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About Shah Jahan

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It is seen that the each Mughal kings had supported the arts, and architectures. Shah Jahan (Khurram during childhood) was fascinated by painting and jewelry, as his father Jahangir had been, and the fine arts grew under Shah Jahan as they had in no previous time in power. An art historian Milo Beach says-"Shah Jahan was well known as a connoisseur of jewels. He had time to experiment in the arts, and was maybe even a jewel carver himself. But clearly his real engagement was with architecture."

Like the Great Akbar (his grandfather), Shah Jahan was zealous about architecture. Not satisfied with the building Red Fort made during Akbar's regime, he replaced them with resplendent palaces of pure white marble. As soon as the Agra Fort was completed, he moved the Mughal capital from Agra back to the ancient location of Delhi where he built a magnificent new city, owing nothing to his ancestors, yet keeping the long-established birthright of the Delhi throne. (The palaces of Shahjahanabad, now Old Delhi, are also faced entirely in white marble. Consequently, the supremacy of Shah Jahan is sometimes referred to as the"reign of marble).

Successor to an emperor who spanned the sub-continent and beyond, Shah Jahan was also fervent about dynastic pride and his own celebrity."He spent maximum time of his life in demonstrating his power," says Beach."And because ornaments were the basis for calculating assets, for confirming that in fact the Mughals were strong economically, his power was displayed by means of a very gaudy display of jewelry." To further enhance his image as a paramount ruler, Shah Jahan set aside the six thrones bequeathed to him by his forebears and commissioned another encrusted with hundreds of diamonds, emeralds, pearls and rubies? The famous Peacock throne….. where he held court surrounded by exquisite silk carpets and cushions under arches of silver inscribed in gold.

It is told that-“As a ruler, he was presented as a symbol of royalty rather than a human being, which separates him extremely from his father and grandfather, who really pleased in a personal revelation of their characters. Shah Jahan wanted himself to be seen as the symbol of perfection, the perfection of a jewel so carefully crafted and so flawless that there could be no question at all of the vagaries of a human personality."

Shah Jahan spent inestimable assets on his obsessions: a life of ease, pageantry and pleasure, expeditions to expand his dominion and the creation of his celebrated edifices. Unlike the constructions of Akbar which show such miscellaneous delight in diversity, Shah Jahan's constructions demonstrate cool confidence in a new order.

The Hindu and Islamic traditions are not simply mixed but synthesized in a resolved form in his structures. For all the attractiveness of the accompaniments used in the Taj Mahal and his other buildings, it is the stylistic unity and harmony of design that is Shah Jahan's greatest accomplishment, providing the finishing touch in the Mughal style of architecture.