Jehangir was succeeded by his second son Khurram in 1628. Khurram took the name of Shah Jehan, i.e. the Emperor of the World. He further expanded his Empire to Kandhar in the north and conquered most of Southern India. The Mughal Empire was at its zenith during Shah Jehan’s rule. This was due to almost 100 years of unparalleled prosperity and peace. As a result, during this reign, the world witnessed the unique development of arts and culture of the Mughal Empire. During the reign of Shah Jehan, Mughal architecture reached its supreme exuberance. He chose marble as the chief medium for all his architectural undertakings. Elaborate ornamentation, pietra dura, and creation of exclusive landscape settings, are some important features of the buildings of this period.
Shah Jehan built marble edifices at Agra such as the Diwan-i-Aam, the Diwan-i-Khas, the Shish Mahal and the Moti Masjid, which have been described as the most elegant buildings of their class to be found anywhere. But all other architectural creations of Shah Jehan are nothing when compared to the exquisite conception of the mausoleum of his wife, Arjumand Bano Begum (Mumtaz Mehal) at Agra. The Taj Mehal is the crowning glory and culmination of Mughal architecture. Its construction commenced in 1631 and was completed sometime around 1653. Gulbadan Begum’s “Humayun Namah”, Jehangir’s autobiography “Tuzk-i-Jehangiri”, Abdul Hamid Lahori’s “Padshahnama” and Inayat Khan’s “Shah Jehannama” are some of the examples of Mughal literature in the latter period of Shah Jehan’s reign.
This article was last updated on Sunday, June 01, 2003