Emperor SHAH JAHAN | The Romantic

As a young man, he was married to two wives known as Akbarabadi Mahal (d.1677 AD), and Kandahari Mahal (m.1609 AD). Beforehand however, in 1607 AD, Khurram had been betrothed to Arjumand Bano Begum, the grand daughter of a Persian noble, who was just 14 years old at the time. She would become the unquestioned love of his life and they were married in 1612 AD.

According to the official court chronicler Qazwini, the relationship with his other wives "had nothing more than the status of marriage. The intimacy, deep affection, attention and favour which His Majesty had for the Cradle of Excellence [Mumtaz] exceeded by a thousand times what he felt for any other”.

Shah Jahan was utterly devoted to Mumtaz Mahal, who was his constant companion and trusted confidante and their relationship was intense. Indeed, the court historians go to unheard of lengths to document the intimate and erotic relationship the couple enjoyed.

Sheela Reddy in her Taj Trivia termed Shah Jahan as ‘The Man of Marble’. Quoting the Austrian art historian Ebba Koch and her book, “The Complete Taj Mahal”, she says that Shah Jahan picked the site for Taj for its great view from Raja Jai Singh of Amber, in exchange for four mansions.

His own burial was not grand; he was taken quietly by two men by boat and laid beside Mumtaz.

The Rule

Although his father's rule was generally peaceful, the empire was experiencing challenges by the end of his reign. Shah Jahan reversed this trend by putting down a Islamic rebellion in Ahmednagar, repulsing the Portuguese in Bengal, capturing the Rajput kingdoms of Baglana and Bundelkhand to the west and the northwest beyond the Khyber Pass. Under his rule, the state became a huge military machine and the nobles and their contingents multiplied almost fourfold,as did the demands for more revenue from the peasantry. It was however a period of general stability — the administration was centralised and court affairs systematised. Historiography and the arts increasingly became instruments of propaganda, where beautiful artworks or poetry expressed specific state ideologies which held that central power and hierarchical order would create balance and harmony.

The Wealth

Under Shah Jahan the Mughal Empire attained its highest union of strength with agnificence.

The land revenue of the Mughal Empire under Shah Jahan was 20.75 million sterling. The magnificence of Shah Jahan’s court was the wonder of European travellers. His Peacock Throne, with its trail blazing in the shifting natural colors of rubies, sapphires, and emeralds, was valued by the jeweller Tavernier at 6.50 million sterling.


click here to back

News & Announcements