Some Facts of History-3

1. Dewal Rani Khizr Khani entitled Ashiqa, narrates the romantic story of Khizr Khan, son of Alauddin Khilzi and Dewal Rani, the daughter of Rana Karan of Gujarat.


(715 AH/1315 AD)

The Ishqiya as it is sometimes called is the third masnavi composed by Amir Khusrau and it was completed in 715 AH/1315. It contains a total of 4519 lines written in two batches.

The central theme of the long poem is the romantic love and the tragic fate of Khizr Khan, son of Sultan Allauddin Khilji and the beautiful princess Dewal Devi, daughter of Raja Karan of Gujarat.

Dewal Rani Khizr Khan was Amir Khusrau’s need to create an Indian epic love story in response to the prevailing Persian and Arabic classic romances – Farhad o Shirin and Layla O Majnun.

Here he wove current historical events as intriguingly as mythical tale. He first completed the masnavi with the marriage of the young Muslim prince with the Hindu princess in spite of his mother’s rejection of their love.

He brings together the symbolic union of two civilizations – Hindu and Muslim. Due to the unfortunate death of prince Khizr Khan as a prisoner of his brother, Sultan Qutubuddin Mubarak Shah Khilji,he later updated the masnavi with a tragic end. By the time he wrote the masnavi, he had already completed the Khamsa and acquired proficiency in the style.

The romance is unique in Persian literature in more than one respect – it has for its theme a contemporary event, it belongs to the domain of history and not mythology, it describes India in stunning detail and contains small tales within the narrative which are original and instructive.


Details of image: Masnavi Duval Rani Khizr Khan, National Museum, New Delhi. Masnuscript dated 1568 AD. The illustration displays the marriage of the Hindu princess Duval Rani with the Muslim ruler Khizr Khan, which the angels have come to bless. Source: Welch, India: Art and Culture.

2. One dies but once-One Sultan, one death – but so many speculations of resting places.

Feroze Shah Tughlaq-had chosen as his place of final rest.

i) Lal Gumbad-but gave it to Kabirudin Auliya as his tomb


Lal Gumbad-Mehrauli-Delhi

ii) Quadam Shareef-but it was destined to be the tomb of his son-Fateh Khan


Quadam Shareef-Delhi

Internet photo

iii) Hauz Khas

Finally, he rests in peace in Hauz Khas.


Feroze Shah Tughlaq’s Tomb in Hauz Khas-Delhi

Internet photo

3. Balban constructed a palace in Delhi called Kushki Lal before he became king.

According to Maulvi Zafar Hasan, Kushki Lal, was a magnificent building which was a structure raised on a chabutra (platform). Constructed of red sandstone, it consisted of a “central domed apartment, with dalaans forming a verandah on all four sides. The latter had red sandstone pillars very simply ornamented and lintels supporting a flat roof of the same material over which were chattris (canopies) on the east, west and south, the northern chhatri having disappeared. Some 25 feet to the north-west of the dome on the same chabutra was a double-storied chhatri which was connected originally with the palace”.

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These archival photographs of Kushki Lal aka Lal Mahal display the grandeur of a monument which has now been lost forever.


Kushki Lal aka Lal Mahal – Almost destroyed

Internet photos

He built “Qila-i-Marzghan”, near the palace after he became king.

4. A Princes lost for eternity

Shahzadi Aqiqa Sultan Begum at Agra. (B.1531) daughter of Humayun and Bega Begum, was eight years-old daughter, when she was lost in Chausa, on 27 June, 1539, and was never recovered.

Humayun became extremely devastated and regretted ever bringing his daughter to Chausa in the first place. He blamed himself, saying, “Why did I not kill her in my own presence?”, rather than have her fall into the enemy’s hands.


Chausa-where Shahzadi Aqiqa Sultan Begum daughterof Humayun and Bega Begum and sister of Akbar was lost forever

Internet photo

5. Name of Mother of husband of Maham Anga

Her name was Fakhrunissa (Mama), she was mother of Nadim Khan Kukaltash aka Nadim Kuka, a general in the army of and faithful servant of Humayun and husband of Maham Anga.


 Emperor Akbar & Maham Anga

Moghul Miniature Akbarnama Painting Rare Handmade Art

6. Baghi-i-Alam ka Gumbad (Shihabu’d-Din Khan’s tomb-1501)

During the reign of Sikandar Lodhi, in 1501 Bagh-i-Alam-ka-Gumbad (Deer Park, Hauz Khas, Delhi) was built around the grave of Mia Shihabu’d-Din Taj Khan (a fakir), to commemorate his memory.


Baghi-i-Alam ka Gumbad

(Built to renovate and add magnitude to Shihabu’d-Din Khan=-1501)

Internet photo

7. Tardi Beg was a military commander in the 16th century in Mughal India. He served under the Mughal Emperors Humayun and Akbar.

It is reported that he was disliked by both the troops and generals and was eventually killed for cowardice by Bairam Khan.

(His grave is reported to be near Humayun’s Tomb but is not identified)

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The Tomb of Humayun’s Vizier

Artist: Wilson, Horace H, Medium: Lithograph; Date: 1841

8. Sultan Garhi

Surprisingly, the tomb is not dedicated to a holy man but to a prince who would have been emperor, or sultan. Nasiru’d-Din Mahmud was the heir-apparent to the throne after his father Sultan Iltutmish but met an untimely death around 1231 A.D. Nasiru’d-Din was the brother of Razia Sultan, the first and only woman monarch to rule from Delhi. Tragically, all siblings met with untimely or violent deaths.


Sultan Garhi-Delhi

Internet photo

9. Malik Ayaz, son of Aymáq Abu’n-Najm, was a Turkish slave of Georgian origin who rose to the rank of officer and general in the army of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni (also known as Mahmud Ghaznavi). His rise to power was a reward for the devotion he bore his master.


Mahmud and Ayaz
The Sultan is to the right, shaking the hand of the sheykh, with Ayaz standing behind him. The figure to his right is Shah Abbas I who reigned about 600 years later.
Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran

10. In 1021, the Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni raised Ayaz to kingship, awarding him the throne of Lahore, which the Sultan had taken after a long siege and a fierce battle in which the city was torched and depopulated.

11. It is said that in old age “Sultán Mahmúd Mahmud of Ghazni spent his whole time in the society of Malik Ayáz, neglecting the business of the state.”The tomb of Malik Ayaz can still be seen in the Rang Mahal commercial area of Lahore.


Tomb of Malik Ayaz-Lahore

Internet photo

12. Shahabuddin Ghori had no offspring, but he treated his Turkic slaves as his sons, who were trained both as soldiers and administrators and provided with the best possible education. Many of his competent and loyal slaves rose to positions of importance in Shahabuddin Ghori’s army and government.


Shahab-ud-Din Muhammad Ghori (also spelled Ghauri, Ghouri, Ghori)

Internet Photo

Slaves of Shahabuddin Ghori

a. Qutb-ud-din Aibak became ruler of Delhi in 1206, establishing the Sultanate of Delhi, which marked the start of the Slave dynasty.


Qutb ud din Aibak

Internet Photo

b. Nasir-ud-Din Qabacha became ruler of Multan in 1210.

c. Tajuddin Yildoz became ruler of Ghazni.


Tajuddin Yildoz Coins

Internet Photo

d. Ikhtiyar Uddin Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khilji became ruler in parts of Bengal.

A certain reference in literature suggests that in 1193, the ancient college-city of Nalanda and the university of Vikramshila were sacked by Bakhtiyar Khilji. The Persian historian Minhaj-i-Siraj, in his chronicle the Tabaqat-i-Nasiri, reported that thousands of monks were burned alive and thousands beheaded as Khilji tried his best to uproot Buddhism. The burning of the library continued for several months and “smoke from the burning manuscripts hung for days like a dark pall over the low hills.


The end of Buddhist Monks, A.D. 1193

Internet Image

13. Sultan Qutbuddin Mubarak Khalji and Kurbat Hasan Kangu, the ruler of Malabar

A typical and complete hermaphrodite was Sultan Qutbuddin Mubarak Khalji (1316-1320). He occasionally dressed himself in female attire, embroidered with laces and adorned with gems, and went about dancing in the houses of the nobles like a typical hijra.

Similarly, Kurbat Hasan Kangu aka Hasan Gangu, the ruler of Malabar, often used to come to court (darbar-i-am) dressed in the fashion of females. He bedecked his arms and neck with jewellery and ornaments.




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Some Facts of History-2

1. Where is the grave of Muhgal General Mahabat Khan aka Zamana Beg?

Prominent Mughal general and statesman, known for his coup against the Mughal Emperor Jahangir in 1626. “Following his unsuccessful coup, Mahabat Khan fled to the Deccan.

There, Prince Khurram convinced him to surrender himself to Jahangir. However, with the death of Jahangir shortly thereafter in the October 1627, Mahabat Khan was able to go unpunished.

Upon Prince Khurram’s rise to the throne as Emperor Shah Jahan, Mahabat Khan was appointed governor of Ajmer.

He was later transferred to a post in the Deccan, where he died in 1634. His body was carried back to Delhi, where he was buried on the ground of the shrine of Qadam Sharif.

Upon his death, his eldest son, Mirza Amanullah, was awarded the title ‘Khan Zaman’, while his second son, Luhrasp, was granted his late father’s title, ‘Mahabat Khan’.



Mahabat Khan aka Zamana Beg

2. Another Anga



The photograph of the tomb of Dai Angah in Lahore was taken by H H Cole in 1884 for the Archaeological Survey of India.

Wife of a magistrate in Bikaner in Rajasthan, Dai Angah was wet nurse to the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (r. 1628-57). Inscriptions give the date of construction as 1671. The single-storeyed tomb is brick built and faced in painted plaster and tile mosaics in colorful floral and geometric motifs.

Its square plan comprises a central domed chamber with eight further chambers surrounding it. There is a domed kiosk at each of the building’s four corners.


Recent picture of Dai Anga’s tomb

3. Tea house (Red Fort)

The so-called tea house is a structure located in the Red Fort of Delhi. The tea house dates back to the late Mughal period. The structure was altered and changed throughout the course of the time, losing its original appearance.

The tea house was the first palace on the north, constructed for the princes. It was close to the imperial enclosure. It was also known as the “princes’ quarter”, because it is said that this was one of the residences of the emperor’s sons and other members of the imperial family.

After the rebellion of 1857, the occupying British forces converted the palace into a meeting and amusement hall and named it “tea house”. In his 1919 book “Monuments of Delhi: lasting splendor of the great Mughals and others”, Maulvi Zafar Hassan mentioned the structure as a pavilion.


 Tea house (Red Fort)

4. Raisina Hills

The hillocks were flattened by blasting around Raisina Hill. This barren wilderness is where the capital of India, New Delhi, stands today.


Raisina Hills

5. Mango-shaped scent bottle Mid-17th century- Private collection Rock crystal with rubies and emeralds set in gold

H. 1 3⁄4 × W. 2 1⁄4 × D. 1 3⁄4 in. (4.5 × 5.7 × 4.5 cm) Carved out of rock crystal with grooves cut on the surface and inlaid with gold and gemstones, this diminutive scent bottle embodies the refined aesthetic of seventeenth-century Mughal India.

Likely to have been created during the reign of Shah Jahan, this bottle is an example of the high degree of perfection Mughal artists achieved during this period. It features a network of naturalistic scrollwork of vines in gold wire, with leaves and flowers inset with precious stones and set in high relief to provide the effect of a cage enclosing the crystal.

It is missing a stopper, which was probably made of enameled gold.


 Mango-shaped scent bottle Mid-17th century

6. Bahadur Shah II’s crown


Bahadur Shah II’s crown

c. 1825-50 (Source: British Library) (Windsor ref: RCIN67236). Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2012.

7. Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana and Burhanpur

A 16th century Tota-Maina tale. Quamaruddin Falak, a historian,claims that this story is not a myth but a forgotten history. When Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana, one of Akhbars navratnas, ruled Burhanpur in the 16th century, the region suffered a severe drought. Rahim then got a reservoir constructed on the top of a hill from where water was later brought to the city. It still exists.

But few know the role a Tota and Maina played in getting water to the city. They belonged to a seer called Hazrat Shah Mustaqbil. It was said that whoever went to the seer seeking water never returned empty-handed.

During the drought, Rahim went to him and the seer said he would set his birds free and they would guide him to water. The birds went to a hill and sat on a stone which suddenly caved in to reveal a hollow, full of water, adds Falak.

But the birds could not be found. Later, they were found dead, next to each other. When they were brought to the seer, he said that they preferred dying together than living in separate cages.

Impressed, Rahim got their graves built next to each another. Falak claims that this is a fact recorded by books, including one written by Sir Thomas Roe, a British ambassador who visited Burhanpur.


A 16th century Tota-Maina Grave

8. Garstin’s Folly

“Garstin’s Folly”-Patna, India. This stupa like building which looks like yin – yang from air is a domed granary built in 1786 by Captain John Garstin, at the order of Warren Hastings, who later became the first Governor-General of India.

This huge granary was constructed to cater for the needs of the British army which had faced lot of difficulty due to severe draught and acute famine from 1770 to 1780. Because of its shape the structure is known as Gol Ghar (Round House). It is pillar less with a base of 125 metres, height 29 metres and a wall of thickness of 3.6 metres at the base. There is an opening at the top for filling the dome with grains. It is provided with two spiral shaped staircases on the outer shell – one for going up and other for coming down – so that the labourers going up with the grain bags are not hindered by those returning from top after emptying their load.

At the time of its construction it was the highest structure in Patna. Sometimes the best designs come to a naught because of some oversight. So was the case with this structure.

The designer failed to perceive some proper way to take out the grain from the granary. The doors at the bottom were designed to open inwards with the result that as soon as some grain was poured in the doors won’t move and it was impractical to remove the grains from the opening at top.

The structure was therefore abandoned with its doors and the hole at the top sealed and it came to be known as “Garstin’s Folly”. With passage of time it fell into decay but was later renovated and is a tourist spot now which provides a great panoramic view of the city and the river Ganges flowing nearby.


9. Safdarjang’s Tomb

Safdarjang’s Tomb was built by an Abyssinian (Ethiopian) architect, Bilal Mohammed Khan at the cost of an exorbitant sum of Rs 3 lakhs. The tomb was built by Nawab of Awadh-Shuja-ud-Daula in 1753-54 AD for his father, Mirza Mukin Abul Mansur Khan ‘Safdarjung’.

Mirza Mukin Abul Mansur Khan was the wazir of emperor Ahmed Shah and Safdarjang was a title, which was either awarded to him by the king, or he assumed himself.


Tomb of Safdar Jung, Delhi, by Samuel Bourne c.1858-60


Safdarjang’s Tomb recent

10. The Bara-pula Bridge

An inscription seen on one of the arches provides evidence that the Bara-pula Bridge was constructed sometime between 1621 AD and 1622 AD by Mihr Banu Agha, who was the chief eunuch in the royal courts of Emperor Jahangir.

Measuring 14 metres wide and 195 metres long is situated just a kilometre east of Khan-Khanan’s Tomb and close to the Shrine of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia.


Barapula Old Image

Barapula The name ‘Bara’ which means ‘Twelve’ and ‘Pula’ which means ‘Piers’ originated from its structure which is made of twelve piers that support the bridge wherein each pier is surmounted by a tall minaret measuring 2 metres each. It is also adorned with eleven arched openings that reflect the typical architectural style of the Tughlaq Dynasty.


Barapula Recent Image

11. Quadam Shareef

Originally, Firoz Shah Tughluq (1309 – 1388) constructed the large rectangular tomb at its core for himself, and surrounded it with massive walls and impressive gates in typical Tughlaq style.

However, when his son Fateh Khan died in 1376, he repurposed the tomb to be used for his son. Also added was a stone with a foot print of Muhammad (the founder of Islam), which Firoz Shah had brought in from Mecca.


Dargah Qadam Sharif-Inner Tomb Complex

12. Marriage contract of the emperor Bahadur Shah II (Source British Library)

This document records the marriage of Bahadur Shah, aged 64, to the aristocratic 19-year-old Zinat Mahal. She remained his favourite wife and accompanied him in exile in 1859. It opens with the traditional Arabic formula and records that the marriage was performed legally with the consent of both parties.

The bridegroom promises a settlement of 1,500,000 rupees, one-third to be paid immediately and the rest at any time during their married life. The document includes Bahadur Shah’s signature and the seal of his oldest son, Mirza Dara Bakht Dated 23 Ramazan 1256 (18 November 1840) IO Islamic


Marriage contract of the emperor Bahadur Shah II

Sources: British, Library Internet

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Some Food Facts of History-1



1. Chandni Chowk and its Halwais’



Alas ! Ghantewala Halwai has closed down recently.

2. Taste the Mughlai Chaat of Shahjahanabad

Chaat has a tongue tingling zaika – a mixture of fruits and the genuine flavour of a mixture of potato pieces, firm seared bread, Dahi Bhalla, gram and tangy-salty flavors. The mixture is decorated with acrid home-made Indian crisp and saunth (dried ginger and tamarind sauce), natural green coriander leaves and yoghurt.


Notwithstanding, there are numerous other in vogue variants now-taste the Aloo Tikki in vogue variants.


Visit the famous the chaat shops. Shree Balaji Chaat Bhandar maybe the best and most well known chaatwallah in Chandni Chowk. Be absolotely spellbound by the Papdi Chaat with its liberal consideration of Kachaalu Chutney, Khasta Papdis and saunth.

Bishan Swaroop is one of the aforementioned jewels tucked away in the clamorous by-paths of Chandni Chowk which keeps the magic of a different time, a different taste.

Since 1923, this small small stall has relegated only three things: unbelievable Aloo Chaat, remarkable Aloo ke Kulle and mouth-watering Fruit Chaat.


Taste the bonafide chaat at Lala Babu Chaat Bhandar (Chandni Chowk,) with sublime Gol Gappe presented with a sort of Jal Jeera that is pressed with harad (a digestive), kachoris loaded down with potato and peas, Gobhi-Matar Samosas, Dahi Bhalla and Matar Paneer Tikki are the quickest-advertising things here.


Jugal Kishor Ramji Lal (23, Dujana House, Chawri Bazaar, Chandni Chowk) is best known for the Fruit Chaat that has a quintessential part of the intonations and sights of Chandni Chowk.


“Get the feel of The Moghuls who imported temperate fruits unavailable in Delhi’s climate such as peaches, plums, apricots, apples, grapes and pears from Kashmir”. (W. Darymple)

Despite the fact that they do offer an adaptation of Pao Bhaji and Aloo Tikki, its the Fruit Chaat that is the champ here.


Dahi Bhalla need not dependably be a part of chaat; it might be served as a chief dish as you will find at Natraj Dahi Bhalla. The delicacy called Dahi Bhalla is a rotisserie-urad dal dumpling covered in whipped curd. Frequently, it is streaked with chocolatebrown bands of sweet-acrid tamarind chutney. Pink pomegranate seeds sparkle in the folds of the curd. Natraj is near Bhai Mati Das Chowk at the turning to Chandni Chowk metro station.


Kachori, for the most part loaded down with beats and presented with potato curry, is a different delicacy that makes your mouth water. Jung Bahadur Kachori Wala (1104, Chhatta Madan Gopal, Chandni Chowk) is maybe the most extremely popular for its Urad Dal Kachori, which is presented with Aloo Subzi. This spot is doubtlessly worth the enterprise.


On the sweeter side, Rabdi Faluda is an unquestionable requirement. Besides the spot to have it is Giani di Hatti close to the Fatehpuri Mosque. It has now come to be a frozen yogurt parlor spend significant time in colorful flavors like Litchi and Bubblegum. Separated from standard desserts, they moreover serve milkshakes, apples and oranges shakes, frozen yogurt shakes and sundaes.


“Go Mughlai like the Moghuls who planted formal gardens of fruit trees over conquered territories and drank juices flavored with essences”.

“From the mountains, they brought down ice to keep their sherbets and desserts cool and palatable”.

“They say that when Babur, India’s first Mughal Emperor, looked about his newly conquered northern territories, he did not like it. Coming from a food-loving culture, Hindustan seemed to him a land stripped of romance”.

“He writes in The Baburnama, “There are no grapes, quality fruits, musk melons, candles”.

“Emperor Jahangir introduced Mango it to the courtly tables. “Of all the fruits,” he says, “I am particularly fond of mango.” (W. Daymple)

3. “Taste Biryani of the ‘Dum Pukht’ style like Shah Jahan did, having his diners on rich carpets”. (W. Daymple)

“The centre piece of the imperial spread was a dish of rice cooked with ghee, spices and meat. After their meals, they rinsed their hands with perfumed water poured from jugs held by servants.

Biryani is one such dish that was polished in the royal kitchens of the Mughal Emperors. The word biryani comes from the Persian birian. It is basically a dish of rice and meat, not unlike the pilaf.

Taste the same flavours of yore that were enhanced using exotic spices. The curry was made rich and smooth with cream and yogurt. Imperial cooks threw in spices like cloves, cinnamon and cardamom, and nuts such as cashews and almonds. The result was a fragrant, heady and flavourful dish fit for royalty”. (W. Daymple)


An example of biryani cooked in the Mughal dum pukht style.

5. Eat at a Dastarkhan
Begin the meals like the Mughals meals with pickles, freshly sliced ginger and lime.


Then behave like Mughal Emperors, with a dish of rice cooked with ghee, spices and meat: the pilaf.

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This would be accompanied by a huge variety of game bird, fish, lamb, venison and beef cooked in different styles.

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After their meals, they rinsed their hands with perfumed water poured from jugs held by servants.

Finally eat traditional of desserts, at the end of the meal.


Provided that you are intrigued by kulfi -a flavoured solidified pastry made of milk -step towards the Ajmeri Gate. The prominent name here is Siya Ram Nannumal Kulfiwale (629, Gali Lodan, Ajmeri Gate).

What you get here is kulfi as kulfi ought to be – evil, heavenly and wow-so-amazing!

Request any flavour -Kesar, Pista, Rose, Kewra, Banana, Mango, or Pomegranate.

A delicacy for kings… now sold by the roadside…………Called Chat-But an almost sweet dish…………………………………………………….


According to Old Delhi legend, Daulat (which means ‘wealth’) ki Chaat is made only during the cold winter nights (preferably by the light of a full moon) when gallons of sweetened milk are whisked for hours into a cloud which is then set by the dawn dew. The top layer is touched with saffron and decorated with vark (silver leaf) and by morning the Daulat ki Chaat is just solid enough to be spooned into plates and sprinkled with chopped pistachio nuts, khoya (condensed milk) and bhoora (unrefined sugar) before gradually collapsing in the heat of the day.

In its thaal (a wide metal platter) the Daulat ki Chaat looks like the soft meringue of Lemon Meringue Pie but the taste is altogether more ethereal – it dissolves instantly on the tongue, leaving behind the merest sensation of cream and sweetness. The balance of milky cloud, saffron, sugar and nuts is subtle and tantalising, almost not there – generally requiring a greedy second or third plateful to try and audit this gully-found glimpse of heaven.

If there’s one dish that sums up the magic and mystery of Old Delhi street food

it is Daulat ki Chaat.




The Mughals – Art and Culture by W. Darymple


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Noor Jahan-The Most Powerful Mughal Queen!

Mehrunnisa was born in 1577 CE in Kandahar. She was the daughter of a Persian fortune-seeker – Mirza Ghias Beg. He offered his services at Akbar’s court as an army commander and soon became the most powerful army chief and minister in the reign of Jahangir.

He was given the title of Itimad-ud-Daulah (Pillar of the State). His daughter was first given the title of Noor Mahal and then Noor Jahan (Light of the World), when she married Emperor Jahangir.

It is said that Noor Jahan was responsible for Shah Jahan’s ascendancy to the Mughal throne.


Noor Jahan-the wife of Emperor Jahangir, was certainly ‘destiny’s chosen child’ and wielded extraordinary power from inside the harem as Jahangir’s favorite queen. In his last years, Noor Jahan became the virtual ruler of the empire!

Her family, too, remained extremely powerful for more than 70 years of the Mughal era when her niece Arjumand Banu Begum (Mumtaz Mahal) married Shah Jahan (Khurram) and became his beloved queen.

Shah Jahan (Khurram) is said to have built the world’s most beautiful monument of love – The Taj Mahal ?


The Mughal Period is said to be one of the most fascinating eras of India’s history in view of the many-splendored rule of some of India’s greatest emperors.

Whilst Akbar’s reign is counted among the four Grand Monarchies of the World by eminent historians, Jahangir’s reign is known for the power the Mughal ruler wielded over a vast empire. While Akbar built the empire and created a united India, Jahangir became known as the emperor who promoted all variety of art – painting, singing and gardening.

His love story with Noor Jahan, the widowed daughter of his chief army commander and minister Mirza Ghias Beg, is considered second only to that of the more famous Mumtaz Mahal and Emperor Shah Jahan. Hence, of course, Noor Jahan was instrumental in bringing her niece Mumtaz Mahal (Arjumand Banu Begum) to Jahangir’s court and later to bring about her marriage with Shah Jahan (Prince Khurram).

The coming of Noor Jahan into the court of Jahangir was one of the two most important developments of his early years. The second event was the rise of Khurram, Jahangir’s third son and favorite of his father.

Noor Jahan, daughter of Jahangir’s army chief, was earlier married to Ali Quli Istajlu the title of Sher Afghan. Was conferred to him by Jahangir for killing a tiger single handedly.

Sher Afghan Quli Khan, who was posted to Bengal by Jahangir. Sher Afghan Quli Khan died in Bengal in 1607 and Meherunnisa returned to Agra to her father as a widow of 30.

The famous Introduction-Jahangir and Meherunnisa (aka Noor Jahan)

The annual Meena Bazaar held by the royal women and wives of nobles at the Mughal court was an event initiated by Humayun and was meant to offer an opportunity for women to not only buy jewels and clothes but also to flirt in a controlled environment and have a good time.

Jahangir famously first met the beautiful Meherunnisa in 1611 at the annual Meena Bazaar, four years after she came to Agra as a widow. Jahangir, say historical records, fell madly in love with her because of her exquisite beauty and mastery over several arts. They were married within months and Meherunnisa was first given the title of Noor Mahal and then Noor Jahan (Light of the World).


Noor Jahan was the twentieth wife of the Jahangir, but she was said to be different from all Mughal women. She was an accomplished poetess, a garment and jewelry designer, a perfume maker, a connoisseur of carpets and art objects.

She was surprisingly also known as a skilled huntress of great prowess.

Records say that she could shoot tigers from a closed howdah on top of an elephant and once killed four tigers at one go.

It is said because of her scintillating beauty, she became the most prolific subject of portraits through the following century, though how the painters got access to her in the harem is still is not known!


An answer to this question is a life-size portrait of Nur-uddin Jahangir, who was so fond of luxury and opulence that he visualized his own power to be completely ‘global’. While he camped in Mandu in Madhya Pradesh in 1617, his favorite artist Abul Hasan worked for months to complete his most well-known portrait in which he held the golden globe of the earth and sat on a Portuguese style throne with wine glasses from China and Italy surrounding him. His head had a halo like the sun, to signify that he was Allah’s representative on earth.

This portrait – painted on fine cotton canvas – was auctioned recently (April 2011) in Britain Rs.10 crore!

The legend that surrounds this portrait also says that Abul Hasan was such a close confidante and favorite courtier of Emperor Jahangir that he was possibly allowed to paint portraits of Noor Jahan. Thus, while the emperor was camping in Mandu, Hasan also painted a portrait of Noor Jahan as a hunter!


With her father as the emperor’s powerful chief minister, Noor Jahan’s new status also increased. Her brother Asaf Khan too rose to high rank at the court. Hence the Itmad-ud-Daula family thus became an integral part of the royal court with access to all areas of the palace including the harem. They acquired unimaginable wealth and lived in a lavish lifestyle.

When Noor Jahan arranged the marriage of her niece Arjumand Banu Begum (Mumtaz Mahal) with Prince Khurram (Shah Jahan) the bond between the two families became even stronger.

History says that the quartet – Mirza Ghias Beg, Noor Jehan, Asaf Khan and Prince Khurram – wielded so much power at Jahangir’s court that they almost ran the empire on their own terms. Noor Jahan, for instance, built the grand mausoleum for her father in Agra, very close to the Taj Mahal. Her marriage to Jahangir gave her unrestricted access to his wealth and knowledge.

But Jahangir was unfortunately addicted to alcohol and opium. Both his brothers Daniyal and Murad had died of these vices. The effects of Jahangir’s vices began to catch up with his health. And naturally, Noor Jahan became ‘the power behind the throne’ with her personality and expertise in court intrigues.

As Jahangir battled his addictions, Noor Jahan became one of the most powerful women to ever rule India with an iron hand. She ran the affairs of the state from the harem and every decision about the empire had to be taken only with her consent.


The result of her unlimited power was that her immediate family members were given valuable endowments and positions. She had successfully married her own daughter from her first marriage to Quli Khan – Ladli Begum – to Prince Shahriyar, the fourth son of Jahangir by a royal concubine.

Through Jahangir’s reign, as the favorite queen of the emperor, Noor Jahan already wielded a great deal of real power in affairs of state. The Mughal Empire bestowed absolute power upon the emperor. Thus, his close confidantes, who could influence him, also became extremely powerful. Noor Jahan held absolute power.

Jahangir’s addiction to opium and alcohol made it easier for her to widen her influence greatly. For several years – especially the last years of Jahangir– she held complete imperial power and was recognized as the real force behind the Mughal throne. She even gave audiences in her palace and the ministers consulted with her on most matters of state and finance. Indeed, Jahangir even permitted coinage to be struck in her name, confirming her sovereignty.


In 1626, Jahangir was captured by rebels while he was travelling to Kashmir. Noor Jahan – through her negotiating skills – got her husband released and Jahangir had a temporary respite from his troubles.

Do read: A Coup during Mughul Era-an Empress rescues an Emperor

Jahangir was trying to restore his health by visiting Kashmir and Kabul. He went from Kabul to Kashmir but returned to Lahore on account of a severe cold.

Jahangir died on the way back from Kashmir near Sarai Saadabad on October 28, 1627.

To preserve his body, the entrails were removed and buried in the Baghsar Fort, Kashmir. The body was then transferred to Lahore to be buried in Shahdara Bagh, a suburb of Lahore, Punjab. He was succeeded by his third son, Prince Khurram who took the title of Shah Jahan. Jahangir’s elegant mausoleum is located in the Shahdara locale of Lahore and is a popular tourist attraction in Lahore.

After Jahangir’s death, Noor Jahan devoted her life to rebuild her power at the court but was sent by Shah Jahan to retire in a comfortable mansion where she lived till her death. She devoted her last years to building some of best Mughal tombs and to the making of perfumes from roses, an art she had learnt from her mother-Asmat Begam . She supervised the building of her father’s tomb in Agra, just a few kilometers from the Taj Mahal.


When Jahangir died in 1627, he was buried in Shahadara Bagh in Lahore and this imposing tomb too, bears the imprint of Noor Jahan’s talent and style. The tomb has beautiful gardens and wooded walks around, which were personally designed and laid out by Noor Jahan herself.


Noor Jahan died in 1645 at the age of 68, and was also buried in Shahadara Bagh in Lahore, now in Pakistan. As one of strongest women of the Mughal era, she built her own tomb near that of her husband Jahangir, because of whom, she held unparalleled power throughout her life.


All images from Internet

Text from Internet sources and Books

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Where History Gets Murky

i) Tomb of Razia- Where is she really buried?


a. Bulbulikhana Turkman Gate Delhi


b) Kaithal?


c) Tonk

According to a recent claim that she and her African slave paramour are buried at Tonk in Rajsthan where her father Iltumish had laid a siege The controversy arose after Sayed Sadique Ali, an Urdu lecturer at the local government post-graduate college claimed that the graves at the site are that of Razia and her trusted slave, Yaqut. He based his findings on the calligraphic Arabic script deciphered by the pattern of stones of irregular shapes affixed around the graves. The stones convey a particular message which, according to him, is: “Shahide Muhabbat Quvvatul-Mulk Jamaluddin Yaqut” around the smaller grave, and on the main grave, situated at a higher level, it reads: “Sultanul Hind Razia.”

ii) Sultan Ghari is the tomb of which Nasruddin? Eldest Son or Grand Son or youngest Son of Iltutmish?


iii) Grave of Maham Anga? Is she really buried in Adham Khan’s Tomb?


iv) Quli Khan son of Maham Anga?

Quli Khan is supposed to be the Son of Maham Anga, but his reference is not made any where in association with Maham Anga


vi) Maham Anga-Nurse of Akbar; wife of Nadīm kūka; mother of i) Bāqī and ii) Adham kūkas. Cf. iii) Bābū āghā. (Fakhru-n-nisā’ anaga aws the mother of Nadīm kūka).


Detail showing Maham Anga, Akbar’s foster mother, from the Akbarnama c1590, V&A Museum

vii) Why is grave of Khan Shahid in Balbans tomb?



x) Where is Balban’s grave. The Tomb is empty


xi) Who all are buried in Ghiyasudin Tughlaqs grave? Mahmood Khan his IInd Son who was killed with him in Kara . Or Mohd Bin Tughlaq?


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Maqbara Paik

A day well spent My heritage trip of Saturday-14 March 2015…………………………….

Maqbara Paik, Karnal by-pass, New Delhi

Wonder who this Paik was? All we know that he was a Paik (Messenger) in early Mughal times as the monument dates to Lodhi period.


Was this Paik special? Or did he pass away after delivering a very important message?

IMG01817-20150314-1242 Maqbara Paik

All said and done, if a tomb is built for a Paik (there were thousands) then he must be important.


The tomb has four perforations on all four sides of the tomb, that let in light to the crypt and also smaller perforations all long the narrow winding staircase leading to the top of the tomb to let in air and light perhaps.


But what is intriguing is that, now a days owing to restoration the floor of where the cenotaph might have been and same floor forming the roof of the crypt has been demolished by the restorers. As a consequence the crypt is fully illuminated with sunlight flooding in through the gaping hole that was one the roof.

The large solitary chadar covered grave of the Paik can be seen from the openings on all four sides.

Paiks grave is also venerated as one could see oil lamps (diyas) incense sticks and even a bundle of notes! tucked on the handle of the locked main door of the crypt!

No one dares to steal the bundle of notes, perhaps fearing the wrath of Paik’s rooh!!!

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Roshnara Bagh

We all know the background of Roshnara Bagh.

But today I saw the ‘Mahal of Roshnara’ converted into a School-“Sarvoday Bal Vidyalaya” and perhaps put to right use, rather than to let ‘Mahal of Roshnara’ decay into oblivion.

The Punjabi Gate and Baradari of Roshnara where her grave is there, her pools and canal have all turned into a major garbage dumping ground. The path too is infested with n number of Rodent Burrows.

Wonder if Roshnara Club: (of British times-commenced in 1922) One of the most elite clubs in Delhi, has any semblance to its namesake Roshnara…..

Roshanara Garden is a Mughal-style garden built by Roshanara Begum, the second daughter of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Today the garden holds a white marble pavilion built in memory of the princess Roshanara, who died in 1671 and was buried there.



‘Mahal of Roshnara’ converted into a School-“Sarvoday Bal Vidyalaya”

Punjabi Gate

Baradari of Roshnara


Grave of Roshnara

Do read:

Shahzadi Roshanara Begum

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Sunheri Masjid (Near Qila i Mualla)

We all know the background of the Masjid.

Mazaar of Mai Sahab aka Shahzadi, at the back of Sunheri Masjid .

But what was intriguing, was that the old sweepress outside the Masjid, said: “do not forget to visit the Mazaar of Mai Sahab aka Shahzadi” !!! At the back of the Mosque there was a Mazaar. According to the mullah, that small mazaar behind the mosque marks Qudsia Begum’s grave !!! Wonder whose grave is it? It is a Ladies Mazaar, well venerated and it is believed that ‘Mai Sahab’ fulfills wishes if visited every Friday for 7 Fridays. So, on the 7th Friday we have to ‘chadao a chador’.

Sunehri Masjid

One of three mosques called Sunehri Masjid, ‘golden mosque’, this small mosque stands near the Delhi gate of Red Fort. It was constructed in 1751 during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Ahmad Shah. The persons responsible for its construction were Qudsia Begam, the mother of the emperor and the real power behind the throne; and her trusted courtier Javed Khan. This mosque was used mainly by the Mughal royal family, and after the suppression of the Revolt of 1857, passed into Army control, together with the Red Fort and the area around it. The structure gets its name from the fact that originally its three domes were covered with copper gilt mounted on a wooden base. Since these had become much weathered and worn, Bahadur Shah II in 1852 had the domes repaired in sandstone instead.

Nawab Ahmad Bakhsh Khan, father of the Nawab of Firozpur, repaired the mosque to benefit the neighborhood. Not long after its renovation, Nawab Ahmad Bakhsh Khan was attacked by an infuriated elephant while out with his son. His horse was killed in the attack, and his vehicle was destroyed. The Nawab and his son were only saved from death by taking refuge inside this mosque.

Images:                                                                                                      IMG01948-20150328-1453 Sunheri Masjid


The gate to Sunheri Masjid

Mazaar of Mai Sahab aka Shahzadi, at the back of the Mosque

Do read:

Qudsia Begum-The Tale of an Empress, in Fame and Notoriety.…/

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Interesting Facts of History-Assorted (3)

i) Sultan Mahmud of Gujarat is exemplary in maintaining peaceful atmosphere in the seragalio, according to his rules any lady who laughed at or derided the other, both were killed.

ii) An interesting aspect of harem life of the Delhi Sultans was that, in order to strengthen their position, they established matrimonial relations with the royal family. Some significant examples are:

a) Daughter of Qutbuddin Aibak was married to Iltutmish;

b) A daughter of Iltutmish was married to Balban;

c) Altunia married Raziya;

d) Balban gave one of his daughters in marriage to Nasiruddin Mahmud;

e) A daughter of Malik Chajju was married to Kaiqubad;

f) A daughter of Kaiqubad was married to Alauddin Khalji;

g) A daughter of Sultan Jalaluddin Khalji was married to Alauddin Khalji;

h) A daughter of Alauddin Khalji was married to Ghiyasuddin Tughluq;

i) A daughter of Mubarak Khalji was married to Firozshah Tughluq and

j) A daughter of Sultan Muhammad of the Syed dynasty was married to Mahmud Sharqi.

iii) Ruknuddin (Son of Iltutmish and Brother of Razia Sultan) was arrested from Kilugarhi and was imprisoned and put to death in Nov. 1236 A.D. He had ruled for only six months and twenty eight days. Age at Death-25 years old.

iv) Nasiruddun Shah named after Father?

A man of pious disposition, Nasiruddin Mahmud (rule 1246-66) was a grandson of Iltutmish.

According to some experts, he was the youngest son of Iltutmish. He succeeded Alauddin Masud Shah to the throne of Slave Dynasty at the age of sixteen.

Nasiruddin Mahmud was ill-qualified to rule. A puppet in the hands of his courtiers, he was married to the daughter of Ghiyasuddin Balban, one of the leading Turkish nobles. In reciprocation to this Balban was appointed to the post of regent (naib-i-mamlakat) and was conferred with the title of Ulugh Khan (premier Khan) by the Sultan.

Except for a brief period (1253-55) when some nobles opposed to Balban instigated Nasiruddin to exile him, Balban was the de facto ruler of the Delhi Sultanate during the Sultan’s reign.

Nasiruddin Mahmud died in 1266. Since he had no male heirs, he designated Balban to be the Sultan. The fourteenth century historian Isami as well as African traveller Ibn Batuta clearly mention that Nasiruddin was murdered by Balban. However, Yayiha bin Ahmad Sarhindi does not accuse Balban of regicide and according to him, Nasiruddin Mahmud died a natural death.

At Sultangarhi – the grave of Nasrudin is venerated. Which Nasirudin? The warrior son of Iltutmish or the Grandson or youngest son of Illtutmish?

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Sultan Garhi-A Tomb that Leaves People Wondering……


Sultan Garhi


Sultan Garhi-The Tomb

Nasir ud din Mahmud, Nasir ud din Firuz Shah (1246–1266) was the eighth sultan of the Mamluk Sultanate (Slave dynasty). He was the son of Nasiruddin Mahmud (died-1229). He was named after his father; by Shams ud din Iltutmish, for he had grown an intense filial attachment, to the only begot son of his posthumous child. He succeeded Alauddin Masud Shah to the throne of Slave Dynasty at the age of sixteen, after the chiefs replaced Masud when they felt that he began to behave as a tyrant.

Nasiruddin Mahmud (rule 1246-66) – A Man of Pious Disposition

A man of pious disposition, Nasiruddin Mahmud (rule 1246-66) was a grandson of Iltutmish. According to some experts, he was the youngest son of Iltutmish.

Unlike many of his predecessors and successors, Mahmud strictly followed monogamy. He spent most of his times writing down verses of Quran. He sold the handwritten copies and used the money for his personal expenses. Surprising enough, he had no servants to carry out his personal tasks. His wife had to cook the food for the family.

As a ruler, Mahmud was known to be very religious, spending most of his time in prayer and renowned for aiding the poor and the distressed.

A Poor Ruler

Nasiruddin Mahmud was ill-qualified to rule. A puppet in the hands of his courtiers, he was married to the daughter of Ghiyasuddin Balban, one of the leading Turkish nobles. In reciprocation to this Balban was appointed to the post of regent (naib-i-mamlakat) and was conferred with the title of Ulugh Khan (premier Khan) by the Sultan. Actually his father-in-law and Deputy Sultan or Naib, Ghiyas ud din Balban (1266–1287), who primarily dealt with the state affairs, rose to power after Mahmud’s death in 1266  as Mahmud had no children to be his heir. 

The fighter-Prince Nasiru’d-Din Mahmud (d. 1229)


The fighter-Prince Nasiru’d-Din Mahmud (1229)

(Eldest Son of Illtutmish and Crown Prince)

Except for a brief period (1253-55) when some nobles opposed to Balban instigated Nasiruddin to exile him, Balban was the de facto ruler of the Delhi Sultanate during the Sultan’s reign. Nasiruddin Mahmud died in 1266. Since he had no male heirs, he designated Balban to be the Sultan. The fourteenth century historian Isami as well as African traveller Ibn Batuta clearly mention that Nasiruddin was murdered by Balban. However, Yayiha bin Ahmad Sarhindi does not accuse Balban of regicide and according to him, Nasiruddin Mahmud died a natural death.

That was about Nasiruddin Mahmud.

Let us now talk about how the events took a turn:

Iltumish, ruling from Delhi since 1210 AD, invaded eastern India in 1225 AD to capture Lakhnauti (now a ruined city in West Bengal called Gaur). The resultant battle ended in signing of a treaty between Izaz, the then ruler of Eastern India (Bihar and Bengal) and Iltumish; the former ruler agreeing to pay a surety of 80 lakh tankas (silver currency), 38 elephants, mint and issue of coins in the name of Iltumish and accepting Sultan’s suzerainty over the region. Before returning to Delhi, Iltumish divided the region into Bihar and Lakhnauti, and installed Alauddin masud jani as his feudatory in Lakhnauti. But Jani’s control was short lived as he was overthrown by Iwaz soon after Iltumish’s departure.

Thereafter, Iltutmish deputed his eldest son prince Nasiru’d-Din Mahmud to fight Iwaz. In the battle which took place near Lakhnauti, Iwaz was trounced and executed in 1227 AD, along with his nobles. Prince Nasiru’d-Din Mahmud, who was then appointed as governor of Lakhnauti province, merged his original province of Oudh with Bengal and Bihar, and established his capital at Lakhnauti. This act of his, coupled with the fact that he was son of Iltumish enhanced his prestige in the province. As a reward, he was given the honorific title of ‘Malik-us-Sharq’ (king of the East) by Iltutmish. His rule was short lived, eventful and he could consolidate his territory. But after a rule of 18 months, Nasiru’d-Din Mahmud was killed.

Sultangarhi-The tomb

Immensely grieved by the death of his favorite eldest son, Iltumish built a tomb called the Sultan Ghari in memory of his son, in 1231 AD, close to the Qutb complex.



Mahmud’s fortified tomb built by Iltutmish, known as Sultan Ghari, lies in the Vasant Kunj area, close to Mehrauli, in New Delhi. Built in1231 AD, it was the first Islamic Mausoleum built in India. The octagonal tomb chamber, is one of finest examples of Mamluk dynasty architecture, which also include the Qutub Minar.


Swastik on the Tomb Wall

The tomb is a revered place for devotees of both Hindu and Muslim religious communities of the nearby villages of Mahipalpur and Rangpuri since they consider the tomb as the Dargah of a saintly ‘peer’; a visit to the tomb is more or less mandatory for newlyweds from these two villages. Because of the religious veneration, the monument is maintained better by the local people than the Archaeological Survey of India who are the formal custodians to maintain the heritage structure.



Long Corridors of the Tomb on either side of the Mihrab


Tomb Wall Upstairs


Tomb Wall Downstairs


Funerary Chhatri of other brothers of Nasiru’d-Din Mahmud (d. 1229)


Entrance to the Crypt and Grave

Thursday is a special day for worship at this tomb when devotees, both Hindus and Muslims, visit the shrine, which represents a festive display of Hindu – Muslim syncretism of religious tolerance. Every year, on the 17th day of the Islamic month of Ziqad (month occurring between Ramadan and Eid festivals), the “Urs (death anniversary) of Nasiruddin Shah” is held when pilgrims from all parts of Delhi visit the tomb.

The historical confusion – Whose tomb is Sultan Garhi?

Is it the tomb of prince Nasiru’d-Din Mahmud (Eldest Son and Crown Prince)-The fighter or is it the tomb of Nasir ud din Mahmud, Nasir ud din Firuz Shah (1246–1266) was the eighth sultan of the Mamluk Sultanate (Slave dynasty). He was the son of Nasiruddin Mahmud (died-1229). He was named after his father, by Shams ud din Iltutmish, for he had grown an intense filial attachment, to the only begot son of his posthumous child.

The tomb is a revered place for devotees of both Hindu and Muslim religious communities and, Nasiruddin Mahmud (rule 1246-66) son of Nasiruddin Mahmud (died-1229) and named after his father, by Shams ud din Iltutmish, his grandfather, was known to be a man of pious disposition.

So, is it the tomb of the pious prince or the fighter prince (his father)?


Compiled article.

For further details do read:

i) Breezes that Blow from Sultan Garhi and Beyond…..

ii) Sultan Ghiyasuddin Balban-A Pining Father

iii) Sultan Shams-ud-din Iltutmish

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