance
• East gateway was connected to the fort by a processional route

• The sanctuary was a building of large size and imposing appearance
remarkable for its bold treatment in red sand stone
• It surface is outlined in black and white marble

Jami masjid, Agra

• It was erected by Shah Jahan in 1648 in honour of his daughter ‘Jahanara Begum’
• It measures 130’X100’(less than half the size of the mosque at Delhi), yet well
balanced and proportioned.
• The arches used were of the Tudor type. There were no foliations on the building
and there were no tall minarets
• The Frontage is forged by a pleasing distribution of arches.
• There were slender pinnacles alternating with kiosks along its parapets.

Taj Mahal, Agra

• The Taj Mahal on a bend in the river Jamuna at Agra.

• It was dedicated to the emperor Shah Jahan’s well beloved consort the
empress Arjund Banu Begam.
• Mumtaz Mahal-means ‘chosen of the palaces’.
Taj Mahal -means ‘Crown of the palaces’.
which has been abbreviated as the ’Taj’.
• Many schemes were prepared and finally decided and altered by Shah Jahan
• Many master builders presented their designs, one being a Venetian jeweler
and silversmith.
• The main inspiration deriver from Humayun’s tomb at Delhi and tomb of
Khan Khanan-a noble man of Delhi.
• On the traditions of the Humayun’s tomb and with the experience of the tomb
of Khan Khanan, Shah Jahan’s architects evolved this master piece of
builder’s art.
• The main tomb building actually occupies only a portion relatively smaller
than the whole architectural scheme.
• The plan of the whole concept takes the form of a rectangle.
• This rectangle measures 1900x1000’ and is aligned north-south.
• The central area is divided into a square garden of side 1000’.
• This division leaves an oblong space at each end of the rectangle.
• The southern side is laid out with roads and service dwellings.
• The northern side consists of a raised terrace containing the white marble
tomb building with two supplementary structures, all overlooking the Jamuna
• The entire garden is enclosed within a high wall boundary with octagonal
pavilions at each corner.
• There is a monumental entrance gateway in the centre of the southern side.
• This scheme extends even beyond with stables, out-houses and bazaars etc.
outside the premises.
• No subsequent amendments or after thoughts were made.
• All its parts were initially perfected with every need anticipated.
• The approach could be made equally well by roads or river.
• Landing stages with steps were provided on the north-west corner of the
• The ornamental garden were so planned to prepare the spectator for the
exquisite appearance and lovely dignity of the central structure.
• In addition there were water courses with fountains and elevated lotus pool,
all arranged to mirror its beauties from various point of views.
• The plastic delicacy, soft moulding of its contours, super-fine treatment of its
decorations, the texture and the subtle colouring of its materials all combined
with a gracious and poetical nature of the building as a whole.
• The structures on the terrace of the northern end consist of the tomb buildings
at the centre and two detached subsidiary buildings one on each side.
• The one on the west is a mosque and the other one is only a replica without
any purpose just for the sake of symmetry.
• The white marble tomb structure was meant to be the focal point of attraction
in the entire scheme.
• This tomb itself is elevated on a plinth of 22’ height, square in plan 186’ side,
with chamfered angles.
• The building height is 108’ with a great bulbous dome on top, and the total
height measures 187’.
• On each corner of this plinth a tall minaret was built in three stages to a height
of 137’
• The central dome extends and distributes the architectural effect. Its
proportions also are as simple as its shape for example; the entire width is
equal to the total height.
• The height of the façade in the centre is equal to the height of the dome. All
these were carefully considered to achieve the dramatic effect.
• The crowning glory lies in the shape and volume of the dome.
• A large bulbous dome with a lofty drum with the lower part slightly truncated.
There are smaller cupolas on the four sides of the main dome.
• All four minarets have a kiosk on the top.
• The interior arrangements of compartments are like that of Humayun’s tomb
at Delhi.
• A huge central octagonal hall with subsidiary chambers in the angles of the
octagon which are all connected with radiating passages.
• The exterior has a two storey treatment.
• The main hall is also of two stories of arcade over which the inner shell of the
double dome stands.
• The dispositions of rooms are very simple with similar rooms on the upper
• Perforated marble screens enclosing the cenotaph are of high quality
• The charm of the building is produced by the quality and texture of the
material used- the white marble from Markrana.
• An underground cenotaph chamber was provided and the main level cenotaph
chamber being a false one.
• The queen’s cenotaph in the centre and the emperor’s cenotaph on one side
both enclosed with perforated marble screens.
• For every hour of the day and for every atmospheric condition the ‘Taj’ has its
own colour values.

 Soft dimness at dawn.

 Dazzling whiteness at mid-day.
 Cold splendorous in the moon light
 Enchanting tint of pale and lovely rose at evening.

• The dome appears as thin as air, hangs among the stars like a great pearl.