The Taj Mahal And Shah Jahan

©Renee 2013

Do you know the story of the Taj Mahal and who it was built for ? The story is told of a ruler and love.

Born on 5 January 1592, Shah ab-ud-din Muhammad Khurram, which was Shah Jehan’s birth name, was the third son born to Emperor Jehangir, his mother was a Rajput princess from Marwar called Princess Manmati – her official name in Mughal chronicles being Bilquis Makani. The name “Khurram” was chosen for the young prince by his grandfather, Emperor Akbar, with whom the young prince shared a close relationship. When Khurram was only six days old, Akbar handed him over to his first wife and chief consort, Empress Ruqaiya Sultan Begum, who was childless. Ruqaiya assumed the primary responsibility for Khurram’s upbringing and he grew up under her care. Her step-son, Jahangir, noted that Ruqaiya loved Khurram a thousand times more than if he had been her own son.

As a child, Prince Khurram received a broad education befitting his status as a Mughal prince, which include martial training and exposure to a wide variety of cultural arts, such as poetry and music, most of which was, according to court chroniclers, under the watchful gaze of his grandfather.

Also note from wiki link above as well:

Though there was genuine love between the two, Arjumand Banu Begum was a politically astute woman and served as a crucial advisor and confidante to her husband, she even is said to have implored Prince Khurram not to have children with his other wives, a call he listened. Later on, as Empress, Mumtaz Mahal (Persian: the chosen one of the Palace) wielded immense power, such as being consulted by her husband in state matters and being responsible for the imperial seal, which allowed her to review official documents in their final draft.

The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan is accompanied by his three sons: Dara Shikoh, Shah Shuja and Aurangzeb, including their maternal grandfather Asaf Khan IV.

Mumtaz Mahal died, aged 40, while giving birth to Gauhara Begum in Burhanpur, the cause of death being post-partum haemorrhaging, which caused considerable blood-loss and after a painful labour of thirty hours. Contemporary historians note that Princess Jahanara, aged 17, was so distressed by her mother’s pain that she started distributing gems to the poor, hoping for divine intervention and Shah Jahan, himself, was noted as being “paralysed by grief” and weeping fits.

Her body was temporarily buried in a walled pleasure garden known as Zainabad, originally constructed by Shah Jahan’s uncle Prince Daniyal along the Tapti River. Her death had a profound impact on Shah Jahan’s personality and inspired the construction of the Taj Mahal, where she was later reburied.

She inspired a perfume as well:

Popular for 90 years, Shalimar was created in 1921 and re-released in 1925 in a bottle designed by Raymond Guerlain and made by Cristalleries de Baccarat (bottle design # 597) and launched at the Decorative Arts Exhibition as an antidote against The Great Depression.

According to Elisabeth Barille, “while examining a sample of vanillin, Jacques Guerlain suddenly poured the entire contents into a nearby bottle of Jicky, just to see what would happen.” The result: Shalimar.

Jacques Guerlain was inspired by Mumtaz Mahal, the woman for whom the Taj Mahal was built.

Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan‘s love for Mumtaz Mahal, his favourite wife, was so great that he built her the Garden of Shalimar in Lahore, Pakistan (and indeed, the Taj Mahal).

The meaning of the word Shalimar remains a mystery, but it is certainly of Arab or Persian origin as asserted by Anna Suvorova in her book Lahore: Topophilia of Space and Place.

This entry was posted in Art, Famous People, Faraway Places and Travel, Home And Garden, Sandcastles, Powderpuffs and Stars, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Taj Mahal And Shah Jahan

  1. Kathy says:


    • Renee says:

      It is all working properly now Kathy, thanks to Kate (hugs Kate) Sorry for the loss of the comments display for two days everyone.

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