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Shah Jahan Biography

Shah Jahan is in the first rank of Mughal rulers, he was a brave, intelligent, and a far-sighted leader. He is the son of Jahangir and grand son of Akbar. He had four sons Dara Shukoh, Shah Shuja, Murad Baksh and Aurangzeb and three daughters Jahanara, Roshanara and Gauharara. He had a strained relationship with his father Jahangir, the main reason for this was his father’s dependency on his extremely intelligent and shrewd wife Nur Jahan. In 1627, when Jahangir died in Lahore Shah Jahan ascended the throne on the demand of the subjects, despite the tricks of the Queen Nur Jahan.

Shah Jahan’s thirty years of reign(1628-1658), is often referred to as the golden period of the Mughal dynasty. Akbar established the territory, which was extended, protected and efficiently ruled by Shah Jahan. His reign was comparatively peaceful and prosperous one. There were less battles, the state fund was full and the people were happy and contented. Following on the footsteps of his father he established an image for being a king who offered justice without any discrimination. There was interaction with the various foreign countries like Persia, France, Italy, Portugal and England . He was undoubtedly a great king with excellent military and administrative skills. Within a year of being crowned the king, the revenue of the state rose up rapidly.

Shah Jahan was passionate about art and architecture. The architectural structures built during his reign were a synthesis of the Hindu and Islamic traditions. His most acclaimed architectural structure was obviously Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world. The magnificent mausoleum was built in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. He patronized the construction of many palaces and mosques. His reign is at times referred to as the “reign of marble” as most of the structure like palaces of Shahjahanabad, Moti Mosque and Taj Mahal were all made of marbel. In 1639, he shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi and called the new capital as Shahjahanabad. It took nearly ten years to build the magnificent Red Fort or Lal Qala. The walled city included markets, mosques, gardens, palaces for the nobility. The peacock throne of the Mughal rulers was transferred from Agra to the Red Fort on April 8, 1648. Shah Jahan, also developed a garden around the natural spring at Vernag in the south of Srinagar, the famous Shalimar Garden and a water gardens in Lahore.

Shah Jahan’s four sons were bitter rivals and were desperate to ascend the throne after Shah Jahan. Though he favored Dara Shikoh, his eldest son’s claim on the throne. His later life was very tragic as he was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb in the Agra fort till his death.