ABOUT SHAH JAHAN
History points to the fact that all the Mughal emperors had encouraged architectures and arts, as displayed in their construction of numerous forts, tombs, palaces, and gardens. Just as his father Jahangir, Shah Jahan too was mesmerized by jewelry and painting. During the reign of Shah Jahan, fine arts developed with such tremendous speed, as not seen in the reign of any of the Mughal rulers. The art historian Milo Beach has stated that Shah Jahan was renowned, as an enthusiast for jewels. Further, he says that the emperor-conducted research with the arts, might have been a jewel carver but certainly, his genuine interest was in architecture.
Shah Jahan was not happy with the Red Fort building and this is the reason, he changed it with magnificent palaces, made out of pure white marble. Immediately, after the completion of the Agra Fort, Shah Jahan shifted the Mughal capital from Agra to the old place of Delhi, where he constructed a splendid new city from scratch. The palaces located in Shahjahanbad, which is now in Old Delhi are totally made out of white marble. As a result, the reign of Shah Jahan is also at times called, as the rule of marble.
Being an heir to an empire, which crossed the entire sub-continent and afar, Shah Jahan was zealous about dynastic self-importance and his own star rank. According to Beach, Shah Jahan used greater part of his time in indicating his authority and as ornaments were the source for calculating wealth, for verifying the truth that the Mughals were economically stable, he exhibited supremacy by means of an incredibly exaggerated exhibit of jewelry. To boost his image as a supreme ruler, Shah Jahan kept away the six thrones, which were handed down, to him by his ancestors and specially made another, which was encrusted with hundreds of emeralds, rubies, diamonds, and pearls. It was on the well-known, Peacock throne that Shah Jahan sat, when he held court and was encircled by beautiful silk cushions and carpets, below the arches of silver decorated in gold.
It is said that Shah Jahan, when he was the emperor presented himself, as an emblem of royalty and not as a human being. This disconnects him from his father and grandfather, both of whom who revealed their individual self, to the people. Shah Jahan wanted others to see him as a jewel, a figure of flawlessness, so carefully made that it was without any blemish.
Shah Jahan used up countless assets on his passions, which included a life of comfort, journeys to increase his kingdom and the formation of his renowned edifices. While Akbar’s buildings show mixed delight in diversity, Shah Jahan’s structures reveal self-assurance in a new order, as the Islamic and Hindu traditions are not only mixed but also blended excellently. Perhaps, the greatest achievement of Shah Jahan is the stylistic harmony and unity of design seen in his constructions, which provide the final addition to the Mughal architecture style.