Jehangir-The Curious Emperor (From Jahangir-Nama)



Jehangir can be called the first scientist emperor (and only) of India. He had child like enthusiasm to discover something new and keenly observed nature and animals.

Jehangir’s temperament for discovering new things and new facts was unmatched.

He was not only interested in experiments but also a naturalist.

Here are some of his curious experiments

1) Jehangir correctly wrote in his autobiography that an Elephant gestation period is 18 months by observing his pet elephants and it was confirmed later in 20th century.

2) Once a deer was thrown into Jehangir’s tiger cage for meal and they became friends. The deer would sleep keeping its head on tigers chest and the tiger licked it like a parent and showered attention. This matter was informed to the emperor who was awe struck and decided to conduct an experiment on animal psychology.

Then he got an idea and removed that deer from cage and brought a similar deer(size, age) and put it in cage. The tiger immediately attacked and killed it and ate it.

Then a sheep was put inside and it met the same fate.

When the other deer was then put in back with the tiger, the tiger treated it with the usual love and affection liking its face and allowing it to sleep by placing its head on his chest.

3) Jehangir even cross bred animals for eg: Markhur goats with Barbary goats, lion with a tiger etc.

4) He like dissecting animals and checking what is inside them. His dissection experiments included reptiles, crocodiles, birds, lions, tigers etc. Once he had a lion dissected to check from where it derived its strength and courage and concluded that it was because of its gall bladder enclosed in its liver and another time because of its paws etc

5) Once a person got bitumen from Persia because it was reputed to mend broken bones. Jahangir conducted experiments and concluded the claim was false.

6) He conducted experiments on soil from various locations and concluded that some places like Gujarat had better fertile lands than places like Agra.

7) Once a man claimed that laughter arises because people eat saffron and if you eat in large quantities it leads to death. So he got a hardened criminal to eat half a kilo saffron in front of him and that person neither laughed nor died.

8) Once a yogi came and claimed that he can eat any quantity of arrack but be in his senses. So Jehangir made him drink arrack and after a few pints he passed out.

9) For 5 years Jehangir kept two saras cranes with him and observed them and recorded all their behavior, mating, kids etc in accurate detail that would make any biologist proud.

10) Once a person claimed and cheated people that he can give long life. So Jehangir told him he will tie his hands and legs and push him in Yamuna river from top of fort. If he comes out alive he will give him all his wealth and even his crown. The man got scared and accepted he had lied.

11) A person once told him that lions/tigers cannot change their true nature and will kill any human if give opportunity. So he brought a few of his pet lions/tigers and made them be in his room for weeks and they never tried to kill him. He had such good camaraderie with animals(or knew psychology of animals very well) that sometimes in forest wild deer etc would come and eat out of his hand.

12) He conducted many more experiments that have been recorded in Mughal chronicles and even Jehangir-nama. He was a person who could not be easily convinced to do anything because he demanded proof for everything instead of believing.

13) He would often challenge/question claims of holy man and it would be tough for them to prove him their claims about the things written in scriptures. Hence they labelled him as an atheist. Like Jehangir told the Jesuits that he will convert to Christianity if they threw the cross in fire and it does not burn as they claimed.

14) He was a naturalist who observed nature, animals etc .and gave details of flora and fauna of that time.

15. He was a contradictory person. He loved his pet animals very much and would get upset and mourn for days if he lost them and also build them tombs. His pet lions and tigers he fed with his own hands sometimes. But also he was a prolific hunter.

(Source: Compiled from Jahangir-Nama)

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‘Nai-ka-Maqbara’ (in the fore ground)
Internet Photo

Barber’s Tomb or ‘Nai-ka-Maqbara’ as it is locally refered, is located in Humayun’s Tomb complex.

It stands on a platform on the south-east side of Humayun’s Tomb, which is not even 3 minutes away.

It is said that it was built for Emperor Humayun’s royal barber. Hence one can imagine how important that barber might have been in Humayun’s life, although, there is no mention of his name anywhere.

It is known that the individuals interred in the two graves present inside the tomb are of male & female respectively, but their identity is not clear.

No one knows who are buried inside this picturesque tomb of red and grey sand stone.

Is the tomb really of Emperor Humayun’s royal barber?

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The Forgotten Talkatora

Remnants of Talkatora
Photo Credit-Monika Bradoo

Talkatora Bagh/Garden is a Mughal-era Garden situated on the Mother Teresa Crescent (previously Wellingdon Crescent) in New Delhi. In ancient times, it used to be a tank and a Swimming pool. The Marathas defeated the Mughals in the Battle of Delhi (1737) at this place.
The garden is now more famous for the Talkatora Stadium. It attracts a large number of tourists.
There was a tal (tank) at the west side of the garden, surrounded by hilly ground forming a katora (bowl shaped natural depression) which gives the place its name. Although the pond has gone missing long ago, here still exists at the northwestern end of the garden, a long wall domed octagonal pavilion s at the two ends. this was an embankment (bund) to hold back rain water flowing into that tank. there is another link to the past. the place around this was used as a camping ground by the Maratha army in 1736-37. Writes GS Chhabra in his book.

Saadat Ali Khan I

Source: Internet

“Saadat Khan (a Mughal army official) had attacked a contingent of marching Maratha army after it had crossed Jumna (Yamuna River). He retired to Mathura saying he had defeated the main Maratha army.

Peshwa Baji Rao, had however, taken different route to reach Delhi. He did not pillage the city and camped at the Talkatora grove.”

The other Mughal Sardars of the doab – Mohammed Khan Bangash and Khan Dauran joined Sadat Khan at Agra. From there, Sadat Khan sent messages to the emperor apprising him of how he had routed the ‘main’ Maratha army at Jaleshwar and that he would now proceed to finish Bajirao with the help of other Mughal Sardars!

Onward march for the historic Battle of Delhi on 28 March 1737

Bajirao Peshwa-Shaniwarwada-Fort-pune

Source: Internet

After death of Trimbak Rao, Bangash’s alliance against the Marathas had fallen apart. Consequently, the Mughal emperor recalled him from Malwa, and re-appointed Jai Singh II as the governor of Malwa.

However, the Maratha chief Holkar defeated Jai Singh in the Battle of Mandsaur in 1733. After two more battles, the Mughals decided to offer the Marathas the right to collect ₹ 22 lakh as chauth from Malwa.

On 4 March 1736, Bajirao and Jai Singh came to an agreement at Kishangad. Jai Singh convinced the emperor to agree to the plan, and Bajirao was appointed as Deputy Governor of the province.

Jai Singh is also believed to have secretly informed Bajirao that it was a good time to subdue the weakening Mughal emperor.

Following successes in Malwa and Rajputana region during the 1730s, the Peshwa decided to pressurize the Mughal emperor to grant him various provinces, places and tribute from other Mughal provinces.

In brief, Baji Rao’s demands were as follows: (May 1736)

1. Subhedari of Malwa.
2. Sardeshpande to be appointed by Peshwa to the six subah of the Deccan.
3. The forts of Mandavgarh, Dhar and Raisin.
4. Bundelkhand upto Chambal to be ceded to the Peshwa.
5. Fifty lakh rupee tribute to be paid by Bengal to the Peshwa.
6. The Mughals to hand over the holy places of Mathura, Prayag, Varanasi and Gaya to the Peshwa.
7. Dues of chauth from Gujarat.

In return, Bajirao agreed not to attack any other territory under the Mughals, and station 500 Maratha troops at Delhi etc.

But as soon as Bajirao turned south and left for Pune, the Mughals decided to renege on his word! He continued to have Sawai Jai Singh as the subhedar of Malwa and consented to Bajirao being only a deputy subhedar.

On 12 November 1736, Bajirao Peshwa started a march to the Mughal capital Delhi from Pune.
On hearing about the advancing Maratha army, the Mughal emperor asked Saadat Khan who was at Faizabad, to march and attack him at Agra and check the Maratha advance.
Saadat Khan led a force of 150,000 against them, and ‘defeated’ them. He then retired to Mathura, stating that the Marathas had retreated.
The Maratha chiefs Malhar Rao Holkar and Pilaji Jadhav crossed Yamuna and plundered the Mughal territories in the Ganga-Yamuna Doab.

But the fall of Ater and Bhadavar meant that Baji Bhivrao now controlled the crossing places on the Yamuna. Early in the month of March 1737, Baji Bhivrao and Malharrao Holkar crossed the Yamuna with troops numbering 10,000 and raided the towns of Shikohabad, Ferozabad and Itimadpur.

They then proceeded to Jaleshwar, where a contingent under Sadat Khan opposed Malharrao Holkar. But this was just an advance guard sent by Sadat Khan under Mansur Ali Khan, meant to draw the Marathas towards Sadat Khan’s main army which was far more numerous. Mansur Ali Khan controlled only 12,000 of Sadat Khan’s army which totaled over 60,000!

Holkar unfortunately fell for this ploy and found himself in front of Sadat Khan’s large army. The Pathan Nawab’s forces outnumbered the Marathas, and in the fighting that followed, Holkar ‘lost’ over a thousand men before managing to retreat and cross the Yamuna .

Sadat Khan then moved north to Agra, which the Peshwa had already vacated for Gwalior. Malharrao Holkar joined Bajirao Peshwa at Gwalior around the middle of March.

The other Mughal sardars of the doab – Mohammed Khan Bangash and Khan Dauran joined Sadat Khan at Agra. From there, Sadat Khan sent messages to the emperor appraising him of how he had routed the ‘main’ Maratha army at Jaleshwar and that he would now proceed to finish Bajirao with the help of other Mughal sardars! Malharrao Holkar’s and Baji Bhivrao attacked the doab.
However, Bajirao advanced to Delhi and encamped at Talkatora. The Mughal emperor dispatched a force led by Mir Hasan Khan Koka to check his advance.
The Marathas defeated this force in the Battle of Delhi on 28 March 1737. Bajirao then retreated from Delhi, apprehensive about the approach of a larger Mughal force from Mathura.

Help for Mughals

Muhammad Shah

Source: Internet

The Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah then sought help from the Nizam. The Nizam set out from Deccan, and met Bajirao’s returning force at Sironj. The Nizam told Bajirao that was going to Delhi to repair his relationship with the Mughal emperor.
On reaching Delhi, he was joined by other Mughal chiefs, and a massive Mughal army set out against the Peshwa.

Moreover, the Mughal decided to attack the Peshwa so as to prevent him from entering Malwa again. For this, the emperor sounded the Nizam of Hyderabad as well as Mughal sardars in the Ganga – Jamuna doab such as Sadat Khan, Mohammed Khan Bangash and Khan Dauran.

A formidable force, stretching across the cow – belt of present day India was formed to attack the Peshwa.
In September of 1736, the Emperor sent a sanad , confirming Peshwa as deputy subhedar of Malwa. All other demands of Bajirao were entirely ignored.

The Peshwa also assembled a force of 80,000 soldiers and marched towards Delhi, leaving behind a force of 10,000 under Chimnaji to guard Deccan. The two armies met mid-way at Bhopal, where the Marathas defeated the Mughals in the Battle of Bhopal on 24 December 1737.

Once again, the Nizam was forced to sign a peace agreement, this time at Doraha on 7 January 1738. The province of Malwa was formally ceded to the Marathas and the Mughals agreed to pay ₹ 5,000,000 as indemnity.

This time, the Nizam took an oath on Koran to abide by the treaty.

The First Battle of Delhi or The Raid of Delhi took place on 28 March 1737between Maratha Empire and the Mughals.

By 1735, the Marathas had gained control over entire Gujrat and Malwa. But some towns and areas under the influence of local Mughal officers and Zamindars refused to acknowledge Maratha control.

The Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah was also dillydallying over passing an official order chartering chauth and sardeshmukhi rights to the Marathas. Efforts by Bajirao to seek audience with the Mughal emperor were also ignored.

The Marathas decided to assert themselves.

The Peshwa realized that mere negotiations would no longer help his cause. Unless he moved his armies to Delhi, the Mughal emperor would not budge. Accordingly, in October of 1736 (Pansolar. Marathyancha itihas by G.H Khare, quotes this as November 1736), Bajirao moved into Malwa via Nandurbar and joined Holkar, Shinde and Pawar who were already present there. Together they totaled over 50,000 troops.

In January of 1737 Peshwa moved further north to Bhelsa near Bhopal and captured it. Then he moved to Datia (near Gwalior) as also Ater by February of the same year. The Raja of Bhadavar opposed Bajirao at both places, but was comprehensively defeated.

The Marathas obtained 20 lakhs tribute from him. Thus by early 1737, Bajirao had extended Maratha influence almost to Delhi and were in fact in the vicinity of Agra . He then ordered Malharrao Holkar and Baji Bhivrao to attack the Ganga – Jamuna doab region, so as to prevent any help reaching Delhi from that region as also to prevent the Pathan Nawabs of the region from attacking the Marathas who had by then reached the precincts of Agra.

Bajirao I personally marched towards Delhi with a large Maratha army in Dec 1737. He divided the army into two. One contingent was led by Peshwa Bajirao and the other by Pilaji Jadhav and Malharrao Holkar.

The contingent of Holkar was however annihilated by a much larger army led by Sadat Khan, the Nawab of Oudh and mughal governor of Agra.

Malharrao Holkar himself managed to escape and reach the other group led by Bajirao. The contingent of Bajirrao, in a swift movement, completely bypassed the encamped Mughal army and reached the outskirts of Delhi (28 March 1737), covering a ten-day journey in just forty eight hours.

What followed thereafter was the direct attack on Mughal army. The Mughal emperor himself hid in the safe confines of Red Fort, while Bajirao and his men gain control of the countryside. A twelve thousand strong Mughal army led by Mir Hassan Koka did try to take on Bajirao, but they were hopelessly outmaneuvered and Mir Hassan himself was wounded in the skirmish.

Then before the Mughal army could get reinforcements and gather their wits, Bajirao with his entourage returned to the Deccan. On 31 March 1737, the victorious Maratha army left Delhi with their large booty leaving behind Mughals, mauled and humbled.

On the way back to Pune, Bajirao planted his trusted lieutenants at various places won from Mughals in north and central India, which were to remain their permanent places of influence in the near future.

Bajirao attacks Delhi!

Bajirao now decided to directly attack Delhi, where the emperor, emboldened by Sadat Khan’s letters, had become slightly complacent. He moved from Gwalior, and keeping Agra 14 – 15 miles to his east, galloped to Delhi at a speed of over 70 miles a day. Passing Newataya , Barapula and the Kalika mandir (today’s Kalkaji Temple of Delhi) camped at Kushbandi on the 28th of March 1737.

Kushbandi was in today’s New Delhi area.

On the 1st of April, Sadat Khan and the others received news of Bajirao’s march to Delhi. The three Mughal sardars started moving from Agra to Delhi via Mathura.

Bajirao now had the Red Fort well within his sights. His initial plan was to attack Delhi with all his troops to loot, pillage and burn the Mughal capital. But later on, he decided against such an act. His reasons being, that Delhi held a special place in the minds of many people, zamindars and sardars across the region and suddenly breaking the thread of politics might create insurmountable political problems. Moreover, the Marathas had more to gain by the politics involving the badshah and Khan Dauran.

Lastly, dethroning the Mughal was frowned upon by Shahu. The Mughal armies were also numerous and the campaign would not be easy. As a result, Bajirao abandoned his plans to torch Delhi, and instead sought to menace the Mughal emperor and annex territories surrounding Delhi so as to tighten the Maratha grip over Delhi.

On the 29th of March, the Marathas looted some outlying areas near Delhi, forcing the emperor to station a force of a few thousand outside the Red Fort. Bajirao sent Malharrao Holkar, Ranoji Shinde, Tukoji Pawar and Yashwantrao Pawar to battle this Mughal force. The Maratha and Mughal armies, each numbering around 8,000 clashed near Rakab Ganj (near today’s Parliament House).

Over 400 Mughal soldiers were killed and an equal number were wounded, along with a number of their leaders. The Mughal contingent beat a hasty retreat to the safety of the Red Fort’s walls.
Peshwa Bajirao then shifted his camp to Malcha, a village near Talkatora. The Mughal emperor sent a force under Kamruddin Khan, who attacked from Patshahpur. In the skirmishing that followed, the Marathas captured a number of horses, guns and an elephant.

The camp was mentioned as ‘Kushbandi’, which was somewhere in New Delhi.

Bajirao moves south:

Bajirao’s mission had by the beginning of February been accomplished. He had reached the very walls of the Red Fort and defeated many different Mughal sardars. Peshwa Bajirao and other Maratha generals had, by dint of speed, managed to make the various Mughal sardars run around in circles – whether it be Malwa, Chambal, Doab or Delhi. That he now dictated terms was obvious.

Seeing that there was a large water body behind them, the city of Delhi some distance away and Kamruddin swiftly making his way to Talkatora, Bajirao decided to shift his camp once again.

Another major reason being that the armies of Sadat Khan, Khan Dauran and Mohammed Khan Bangash were closing upon Delhi. The Peshwa moved south to Kot Putli, around a 100 km away.

The Mughals had been sufficiently harassed, and would not dream of attacking the Peshwa again directly.

Aftermath of the Battle of Delhi

The Mughals were devastated by the fierce attack and ask all muslim rulers to help against the Hindu army of Marathas. Nizam left Deccan to rescue Mughals from the invasion of Marathas, but was defeated decisively in the Battle of Bhopal. The Marathas extracted large tributaries from Mughals and signed a treaty which ceded Malwa to the Marathas.

This Maratha plunder of Delhi weakened the Mughal Empire, which got further weakened after successive invasions of Nadir Shah (1739) and Ahmad Shah Abdali (1750s). While Marathas got support from local Hindus who welcomed them partly due to religious freedom and taxation.
The continuous attacks led to an end of Mughal Empire by year 1757 in which Marathas became the rulers of Delhi.

The Peshwa had achieved his objective of menacing the Mughal emperor. This campaign showed once and for all, that the Marathas controlled the strings at Delhi and any adventure by the Mughal would be dealt with sternly. The Mughal emperor on his part, was shown his much diminished position in Hindustan. Moreover, the Khan Dauran agreed to pay 13 lakh to Bajirao as tribute.

The Mughal emperor, understandably enraged at having been attacked in the Red Fort itself, decided to join the Nizam of Hyderabad in one last attempt to check the Peshwa.

Peshwa Bajirao’s response is the famous battle at Bhopal of 1738. This famous clash with the Nizam in 1738, cemented the Maratha’s place as the major power in India.

It is even chronicled that:

The Peshwas make a Second Attempt at terminating the Mughals in secret collaboration with the Nawabs of Awadh.

Peshwa Baji Rao I headed towards Delhi had the secret support of Saadat Khan and his son Safdarjung, the Nawabs of Awadh, who had also managed to convince Muhammad Shah that they were the best military commanders to deal with the Maratha threat.

Leading a strong force of 150,000 horsemen, Saadat Khan engaged in a brief skirmish with the forces of the Peshwa. Then Saadat Khan mysteriously withdrew and encamped at Mathura. From there, he sent news to the remaining Mughal military commanders that the Peshwa had been defeated and had left for the Deccan. The remaining Mughal military commanders left Delhi completely unguarded and began to celebrate.

In reality, the Marathas had hidden themselves in a natural depression surrounded by hills at Talkatora.

Source: E-books

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Khwajasara’s of Jahangir and Shahjahan

1. Khwajasara Aitbar Khan and his tomb

2. Khwajasara Firuz Khan and his tomb


Aitbar Khan literally means-a trustworthy man. Perhaps this was the reason why Khwajasara Aitbar Khan was given the responsibility to manage the royal harem of Jahangir,

In 1663, Shahjahan son of Jahangir had revolted, but Aitbar Khan had refused to be an ally to him nor help him. Jahangir was very impressed by the loyalty of Aitbar Khan and presented him with the title “Mumtaj Khan’.

Aitbar Khan was made the Governor of Agra City, by Jahangir.

According to traditions of that era, Aitbar Khan who was in Agra at that time had got constructed his tomb. This tomb is present near a big lake called Guru ka Taal. In earlier time near Aitbar Khans tomb there used to be a Sarai and a Mosque also. But during the modern construction of Railway tract and Road, a major portion of this complex was destroyed and now only the Mosque and tomb structure remain.

Since this monument-tomb has 12 pillars, hence it is also known as ‘Barah Khamba’. The grave of Aitbar Khan is located in an accurate shaped tomb.

Guru ka Taal

On the outskirts of Agra, near Baluchpura Station and Sikandara is located the Guru ka Taal-a historic Gurudwara. This was commissioned by Sant Baba Sadho ji Muni. This hermitage was built to pay homage to the ninth Guru Shri Teg Bahadur ji. T

This Gurudwara has a pond which has historic importance because in this pond Guru Shri Teg Bahadur ji had kept his arms and thereafter surrendered himself to the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

Initially this pond had 12 extensively carved minarets but due to vagaries of nature only 8 could remain standing. The architecture of this Gurudwara is heavily influenced by Mughal Architecture. That is why this building strongly resembles Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. Pilgrims from all over visit this Gurudwara every year.

As the trusted eunuch
Emperor Shah Jahan was a great Mughal ruler of India who built the famous Taj Mahal. He became ill In 1658 and was declared incapable ruling and thus was put on a house arrest by his own son Aurangzeb. Shah Jahan suffered a lot during his later life, his own son Aurangzeb put him to house arrest and declared himself as the new emperor. Aurangzeb hated his father like an enemy and made all possible attempts to make his life miserable.
Aurangzeb engaged an eunuch called I’tibar Khan (also known as Khoja Phul) to harass his father. I’tibar Khan was made in-charge of the Agra Fort where Shah Jahan was kept. I’tibar Khan troubled Shah Jahan and spared no chance of humiliating him.
I’tibar Khan was a male by birth. He was born in the province of Bengal in a very poor family. In earlier times the poor parents used to emasculate their sons and would employ them in the emperor’s royal harem to gain a source of income. I’tibar Khan was castrated as a boy and turned into eunuch and was employed as an escort and domestic servant in the Mughal royalty. This event caused a deep physical and mental impact on him. I’tibar Khan was a politically shrewd and cunning person. Soon he became the personal adviser of Aurangzeb. During the house arrest, I’tibar Khan troubled Shah Jahan and kept Aurangzeb updated about his moves.
On May 30, 1658, Shah Jahan’s elder son Dara Shikoh, was defeated by Aurangzeb in the Battle of Samugarh, and was ultimately beheaded. Aurangzeb murdered his own brother cruelly. It is said that Aurangzeb sent Dara’s head in a box at the hands of I’tibar Khan to the Agra Fort. That night I’tibar Khan waited until Shah Jahan sat for dinner. On the dinner table I’tibar Khan served Shah Jahan the box. When Shah Jahan opened the box he was shocked to see his son Dara’s head in it. He screamed and fell unconscious on the table. When Shah Jahan gained conscience, I’tibar Khan began pulling off the beard hairs from the severed head of Dara. As he plucked the hair, blood began to flow from the pores and I’tibar Khan enjoyed the whole act while helpless Shah Jahan cried in grief. Later I’tibar Khan narrated Aurangzeb and his sister Roshanara Beghum all the incident that took place. On hearing all this Aurangzeb and his sister rejoiced and listened with great amusement and laughed. Such was this cruel and inhuman eunuch I’tibar Khan.
On the advice of I’tibar Khan Aurangzeb gave Shah Jahan slow poison. I’tibar Khan would secretly mix dosage of poison in Shah Jahan’s food. This caused a great decline in the health of Shah Jahan and eventually he became bed ridden. I’tibar Khan once brought a poisonous massage oil and secretly ordered the royal masseur of Shah Jahan to massage that oil on Shah Jahan’s body. When this oil was applied on Shah Jahan’s body, it caused him severe itching. The pain was unbearable and within days his body had become cole black with puss filled boils and blisters. After all this pain and sufferings at the hands of his own son, Shah Jahan died on 22 January 1666. Aurangzeb didn’t attend his funeral. Shah Jahan’s body was buried next to his wife Mumtaz’s tomb inside the Taj Mahal.

Thus it is said that the emperor who built the beautiful Taj Mahal, himself became ugly towards the end of his life and died a very gruesome death.

Involvement of Khawajasara Itibar Khan in Kafur’s Mosque and Stone Horse

This small three-arched mosque surmounted by a dome, measures 13×10 feet. Behind it was a set of rooms which have now dwindled and the well near it has been filled up. On a chabutarah, near it, is a life-size red stone sculpture of a horse, and on another, a tombstone.

There is a Persian inscription carved in relief on three panels above the arches. It records that Itibari Khan, who had a noble status by the grace of king Jehangir, built this mosque for Khwajah Kafur on the road (From Agra to Delhi) in Hijri 1015/1605 A.D.

Itibar Khan Khawajasara was an important Noble and Nazir (Superintendent) of Jehangir’s Harem.

He was extremely loyal, true to his title ‘Itibar’, and Jehangir reposed total faith in him. Jahangir has mentioned him fondly several times in his memoirs. Itibar Khan was governor of Agra in 1622. With charge of the defense of the Fort and the Treasury.

In 1623 when the rebel prince Shahjehan tried to take Agra, Itibar Khan successfully defended it against him. He was given the new title of ‘Mumtaz Khan’ and mansab of 6000 Zat and 5000 Sawar. He died the same year.

It seems that Khwajah Kafur was a Sufi Saint and Itibar Khan built this mosque for him and also a few living rooms and a well. The Tomb near the stone horse seems, obviously, to be that of Khwajah Kafur and the stone horse, a replica of his pet horse.

Itibar Khan’s vast ‘Rauzah’ (Garden-Tomb) was also situated in the neighborhood. This monument is protected and conserved by the Archaeological Survey of India (Government of India).

Shah Jahan’s Palace Harem Custodian-Khwajasara Firoz Khan

Khwajasara Firuz Khan was a noble of Shah Jahan. He constructed this tomb during his lifetime and named it Tal Firuz Khan. The monument is built in red sandstone and features a double storied main gateway on the eastern side. The terrace on the first floor has arched chambers and can be accessed using a broad staircase of thirteen steps.

The grave of Firuz Khan is on the ground floor, which has subsidiary octagonal stories. Four-pillared rectangular chaukhandis with pyramidal roofs on top are located on the northern and southern sides of the main building.

The main entrance to the ground floor, where the grave lies, is through the arched opening on the southern side. The roof of the building has a semi-circular dome, which is crowned by a kalash finial.

This 17th-century Tomb, is a signpost on the Gwalior Road, just 5 Km from Agra, indicates the turning to this unusual octagonal structure, standing on the edge of a lake in the village

Firoz Khan, died in 1647. This marks the spot where Khwajasara, Firoz Khan a natural-born castrate and the custodian of Shah Jahan’s Palace Harem, is buried.

The red stone edifice stands on a high plinth and has a gateway attached to the main building. Steps lead to the upper story where a central pavilion containing the grave is located. Highly stylized stone carvings embellish the surface. Interestingly, unlike other buildings of the period, there is an absence of calligraphic inscriptions.

If the tomb is closed it can be opened by contacting the village watchman.


Ek Khwajasara ki pukar………

Ek badnaam si aur adhoori si zindagi ka haqdar hoon,

Kya meri quahishein nahi, kya main insaan hi nahi hoon?

Kyon karun main intezaar agle purjosh janm ka, main koi qafir nahi,

Kya mere Khuda ko mere is haal mein hi, meri bandage qubool nahi?

Lagta hai meri bandagi qubool hui!

Aka ki nazar meherbaan hui!

Aaj daulat,rutba, kismet, sab mera qadam bosa karte hai,

Lekin shohrat mujhe milti hi nahi hai!

Kyon ki ek badnaam si aur adhoori si zindagi ka haqdar hoon!

Kaash ke qafir hota, toh mang leta, agle janam mein jindagi ek pursukoon…………………..

By yours truly…….


Muslim Slave System in Medieval India by K. S. Lal


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‘Abdu’n Nabi’–At the court of Akbar

Akbar showed great respect for the two leading religious leaders at the court, Makhdum-ul-Mulk and Shaikh Abdul Nabi. Makhdum-ul-Mulk, who had been an important figure during the reign of the Surs, became even more powerful in the early days of Akbar.

‘Abdu’n Nabi aka Shaikh Abdul Nabi held the post of ‘Sadr‘, a kind of ecclesiastical registrar, in Akbar’s reign and enjoyed his confidence and was an important person in the court of Emperor Akbar.

Also known as Shaikh Abdul Nabi, who was appointed sadr-ul-sadur in 1565, was given authority which no other holder of the office (the highest religious position in the realm) had ever enjoyed. Akbar would go to his house to hear him expound the sayings of the Prophet, and he placed his heir, Prince Salim, under his tutorship. “For some time the Emperor had so great faith in him as a religious leader that he would bring him his shoes and place them before his feet.”

The assemblies in the Ibadat Khana had been arranged by Akbar out of sincere religious zeal, but ultimately they were to drive him away from orthodoxy. This was partly the fault of those who attended the gatherings. Questions were asked to belittle rivals, and soon the gatherings degenerated into religious squabbles.

The two great theologians of the court, Makhdum-ul-Mulk and Shaikh Abdul Nabi, arrayed on opposite sides, attacked each other so mercilessly that Akbar lost confidence in both of them. His disillusionment extended to the orthodoxy they represented.

Shaikh Abdul Nabi, although not personally accused of graft, is said to have had corrupt subordinates. He was a strict puritan, and his hostility toward music was one of the grounds on which his rival attacked him in the discussions in the House of Worship.

The petty recriminations of the ulama disgusted the emperor, but probably a deeper cause for his break with them was an issue that is comparable in some ways to the conflict between the church and the state in medieval Europe. The interpretation and application of Islamic law, which was the law of the state, was the responsibility of the ulama. Over against this, and certain to come in conflict with it, was Akbar’s concentration of all ultimate authority in himself.

Furthermore, with Akbar’s organization of the empire on new lines, problems were arising which the old theologians were unable to comprehend, much less settle in a way acceptable to the emperor.

i) One such problem brought matters to a climax in 1577. A complaint was lodged before the emperor by the qazi of Mathura that a rich Brahman in his vicinity had forcibly taken possession of building material collected for the construction of a mosque and had used it for building a temple. “When the qazi had attempted to prevent him, he had, in presence of witnesses, opened his foul mouth to curse the Prophet, and had shown his contempt for Muslims in various other ways.”

The question of suitable punishment for the Brahman was discussed before the emperor, but, perplexed by conflicting considerations, he gave no decision. The Brahman languished in prison for a long time.

ii) Ultimately Akbar left the matter to Shaikh Abdul Nabi, who had the offender executed. This led to an outcry, with many courtiers like Abul Fazl expressing the view that although an offense had been committed, the extreme penalty of execution was not necessary. They based their opinion on a decree of the founder of the Hanafi school of Islamic law. Abdul Nabi’s action was also severely criticized by the Hindu courtiers and by Akbar’s Rajput wives.

iii) He was sent by the emperor to Mecca with money for distribution to the poor, but on his return he failed to account for the money and was put in prison and murdered in 1584-85.

iv) A similar incident is mentioned in a book Themes in Indian History by Raghunath Rai, in the following words:

The king (Akbar) listened to the viewpoints of all the scholars and sometimes asked very intelligent questions. But he was much disgusted with the orthodox Muslims religious leaders like Makhdum ul Malik, Abdul Nabi and others as they showed obnoxious intolerance of another’s views.

v) Again in another book titled Domesticity and Power in the Early Mughal World by Ruby Lal, Abdul Nabi is not mentioned in good words:

One one occasion, even the Sadr (chief Judge) of the empire Shaykh Abd un Nabi has sought “protection from secluded ladies”.

Abd un Nabi was the grandson of Abdul Qaddus Gangohi, a great saint of his time.

Akbar had appointed Abd un Nabi the Sadr of the empire but found cases of bribery and murder against him, and therefore gave his position to Sultan Khvajeh.

Abd un Nabi was banished to Mecca. It was after his return that he sought refuge with the women.

In due time Akbar gave orders for his arrest “in such manner that the ladies should not know of it.”Abd un Nabi was later put to death: but it is interesting that Akbar had to do all this quietly, without crossing swords with the senior women of his Harem.

vi) Even his famous contemporary historian Abdul Qadir Badayuni, also seems to be not happy with the gentleman and his opinion is expressed in the following words:

Badauni not only has his complain only for Shias or Hindus, he too has reservations for many people from among Sunni faith. Shaikh Abd un Nabi, the chief Sadr, a bigoted Sunni is great target of him, in spite of his being good terms with Sadr, he related too many ‘infamous’ act of the Sardr.


Abdul Nabi Mosque

(Internet Photo)

Tilak Bridge, On Mathura Road, New Delhi
Dedicated To : Abdu’n Nabi
Built In : 1575-76

Abd un Nabi aka Abdul Nabi had constructed a beautiful mosque in Delhi. It was construct in 1575/76.

Abdul Nabi Mosque

Abdul Nabi Mosque, about 400m north of the Tilak Bridge, lies with its back on the Mathura road. It is a rubble-built structure consisting of a prayer-hall entered through three arched openings, the central apartment of which is provided with a dome. The cloisters on the sides of its courtyard have disappeared.
Originally, there was an inscription above the main arched bay of the prayer-hall, from which it is learnt that it was built by Shaikh ‘Abdu’n Nabi in 983 AH (1575-76). The façade of the prayer-hall was originally decorated with colored tiles, which have largely disappeared. The original features of the mosque have suffered during its recent renovation.

Tomb of Abd un Nabi aka Abdul Nabi (?) in District Gujranwala-Pakistan

Though it is clear from historical references that Abd un Nabi was a prominent courtier of Akbar, during the early decades of his rule. But it cannot be said with certainty that the same person is buried in this tomb. I found the following references about Abd un Nabi on the net, which I would like to share with you.

On 28 May, 2015, an article by Aown Ali was published in Dawn. on Abd un Nabi and his tomb.

This idea is based on the research of some of our renowned archaeologists, for example Ihsan H. Nadiem in an article on historic monuments in Gujranwala writes:

“The tomb is associated with Sheikh Abdul Nabi who was a tutor of the great Akbar. The Sheikh reached the status of Sadrus Sudur but was exiled to the holy places (Makkah and Madina) when the emperor was poisoned by Sheikh Faizi and Abdul Fazal.”

“He was ordered not to return to his country unless called by the emperor. On receiving rumors of disturbed conditions in India under Akbar he, however, came back without the permission of the emperor and settled in Ahmadabad in Gujarat in 1583. He was, therefore, arrested by Akbar and sent to prison under the charge of his old rival, Abul Fazal”.

“Another version tells of his having been murdered, while yet another attributes it was a natural death. But both accounts agree that it happened in 1584.”

Furthermore, in the same article, the veteran archaeologist says that there is no dated inscription record about the monument yet the architectural features on comparative basis suggests it dates back to the early 17th century of Shahjahan’s rule (1628-1658).

However, the comparative historical notes suggest that Sheikh Abdul Nabi was imprisoned and died in Fatehpur Sikri in 1583. It seems strange that the body of a person who was oppressed by the emperor was shifted so far away, and for what reason? Why was he buried in this great wilderness, as it surely has been towards the end of 16th century when the sheikh died?

Archeologists do not accommodate this query. But the historic record that we do have is a testament to the fact that Sheikh Abdul Nabi, the Sadrus Sudur, was buried in Narnaul in the Indian state of Haryana. This place is not too far from Fatehpur Sikri where the sheikh died while in prison.

The other school of thought regarding the tomb relates it to the Diwan Abdul Nabi Khan who is said to be the governor of Wazirabad under Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb’s era. Dr. Saif ur Rahman Dar the archeologist and Salman Rashid the travel writer are leading on this thought. Dr. Dar even establishes that Diwan Abdul Nabi Khan was a tutor of the grandchildren of Nawab Saad Ullah Khan, the prime minister, under Shah Jahan.


Tomb of Abd un Nabi at Kotly Maqbara


(Internet Photo)

Tomb of Abd un Nabi is a majestic building located in district Gujranwala, near a small village Kotly Maqbara. It is situated in such a remote country side. The huge tomb is a grand building standing tall in the green fields and visible from a long distance. Its sheer size and beauty of architecture is simply marvelous. Folk lore call it a work of Djins.

Due to negligence, it is fast approaching a stage when it would be difficult to repair or restore it. Already huge cracks have appeared in one of the four cupolas of the tomb. The main building is eroding at the lower parts.


The board reads: There are three graves under this tomb. In centre, Sheikh Abd un Nabi, on the west  side his son and on the east side his disciple lie buried.

(Internet Photo)


Passage to the lower a chamber containing graves


(Internet Photo)

There was one interesting story in November 1991: a woman had, of late, started to visit Abdul Nabi’s mausoleum. She dismounted from her escort’s motorcycle some ways away and came dancing to the tomb where she did all sorts of genuflexions at the subterranean graves.

(By the way-In the old days, when you came in front of your social superiors, you were expected to genuflect: that is, bend your knee and bow submissively. You did it before kings and nobles, and everyone did it before God.)

She told the people that a vision in her dream had informed her that these three were great heroes of Islam, who had come from Arabia and whose exertions had done much for religion in the heathen land of India.

Upon investigations it was revealed that this seer of visions was a superannuated dancing woman and prostitute from Chhicherwali, a village outside Gujranwala.


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Inside a Harem – Dar Harem Awurd-Dar Nikah Awurd

Dar Nikah Awurd (brought into the legal wedlock) and Dar Harem Awurd (admitted to the harem) these were used in order to indicate the manner in which particular women were admitted into the Harem, as the number of legally wedded were few; the number of others was often very large.



‘The Reception’ (1873) by John Frederick Lewis


Maintaining a large harem was cumbersome Personal jealousies and intrigues were rampant.

Sultan Mahmud of Gujarat had understood this fact and maintained a peaceful atmosphere in the Harem. According to his rules any lady who laughed at or derided the other, both were killed.

The harem of the Sultans comprised the mother of the Sultan, his wives, sisters and daughters, concubines and slave girls. Some of them were daughters of important nobles or chiefs. The principal wives had each a house, maiden, guards and servants. The ladies of the Harem enjoyed respectable positions and were held in high esteem by the Sultans.

Some royal ladies enjoyed high prestige and were endowed high titles such as Malika-i- Jahan, Makhduma-i Jahan and Khudavanda-i Jahan etc.

Among the prominent ladies of Mamluk, Khilji and Tughlaq Dynasty come the names of Khudavanda-i Jahan = Shah Turkan (wife of Sultan Iltutmish), Malika-i- Jahan, (wife of Sultan Jalaluddin Khalji), Makhduma-i Jahan and Khudavandzada (the mother and sister of Sultan Mohammad Bin Tughluq) respectively.

Interestingly the 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:

i) Qutbuddin Aibak’s daughter was married to Iltutmish

ii) A daughter of Iltutmish was married to Balban

iii) Altunia married Raziya

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

v) A daughter of Malik Chajju was married to Kaiqubad

vi) A daughter of Kaiqubad was married to Alauddin Khalji

vii) A daughter of Sultan Jalaluddin Khalji was married to Alauddin Khalji

viii) A daughter of Alauddin Daughter Khalji was married to Ghiyasuddin Tughluq

x) A daughter of Mubarak Khalji was married to Firozshah Tughluq

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


‘The Harem’ by Gustave Boulanger

Petticoat Government run from the Harem-Some examples: from Mamluk, Khilji and Tughlaq Dynasty.

Shah Turkan


Shah Turkan

Iltutmish’s death in 1236 was a signal for the nobles to initiate factional politics. His vigilance and political adroitness had as yet kept the nobles strictly under his control throughout his life time.

As mentioned by contemporary historians of Sultanate of Delhi, the name of Khudavanda-i Jahan Shah Turkan surfaces.

She was originally a slave girl of Turkish origin, purchased by Iltutmish. She rose to the status of chief queen of Sultan Iltutmish by dint of her beauty and qualities.

An ambitious lady, possessing intelligence and ability, she took over the reins of government in her own hands, after the passing away of her husband, because the new Sultan, her son Sultan Ruknuddin Firoz had become neglectful of his duties, owing to his over indulgence in pleasure.

She patronized men of letters and bestowed munificent generosity towards the men of learning and piety and endowments. She won the support of the nobility, and it was with their active cooperation that she succeeded in setting aside the will of Sultan Iltutmish and claimed the throne for her son Ruknuddin Firoz in place of Raziya Sultan.

Shah Turkan had ambitious and intriguing nature. She rose to prominence because of the incompetent and pleasure loving temperament of her son, Sultan Ruknuddin Firoz. The Sultan preferred a life of merry making with wine and women ignoring his responsibility in the affairs of the state.

This led Shah Turkan to control the administration of the Sultanate. She enjoyed the support of the officers of the house and the Turkish officers of the capital.

All powers were concentrated in her hands, to the extent that she issued royal farmans (royal mandates) in her own name. She meted out her vicious treatment against the other wives, sons and daughters of the deceased husband. Out of sheer jealousy she started harassing the ladies of the royal household. On the pretext of personal grievances, she brought about the assassination of several co wives of Sultan Iltutmish as she enjoyed the status of queen mother. Hence, she avenged being treated as base and inferior by her co wives.

The treasury was unduly spent to cater for the Sultan’s pleasure. This vicious, petticoat rule produced the inevitable reaction and his own supporters now set about to make amends for their hasty action. But Shah Turkan wanted to keep the throne safe and secure for her son Ruknuddin Firoz.

This brought her in conflict with another son of Sultan Iltutmish named Qutbuddin. He was a young prince having many talents and merit. By the order of Shah Turkan and Ruknuddin Firoz, he was blinded and finally put to death.

All these activities of Shah Turkan led to mutual distrust in the government. Rebellions broke out in different parts of the country.

The so called forty (Turkan-i-chahalgani) the prominent figure of the period felt that for preserving the dynasty and good name of their master Ruknuddin Firoz must be deposed.

To make the matters worse the provincial governors such as Malik Ghiyasuddin Mohammad Shah, a son of Iltutmish rose in rebellion in Oudh and plundered the treasure of Lakhnauti, which was being taken to Delhi. He also sacked and plundered several towns and created lawlessness.

Malik Izzuddin Mohammad Salari, the iqtadar of Badaun, also rebelled. The iqtadar of Multan, Malik Izzuddin Kabir Khan Ayaz and the Iqtadar of Hansi, Malik Saifuddin Kochi and the iqtadar of Lahore Malik Alauddin Jani, collectively rose against Ruknuddin Firoz.

It was a formidable combination of some of the most influential and powerful maliks of the empire.

Firoz marched from Delhi in order to deal with them, but the imperial officers themselves were either afraid of the power of the rebels or not loyal to the king. Nizamul Mulk Junaidi, the wazir deserted the army at Kilugarhi and fled to Koil, and from there went to join Malik Jani and Kochi.

The rebellion of the maliks and amirs spread like a wild fire. Ruknuddin Firoz led an army towards Kohram. At this time the Turkish amirs and slaves of the household, who formed the core centre of the army of the Sultan, further complicated the situation by intriguing with the many of Tazik (non Turk) officers in the neighbour hoods of Mansurpur and Tarain.

Rebellions and disorders in the empire encouraged Raziya also to take advantage. Her relations with Shah Turkan were far from cordial. Shah Turkan wanted to secure her position therefore she challenged Raziya. The generosity of the Sultan perhaps had kept the people of the capital in check so long, but during his absence from the capital Shah Turkan quarreled with Raziya. A rebellion broke out in the city in favor of Raziya . She deepened the crisis by inciting the masses of Delhi against the oppressive measures of Shah Turkan.

The Sultan was forced to return to the capital, but situation was already out of control, in response to an appeal from Raziya whom shah Turkan had attempted to capture and put to death, the people of Delhi were in favour of Raziya and Shah Turkan’s conspiracy failed miserably.

The Sultan retired to Kilugarhi and the revolt of the people met with success. The amirs and the soldiers, when they came back to the city took their oath of allegiance to Sultan Raziya. Ruknuddin 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.

The influential phase of Shah Turkan demonstrates that women in the Delhi Sultanate could be powerful. They were able to change the course of events and winning the nobles to their side.

Unscrupulous acts ultimately made some of the prominent nobles oppose her and plotted to bring end of her reign. She also became influential in political arena because of her son’s incompetence.

If Ruknuddin would have proved to be an able ruler then she with her son could have been successful for a long period of time.

Raziya Sultan


Razia Sultan of the Delhi Sultanate during its early phase, left her mark as a real ruling Sultan. She was the daughter of Sultan Iltutmish (1236- 1240 A.D.) and the first woman Sultan of Delh.

Ibn Battuta says that Raziya wore the garments of the oppressed and appealed to the an-nas (army). But most of the soldiers including the Turkish guards were absent from the capital and the appeal of Raziya must have been to the people of Delhi.

The people of the city hearing about the conspiracy of the queen mother against Raziya rose up in rebellion, attacked the royal palace and seized Shah Turkan.

Freedom of women of the Harem

Daughter of Sultan Iltutmish

The relevant evidence about the daughter who happened to be the real sister of Sultan Muizuddin Bahram Shah (1240- 1242 A.D. ) shows that a Muslim woman did not think it derogatory at all to seek divorce from her husband if there was temperamental incompatibility.

She was first married to the son of Qazi Nasiruddin but the marriage was dissolved afterwards. Again she was married to Aitigin, who had become the Naib-i- Mulk (regent ) after her brother’s accession to the throne in 1240 A. D.

Widow of Sultan Iltutmish

Another widow of Sultan Iltutmish, she also married a senior noble, Qutlugh Khan and with the support of her new husband and his friends at the court she compelled Sultan Alauddin Masud Shah (1242- 1246 A.D. ) to release from prison the sons of Sultan Iltutmish, prince Nasiruddin Mahmud (her own son) and prince Jalaluddin.

On the advice of nobles her son, Nasiruddin Mahmud was entrusted with the charge of the territorial unit of Bahraich, while Jalaluddin was posted as the wali (governor of) of Qanauj.

She is also said to have accompanied her son to Bahraich, because the latter was still a minor, aged less than fourteen years.

Two years later she plotted in league with her husband against Sultan Alauddin Masud and won over the nobles at the court to support her son’s claim to the throne. She confidentially carried on correspondence with the nobles in Delhi, and finally she secretly approached with her son from Bahraich for Delhi.

On her departure for Delhi, she announced that her son was taken to Delhi for medical treatment. Both of them were taken in a palanquin, escorted by sawars (horsemen). In Delhi nobody, except the accomplices in the conspiracy, knew about their arrival till Sultan Alauddin Masud Shah was dethroned and her son was placed on the throne instead.

She further tried to conciliate her son’s position by having the daughter of Balban married to the Sultan. By now Balban had emerged as the leader of powerful Turkish nobility of the court.

Soon after Balban manipulated to undermine her and Qutlugh Khan’s position at the court.

Malika-i- Jahan w/o Jalaluddin Khilji

As wife of Sultan Jalaluddin Khalji, she enjoyed complete influence over her husband. The nobles obeyed her because she wielded great influence at the court and amongst the nobility she commanded a respectable status.

Though a veteran Sultan Jalaluddin Khalji leant ears to his wife, allowing her to prevail in the affairs of the empire.

Barani informs us that when Sultan Jalaluddin Khalji expressed his wish to adopt the title of Al Mujahid fi – Sabilullah (the fighter in the path of Almighty), because he had confronted the Mongols, and so he might be appropriately mentioned in the khutba Al- Mujahis fi Sabilullah. He sought his consort’s (Malika-i- Jahan) advice.

He also requested her to speak on his behalf to the nobles, the Qazis and other religious men to propose the title to him in the court. Since Malika-i- Jahan commanded a lot of respect among the nobles, she found no problem in gaining their consent. It was at her persuasion that the nobles and Qazis proposed the Sultan to accept the title.

But his eyes filled with tears and acknowledged that he had directed Malika-i- Jahan to make the suggestion but he had since reflected that he was not worthy of the title ….as he had fought for his own gratification and vanity.

So later on the Sultan himself declined to accept it.

This event shows that Malika-i- Jahan acted as an advisor to the Sultan. And even enjoyed a respectable position among the nobility also and they welcomed her suggestions.

Alauddin Khilji had strained relations with his mother in law Malika-i- Jahan and with his wife, the daughter of the Sultan-Jalaluddin Khilji. He was apprehensive of the intrigues of Malika-i- Jahan, who had great ascendancy over her husband.

Unable to incur the displeasure of Malika-i- Jahan, he could not even complain to his uncle against his wife’s disobedience and misbehavior towards him. Malika-i- Jahan had caused strain in Alauddin’s relation with his father in law.

This episode to a great extent was responsible in aggravating the domestic unhappiness of Alauddin. He was averse to bringing the disobedience of his wife before the sultan because he could not brook the disgrace which would arise from his derogatory position being made public.

It greatly distressed him and he often consulted his intimates at Kara about going out into the world to making a position for himself by conquering a far off territory, and rule over it independent of his uncle so that he could remain away both from his wife and his mother in law.

We learn from Tarikh-i- Firozshahi that she was aware of his ambitious and intriguing nature and kept a close watch over him. She warned her husband about Alauddin’s alleged intention to carve out an independent principality for himself 30 in some remote corners of the country. Perhaps it was she who created a feeling of suspicion in the mind of the Sultan.

The strained relation between Sultan Alauddin Khalji and his wife were further complicated by the uncharitable attitude of his mother in law Malika-i- Jahan.

Afraid of public disgrace and reluctant to hurt Sultan Jalaluddin Khalji.34 Alauddin Khalji did not openly protest against undesirable activities of his wife and mother in law.

But in heart of hearts, he felt very dejected. This was the main cause of his remaining away from his wife and mother in law.

Malika – i– Jahan w/o Allauddin Khilji

Daughter of Malika – Jahan w/o Jalauddin Khilji, was married to the Sultan’s nephew, Alauddin, the daughter became so overbearing that her husband had become disgusted with her.

The extent of her influence on her husband can be illustrated by the following episode narrated by Barani.

Malika-i- Jahan, wife of Alauddin Khalji, being the daughter of the king always tried to domineer over her husband. The sudden rise of her father had made her exceedingly vain. Alauddin refused to become hen pecked. Being disgusted with the behavior of his wife, he began to neglect her and she made this ground for saying many unpleasant things. This made matter worse. Jalaluddin’s wife tried to mind matters by brow- beating Alauddin which led to greater estrangement. Alauddin was wary of these ladies, life lost all charm for him, and he tended to grow indolent, insipid and dispirited. Her impudence greatly distressed Alauddin, but he was averse to bringing the disobedience of his wife to the notice of the Sultan.

Haji-ud-Dabir in Zafar-ul-walih elucidates the cause of misunderstanding between Alauddin and his consort. He says that the prince had two wives – one the daughter of the Sultan Jalaluddin Khalji, and the other Mahru, the sister of Malik Sanjar, later known as Alp Khan.

Jalaluddin’s daughter had no knowledge about the other marriage, but when she came to know about it, she began to fret out their private life. One day when the Sultan was sitting with Mahru in a garden when she suddenly appeared and enraged at the sight began to beat Mahru with her shoe. Alauddin could hardly bear this insult and became infuriated and attacked her with his sword. She however escaped luckily only with a few minor injuries.

The position of Alauddin’s harem is not known but he had several wives- Jalaluddin’s daughter, a sister of Alp Khan, Badshah Begum, a daughter of Kaiqubad, known as Malka Mahik and mother of Mubarak, Kamla Devi the daughter of Ram Dev, became the chief queen of Alauddin Khalji.However K.S. Lal has rightly remarked that the Sultan does not seem to have been under feminine influence as such.

Makhduma-i- Jahan, widow of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Tughluq and the mother of Sultan Mohammad Tughluq ( 1225-1351 A.D. ).

As wife of Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq

The Tughluqs also had great regard for the ladies. The harem life of the Tughluq Sultans was characterized by sobriety, dignity and restraint. Ghiyasuddin Tughluq’s personal life was extremely chaste and pure. His harem was perhaps very restricted and small.

While we possess very little information about the harem life of Ghiyasuddin Tughluq, all that can be inferred is that he had several wives and that his first wife was the mother of Juna Khan (Mohammad Tughluq ) , his eldest son.

She influenced him many years and was seen in her old age by Ibn Battuta as the mother of the ruling Sultan Mohammad Tughluq. She was the queen dowager, enjoyed the title of Makhduma-i- Jahan (mistress of the world). Her advance age combined with the fact that she had borne Mohammad Tughluq, his eldest son, already a grown up man under Sultan Qutbuddin Mubarak Shah, able to command armies and cut a prominent figure in war, encouraged the conclusions that she was the first wife of Ghiyasuddin Tughluq.

In all probability he married her on his arrival in India soon after the death of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Balban, as is evident from the memoir of their son, Sultan Mohammad Tughluq. Barani and Ibn Battuta are unanimous in praising the exalted lady and the Sultan’s devotion to her. She was one of those virtuous, benevolent and charitable ladies who left their mark as great philanthropists. She received envoys, guests at court and gave magnificent reception to them in the capital

As Mother of Mohammed Bin Tughlaq

Our knowledge about Mohammad Tughluq’s harem life is almost nil. However he looked after his mother, sisters and others with great personal concern. Tughluq dynasty witnessed the political influence of Makhduma-i- Jahan, widow of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Tughluq and the mother of Sultan Mohammad Tughluq (1225-1351 A.D. ). He was always respectful towards the queen mother and even he allowed her to exercise influence in matters of state throughout her life. It appears that she enjoyed precedence over the queens of the Sultan.

Ibn Battuta, the Moorish traveler was one of them, who saw her in her advance age. When he reached Delhi, She was present there with her wazir Khwaja-i- Jahan. She received gifts and presents from the guests and also distributed gifts to others with an open heart. She maintained a large number of hospices for the comfort of the travelers and endowed them to supply free food to all travelers. The foreigners who came to India to seek fortune were first extended hospitality on her behalf as guests. They were entertained with delicious food and then invested with silk robes of honour embroidered in gold. After it they were given fabrics of silk, linen and cotton. A separate department was organized which kept an account of her gifts and grants.

Mohammed Bin Tughlaq allowed her to exercise influence in matters of state throughout her life. It appears that she enjoyed precedence over the queens of the Sultan.

Being a woman of charitable disposition, she maintained a number of hospices which were run by state exchequer. Her acts of charity were a boon for several families which survived merely because of her help.

During the time of transfer of the capital first of all the Sultan shifted his mother Makhduma-i- Jahan with the entire household of the amirs, maliks and courtiers and slaves along with treasure and the royal hidden wealth shifted to Deogiri. Afterwards the Sultan summoned all the Sayyids, Sheikh (mystics), ulama and grandees of Delhi.

The Sultan sought her able advice not only in the management of the royal household but also on various political issues. It was through her timely intervention that the marriage of Bibi Raasti, the daughter of sultan Mohammad Tughluq, was solemnized with Sheikh Fathullah bin Sheikh Auhaduddin Nagoari, the grandson of Baba Farid in 1327 A.D. at Daulatabad.

Mohammad Tughluq had great devotion and love for his mother, Makhduma-i- Jahan. On one occasion she went on a tour with the Sultan but he returned few days before. When she came back, the Sultan received her with great ceremony. He alighted from his horse and kissed her feet when she was in her palanquin.

Unfortunately she had lost her eye sight at the time of Mohammad Tughluq’s coronation. Though based on hearsay, the following account of Makhduma-i- Jahan, as given by Ibn Battuta gives an idea of the éclat and splendour with which the occasion was celebrated: But she had lost her eye sight, which came about in this way; when her son ascended the throne, all the ladies and the daughters of maliks and amirs, dressed in their best clothes, came to pay their respect. She was seated in on a golden throne studded with jewels. All of them bowed to her. Then suddenly she lost her eye sight. She was treated by various means but could not get her eye sight back.

In 1341 A.D., when the governor of Multan declared his independence, Mohammad Tughluq set off from Delhi to deal with him. On the way he heard about the death of his revered mother Makhduma-i- Jahan at Delhi. The Sultan was over 56.

Over powered with grief, but having made arrangements of the distribution of alms for the benefit of the departed soul of his mother, he started for Multan.

The tomb of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Tughluq which lies near the Tughluqabad fortress was built by Mohammad Tughluq over the grave of his father. Subsequently two other graves namely the grave of Makhduma-i- Jahan and that of Sultan Mohammad Tughluq himself were built in the premise.

Sultan Mohammad Tughluq’s death on 20th March 1351 A.D., plunged Delhi Sultanate into great confusion and chaos.

Khudavandzada – Eldest Sister of Mohammed Bin Tughlaq

Following Mohammed Bin Tughlaqs death the confusion and chaos was further aggravated when the deceased Sultan’s eldest sister Khudavandzada intervened in the matters of succession. Unlike his wife, we find no mention in any contemporary or near contemporary records, his sisters are often mentioned.

The most prominent being Khudavandzada, she had a son named Dawar Malik. Other sisters have been mentioned in the Rehla which bears testimony to the kindness, he uniformly showed to them.

Before Thatta campaign, the Sultan had summoned Khudavandzada and Makhduma-i- Jahan from Delhi, together with many Sheikhs, the ulama, the elders, maliks, horsemen and foot soldiers to join him in the camp.

Soon after the death of Sultan at Thatta, Khudavandzada, being in the royal lineage, she put forward the claims of her son, Dawar Malik to the throne against Firozshah Tughluq as she was present in the imperial camp at Thatta.

She lodged a protest and asserted the superiority of the claims of her son. But Firozshah had been in the good books of Mohammad Tughluq and possessed first hand administrative experience. She appealed to Firozshah that he should help in restoring order in the realm by accepting the office of the regent. The nobles and the captains of the army attached no importance to his (Dawar Malik) Dynastic claims and only stated that he was unfit for the kingly office because he was a minor and possessed no administrative experience.

She desired to achieve her ends by being harsh to the nobles. This hostile attitude of Khudavandzada infuriated the nobility who opposed her claims.

The nobles made it clear to her that at such critical hour there was a need of competent person on the throne who could save the Sultanate from disruption. For this purpose Dawar Malik was too immature in comparison to Firozshah Tughluq. But Khudavandzada was firm in her stand and pressed the claims of her son for succession. She cared for her interest more and was least concerned about the welfare of the Sultanate. In order to avoid a civil war, Malik Saifuddin an influential noble of the court made efforts to pacify Khudavandzada’s stubborn attitude and he succeeded in his attempts and she withdrew her agitation.

Thus she could not procure the throne for her son. The nobles assigned him the office of Naib Barbak. Khudavandzada yielded to the wishes of the nobles, in favor of Firozshah Tughluq, yet in heart of hearts she longed to place her son on the throne.

Here we again find that women in any relation were respected and were given due weightage to their words. She was respectfully told that her son was a minor and unfits to manage the state affairs. And even the Sultan did not want to hurt her feeling.

The authority of Firozshah was recognized even at the capital. The boy king was unceremoniously set aside to make room for him and was later killed or died a natural death.

Wolseley Haig calls Firozshah a usurper who overrode the claims of the legitimate heir of the late Sultan. He regards the boy king as truly a son of Mohammad Tughluq. But Ishwari Prasad points out a number of difficulties in doing so. He says that if the Sultan had a son, contemporary historians must have referred to his birth, Khudavandzada could not have pleaded in favour of her own son. Firozshah Tughluq would not have inquired whether the Sultan had a son. The nobles could not have asserted that there was none and Firozshah would have never set his claims aside.

But he does not explain why Khwaja Jahan should have placed an obscure child on the throne and if his motive was to grab power for himself why should he has offered the regency to Firozshah. Hence a suspicion is created that the Sultan did leave behind a son. Ferishta and Badaoni support this view. R.P. Tripathi also regards the boy as a legitimate son of the late Sultan. If this be a fact, Firozshah was surely usurper in the light of current tradition but in point of law his election was not only valid but also in public interest. In this latter sense, the charge of usurpation falls to the ground.

Firozshah left no stones unturned in maintaining cordial relationship with his cousin Khudavandzada. He considered it proper to be coronated by her hand and she is said to have completed the ceremony of his coronation. Perhaps through this act he tried to express feeling of gratitude towards her for his succession.

So on his visit to Khudavandzada, he fell upon his knees, and pleaded her to fulfill his desire. She embraced him and placed the crown on Firozshah’s head on 24 Muharram 752 A.H./ 20th March1351 A.D. In spite of this she cherished malice.

Since then the Sultan made it a custom to pay visit to Khudavandzada after every Friday prayer.98 Thus the Sultan continuously expressed his gratitude and paid his respect to Khudavandzada. During these visits Sultan Firozshah and Khudavandzada sat on the same carpet and discussed the issue of importance.

It was after taking betel leave from her the Sultan came back to the palace. During these meetings Khudavandzada’s husband, Khusrau Malik stood beside them and her son Dawar Malik sat behind his mother. It shows that she enjoyed great respect and privilege and also appears that she asserted herself in presence of her son and husband.

As it is clear that Khudavandzada had never abandoned the idea of placing her son upon the throne. She was just looking for the right moment. Before Firozshah started on his first Bengal campaign, she along with her husband organized a conspiracy against the Sultan to assassinate him at the time when he visited her. For this purpose the armed guards were asked to stay in the nearby chamber and at Khudavandzada’s signal they were to attack the Sultan. Firozshah was completely unaware of this whole plot. As usual he went to visit Khudavandzada, but the timely gesture of Dawar Malik upset the plan and Firozshah escaped unhurt. The armed guards were arrested and they confessed their guilt.

Even though her attempt to kill Firozshah ended in failure, the Sultan continued to treat Khudavandzada with consideration and granted her a fixed allowance. Her enormous properties, owing to which she had hoped to put her son on the throne, were confiscated and she was directed to lead a secluded life.

Her scheming husband, Khusrau Malik was deported while Dawar Malik was ordered to visit the Sultan every month attired in a robe and slippers. His property and wealth was confiscated to the state treasury and he got only a fixed allowance.

The ambitious and conspiring Khudavandzada though met an unhappy end but in a way she was always given due regard by the Sultan Firozshah Tughluq.

Perhaps if she had not schemed against the Sultan, she would have a smooth and luxurious life. But her unwise act undid her better prospects.


Harem Dancers-Portrait by Η Marthe Soucaret


Tabaqat-i- Nasiri of Minhaj-us Siraj

Tarikh-i- Firozshahi of Ziauddin Barani

Rehla of Ibn Battuta

Tarikh-i- Ferishta of Abdul Qasim Ferishta

Tarikh-i- Firozshahi of Shams Siraj Afif

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Razia Sultan – A Royal Prisoner of Qila –i – Mubaraq aka Bathinda Fort

The Royal Prisoner


Razia Sultan, the first and only lady ruler of the Delhi Sultanates, was kept imprisoned in this fort after she was defeated and dethroned.

They say she was allowed out to pray only on Fridays, that too in a Palanquin by the Governor of Bhatinda-Altunia.

During the Razia’s reign, Malik lkhtiyaruddin Altunia the governor of Bathinda, rebelled against her authority. She marched on him to quell the rebellion, but her Turkish nobles mutinied against her and killed her so called paramour? Yaqut the Abyssinian. (It is being debated upon whether he was her paramour).

She was consigned to Altunia as a prisoner and was kept in the fort of Bathinda.

According to a local source Razia committed suicide by jumping from the wall of the fort. But some historical records of the period tell that after her marriage with Altunia, they were assassinated by a gang of plundering Jats, near Kaithal.

Altunia the Governor of Bathinda rebelled against Razia Sultan – the first woman to sit on the throne of Delhi. Later she was arrested and kept in this fort.

According to a legend a dejected Razia jumped from the parapets.

Of all these strongholds, the only one at Bathinda could endure the ravages of time. Set 300 kilometers northwest of Delhi, this fort has a long and important history unfolded.

Nasiruddin Qabbacha, the ruler of Sind is known to have captured the fort in 1210, after the death of Qutbuddin Aibak, the first Slave Sultan of India.

ln 1253, the fort was occupied by Razia’s brother, Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud. Malik Sher Khan was appointed the commander of the fort who also renovated and repaired its structure at various places and points.

About the fort


Bathinda Fort

(Source: Internet)

Bathinda was situated along the ancient route which connected Delhi with Multan-the gateway of Hindustan from the northwest. To check the foreign invasions, a line of strongholds to the north of the Ghaggar River was erected during the early centuries of the Christian era.

The fort is situated in Bhatinda city.It is is a monument of great historical importance. The presence of the fort can be traced back to the 90-110 AD.

The bricks of the fort dates back to Kushana period when emperor Kanishka ruled over India. The fort was captured by Maharaj Ala Singh of Patiala in 1754. The fort houses a Gurdwara, built in memory of Guru Gobind Singh. Bathinda Fort which had withstood the period of Raja Deb (3rd century), one of the ancestors of Vinaipal,

Bathinda was known as Tabarhindh (Labb-ut-Twarikh). The earliest mention of Tabarhindh occurs in the Jami-Ul-Hakayatwritten about 607 Hijri or 1211 AD. The fort, also known as Vikram Garh and Qila I Mubaraq.   In 1754, the fort was rechristened Govindgarh.

Later Bhatinda was changed to Bathinda to conform to the phonetical expression as locally pronounced according to Henry George Raverty,

In 1004, Mahmud of Ghazni besieged the local fort, which was located on the route from the northwest into the rich Ganges valley. Mahmud of Ghazni also visited it and a mention of it is there in Al Biruni’s Kital-ul- Hind.

At the time of Mahummad Ghori’s invasion, it was held by Mangal Rao, a descendent of Rao Hem Hel Bhatti. Mangal Rao, leaving the fort in the command of his son Anand Rao, led a large force to Jaisalmer against Muhammad Ghori.

The father was slain in the battle and the son died during the siege of the fort. Muhammad Ghori left Malik Ziyauddin Taluki as commander of the fort. But soon after his return, Rai Pithaura, popularly known as Prithvi Raj Chauhan, laid a siege to the fort, which continued for more than one year.  Ultimately Malik was left with no option but to concede.

In 1189, Muhammad Ghori attacked and occupied the fort of Bathinda. Prithvi Raj Chauhan, the ruler of this region, managed to recover possession of the fort thirteen months later in 1191 after the first battle of Tarain.

In circa 1754, the town was conquered by Maharaja Ala Singh, the Maharaja of Patiala and since then it followed the history of erstwhile princely state of Patiala. With the dawn of independence and merger of Patiala and East Punjab States into a division called PEPSU, Bathinda become a full-fledged district with headquarters at Bathinda city.

The local legend credits the erection of this fort, to one Raja Dab, an ancestor of Raja Venpal. According to Ain-i Brar Bans (A History of the Faridkot State) the fort, also known as Vikram Garh was built by Bhatti Rao, son of Bala Nand, who became the ruler of Punjab in 279 A.D,

As is well-known, Akbar’s regent Bairam Khan when dismissed from wazarat in 1558, took recourse to rebellion against the Mughal Empire. lt was in the Bathinda fort that he lodged his family before marching towards  Jalandhar.  However, he was defeated by the royal army at Gunachaur, near Rahon.

From the eleventh to the fourteenth century, this fort occasionally attracted the attention of medieval historians who referred to it as Tabar-e-Hind, the strength and glory of India. But the story that emerges out of numerous scraps of information lacks continuity. Only certain episodes are known.

But the fort eventually shot into prominence for the first time when it was captured by Mahmud Ghazni in 1045. Bidjay Roy, the Raja of Bathinda, unable to resist the besiegers fled from the fort and committed suicide.

At the time of Mahummad Ghori’s invasion, it was held by Mangal Rao, a descendent of Rao Hem Hel Bhatti. Mangal Rao, leaving the fort in the command of his son Anand Rao, led a large force to Jaisalmer against Muhammad Ghori. The father was slain in the battle and the son died during ‘ the siege of the fort. Muhammad Ghori left Malik Ziyauddin Taluki as commander of the fort. But soon after his return, Rai Pithaura, popularly known as Prithvi Raj Chauhan, laid a siege to the fort, which continued for more than one year.  Ultimately Malik was left with no option but to concede.

After the middle of the fourteenth century, the fort gradually fades into oblivion. The reason being that the encroaching Thar Desert began to render the route to Multan on which Bathinda was situated, difficult to traverse. Timur completed the process of decline of this route by destroying the cities along this highway during his invasion. The future line to the northwest was to be via Sirhind and Lahore. Hereafter, only a few   references to the fort are known.

Hereafter, once again the fort fades out from the gaze of history until it is known to have been conquered by’ Ala Singh, the Patiala chieftain, in 1754. The fort was rechristened Govindgarh. And most of the structure of the fort as it survives now, date back from its occupation by the Patiala rulers. They held it till the merger of their territory with the Indian Union in 1956.

Thus, this ancient fort which is now among the great archeological attractions of Punjab would be protected and preserved for us and for the posterity to look and to admire at and to have glimpses of the great values of safety and security it stood for.

The Fort is now in a dilapidated state.



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One Mughal Emperor with Two Graves ?????

Chingus-Fort-Sarai-Where Mughal King Jahangir’s Intestines were Buried.

“Nigahen Neechay, Dil-e-ru-baru, Ba mulaiza hoshiyar, Zilay ilahi, Shehnahah-e-Hind diwan-e-khas mein tashreef la rahe hainn.”…………………………………………………………

The above was the valor in the life time of Jahangir……………….

Chingus Fort or Chingus Sarai, is one of the oldest fort that dates back to 16th century. The fort complex houses one of the two graves of Mughal Emperor Jahangir, who died en-route from Kashmir to Delhi. Other one is in Lahore, Pakistan. In order to avoid succession war, Noor Jahan buried the intestine and other abdominal parts of the emperor in the premises of the Sarai to protect the body from decay.

Built by Mughal Emperor Jahangir, this fort is also called “one night fort” as Mughals used it every year to stay for a single night while on their way to Kashmir.

This Fort is a reservoir of many great memories and a big lesson for the generation to learn that Death is ultimate and the mightiest reality in the world.


The Notice Board-Chingus Sarai




Gate Ways to Chingus Fort



Chingus Sarai


Chingus Mosque


Chingus Sarai-Grave


Chingus Sarai-Mosque and Grave

(All Internet Photos)

Chingus Sarai, near Rajouri, is built at the site where Empress Noor Jahan buried the intestines of her husband, Emperor Jahangir, to save the Mughal kingdom, writes Jupinderjit Singh.

It was built during Mughal Kingdom in India who used it during their annual entourage to Kashmir in summer season.
It is the tomb of a Mughal Emperor, built at a place where just one part of his body was buried. That too, an internal organ-Intestines.
Chingus Sarai, a unique relic of the Mughal era, lies 25 km short of Rajouri town and about 130 km from Jammu. It is situated on the Jammu-Rajouri highway, near the Tawi River.

The entrails of Emperor Jehangir are lying buried here in the very center of the Sarai

Jahangir is randomly reported to have visited Kashmir about 27 times and when he went to Kashmir for the last time, he fell ill. In view of the deterioration of his health, Empress Noor Jahan decided to carry him back to the capital Lahore. On the way back to Lahore, Emperor Jahangir breathed his last last in 1627 at Behramgala ( a village near Chandi Marh about 10 kilometers from Buffliaz, Tehsil Surankote Poonch).. Behramgala is an historical gorge with a lofty water-fall called Noori Chhamb named after Noor Jahan-the Empress. According to one view, Behram gala has been named after Baram Khan-the tutor of Akbar-the Great and Akbar is reported to have received his little education at this place.

Noori cham – named after Noor Jahan loving wife of   emperor Jahangir .Noori Cham  is about 1  mile  away   from Bufliaz area this area is blessed by a water fall. Jahangir had constructed a foot step  for   himself from where he used to enjoy the beauty and freshness of this waterfall for   hours together .Richard Temple a   famous   tourist who happened to travel over this track in 1859 he writes that at a distance of 1 mile from Behram gala    there   is small   but   attractive spot   where on   an  ancient   rock   some verses   in   an   unknown  language have been carved by  king Jahangir   after being  impressed by the   beauty  of Noori Cham. At the very left side of Noori Cham there is a place made for a big mirror where Noor Jahan  used   to  dress   herself.

In another version, Noori Cham is also   linked with a   very painful story of Behram   and Hassan Bano. Behram   was  one  of the ministers of  Jahangir and  Hassan Bano  was a  beautiful servant   of   queen  Noor Jahan.  They both fell in love. Once Behram showed his will to marry Hassan Bano  but Noor  Jahan opposed    it bitterly and thereafter, she further conspired   his  killing  and  threw his body inside the fall of Noori Cham. On  hearing this Hassan Bano   also embraced death and dead bodies of these two true lovers  disappeared   in the deep water of Noori Cham.

It is said  that during 1627 when   Jahangir    along with his wife Noor Jahan and his caravan  was   returning  from  Kashmir, he felt ill at Chandimarghand.  One  day during his illness  he ordered one of his  servants to bring a deer for him. Keeping Jahangir’s order servant bought  a deer and  while  bringing  the deer down to base camp the servant slipped to death. On watching his death  Jahangir suffered a  severe  heart attack and on  29 Oct. 1627,  this   painful   incident become cause of his death at Thanna Mandi area

The dead body of the Emperor now was to be carried to Lahore for the last rites to be performed but because it was a to take a long time to reach and in the meantime there was every chance for the cadaver to release stench and smell, so the innards were removed from his body and buried in this Sarai which used to be used as a Transit Camp by Mughals.

There was some apprehension of some revolt for succession in Lahore; hence Noor Jahan did not want to disclose the secret of Emperor’s demise.

She placed the body of Emperor on the elephant inside a type of Palanquin called ‘Kajawa’ in the then language and the caravan set for Lahore.

The dead-body was placed on the elephant as if the Emperor were alive so news of his death could not reach others. The embalmed body of the king, dressed in his usual attire, was made to sit on an elephant in such a way that he appeared hale and hearty.

When the ‘Qafila’ reached Nowshehra, it is said that a girl from Jamwal, who was grazing the cattle on the wayside, all of a sudden came on the way and cried, “Oh! The King has passed away.”

It was a surprise for the Empress, because even most of the ministers and officers did not know about the death despite being within the Emperor’s cabinet. Noor Jahan took the girl aside and enquired of her as to how she knew about this top secret. The girl said, “I have listened to someone saying that not even a bee can dare to sit on the ‘Kajawa’ (Palanquin) of the Mughal Emperor but today I see that a bee is sitting on his Palanquin. I understood his Majesty is no more.” Noor Jahan was surprisingly happy over the wit and wisdom of this young girl and announced the exemption of the entire Jamwal Community of Nowshehra from all kinds of taxes.

Nearly four centuries after this historical act, the site came to be known as Chingus, which means intestines in Persian, The Sarai was otherwise a locked and abandoned historical monument that was in ruins.

This Fort or the Sarai (constructed in random rubbles, large marbles and lakhauri bricks) is divided into two portions-front area also called Shahi Khana or the Royal residence more spacious in expansion which is surrounded by 68 arc-rooms of about 8sqft size. While entering from the main gate to the north 15 rooms are situated on the right side and 12 rooms are on the left side. After stepping into the forte from the first main entrance, we get into a kind ante-chamber to Diwan-e-Khas where the Mughal Emperor used to relax into indolence with his Empress.

After transcending another gate, having two sentry-cabins on either side, one gets exposed to special residential area of the Emperor, surrounded by 41 more guard rooms/ marhs. These marhs or the guard rooms were meant for the royal army to stay and provide protection to the Emperor.

Some of the opinions are there in the annals of the history that these rooms were the ‘Stable rooms’ but this opinion does not appeal to the common sense. Let’s suppose that these rooms were used for the horses then we don’t have as such any other space available in or around the Sarai to accommodate army of the Emperor.

Hence, the horses could have been kept in the open but the army used to stay in these small spaces.

On the right side of the Royal apartment to the south of the Forte lies a small lodge of Emperor with a Hujra or Veiled Rest Room for the Empress exactly at the back of it where no one was allowed to visit excepting the Emperor or the Lady attendants of the Empress.

In front of this residential complex, there is situated a detailed Diwan-e-Aam with an Arch in the east, now converted into the gate, where the Emperor would deliver directions to his army or address his subjects or people in a gathering. The Sarai is decorated with a number of top-holes to the tune of about four hundred and thirty two in total visible around the top of the entire Gothic type structure.

In the middle of the main area inside the Serai is located the tomb where the Royal Entrails have been buried. The tomb is made up of marble and grilled all around. It happens to have been constructed in the corridor of a small-sized mosque, most probably meant for the emperor and some of the very specials to him to perform prayer etc. Standing eastward, on the left there is a small swimming pool for the Emperor and the Empress for use during summer.

Standing in front of the Royal Chamber of Diwan-e-Khas with the face towards north, about 45 degree on the left above the Central gate of the Forte, there is a small round-raised podium which is speculated to have been used by the announcer to announce the arrival of the Emperor with words like, ” Nigahen Neechay, Dil-e-ru-baru, ba mulaiza hoshiyar, Zilay ilahi, Shehnahah-e-Hind diwan-e-khas mein tashreef la rahe hainn.’

However, currently, this fort is in an untidy condition with broken walls and heaps of garbage all around. Due to ill maintenance, a cell on its northern side has collapsed.

Whist visiting Chingus, one can also visit Bafleaz, where, it is said, Alexander’s horse died.



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Some Facts of History-8

1. Lal Kot

Walls of Lal Kot were about 15 feet thick. It seems that there were four gateways, out of which, the western one was called ‘Ranjit Gate’. Later some historians started calling it ‘Ghazni Gate’. The wall of this fort still exists, though not in the same majestic manner.

It is said that outside Ghazni Gate, was the largest slave market of Asia.

The open ground outside it had a huge slave market, which probably was India’s largest. In this market were sold the best of class slaves for all kind of work, concubines, dance girls, wines, opium and all other items that were considered a luxury for the richest during that period,” says Vikramjit Singh Rooprai.


Slave Trade

(Internet Image)

Another interesting fact about Ranjit aka Ghazni Gate is that the kings who ruled Delhi had a bell hung outside it. Anyone who needed justice from the emperor could ring this bell. He was then presented to the king and his wish granted. Several interesting stories from Tomar to Sultanate period float around this bell, showing how justice was dispensed during that period.

s-l300images (1)

Information about these walls and gates, and the stories associated with them is available in the accounts of Ziauddin Barni (Tarikh-i-Firozshahi), Amir Khusro (Nuh Sipir) and Abu Fazil (Ain-i-Akbari). Mentions in the inscriptions about this magnificent city were found in Rajasthan, Palam Baoli of Delhi, Sonepat, Raisina (Delhi) and Narayana (Delhi).

2. Genghis Khan reportedly decided not to conquer India after meeting a unicorn, which bowed down to him; he viewed it as a sign from his dead father and turned his army back.


Genghis Khan



(Internet Images)

3. Jauna Khan became the Wazir of Feroze Shah Tughlaq’s Government. Jauna Khan was as competent as his father but he was no military leader. He failed in the conflict for succession, which began even during the lifetime of Feroz Shah.

Jauna Khan was captured and executed.

Also known as Junan Shah, he built seven large mosques in and around Delhi of which Khirki Masjid is very well known.

The seven Mosques built by Jauna Khan are:

· Khirki Mosque.

· Begampur Mosque.

· Masjid Kalu Sarai.

· Kalan Masjid (Hazrat Nizamuddin).

· Masjid Firoz Shah Kotla.

· Masjid Wakya (Lahori gate).

· Kalan Masjid (Turkaman gate).

4. Why is the tomb of Darya Khan Lohani without inscriptions? And without any covering?


Tomb of Darya Khan Lohani

(Internet Image-Old Image)

5. Salima Sultan w/o Akbar

Salima Sultan is buried in Madarkar Garden Agra.

6. Akbar’s music-loving daughter Meherunnisa (begotten by Queen Daulatabad Begum) fell in love with the court-musician Tansen, and Akbar allowed her to marry him after Tansen underwent conversion from Hinduism to Islam.

(There are some accounts to the effect that Tannu Pandey aka Tansen was converted to Islam, when he was very young, by his Guru Pir Mohammad Ghous of Gwalior).


Tansen’s tomb in Gwalior, near the tomb of his Sufi master Muhammad Ghaus

Many admirers are convinced that his death was caused by a fire while he was singing the raga Deepaka.

7. During the rule of Jahangir, Mirzā Azīz Koka (Khan-i-Azam) lost much of positions, as he along with Raja Man Singh I supported the rebellion of Khusrau Mirza, the eldest son of Jahangir.

Mirza rebellion was crushed in 1606, he was first blinded and later executed.

Mirzā Azīz Koka (Khan-i-Azam) was the son of Shams ud-Din Ataga Khan, the Prime Minister of Akbar and Akbar‘s wet-nurse Jiji Anga. His Turkish sobriquet was “Koka” or “foster-brother,” of Akbar.


The cenotaph of Mirza Aziz Kokaltash, at Chaunsath Khamba Delhi

8. Rauza-i-Munavvara aka Taj Mahal

Shah Jahan had named Mumtaj Mahal’s tomb as Rauza-i-munavvara (The Illumined Tomb)

It got to be known later as Taj Mahal-a corruption of Mumtaj Mahal



9. Qila i Mualla or Qila-i-Mubaraq aka Lal Qila


Qila i Mualla

10. Shah Jahan

Abraham Eraly writes that According to Bernier, Shah Jahan had had constructed under his palace in Dely two deep caves, supported by vast marble pillars.

Piles of Gold were stored in one and those of Silver in the other.

(For safety the precious metals were saved in prodigious sizes, to render them useless for purposes of commerce.)

11. Shah Jahan

On Mumtaj Mahal’s death, Shah Jahan, “gave up the practice of plucking out grey hair” from his beard, says Qazvini.

Mumtaj Mahal’s body was initially kept in a building in the deer park [Ahukhana] while Taj Mahal was being constructed at Agra.

It is said that the casket of Mumtaj Mahal was kept amidst thousands of roses and was made of a special material and design to preserve her body/remains.

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The actual tombs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan in the Crypt-Taj Mahal-Agra

12. ‘Gauharara Begum’ aka ‘Dahar Ara Begum’ daughter of “Mumtaz Mahal”

According to legend, when Mumtaz was in labour with her last child, the baby cried in the womb, portending the death of the mother on childbirth.

A woman who died on childbirth was considered a ‘shaheed’ (matyr), and her tomb urs was held. Since Mumtaz Mahal died in childbirth hence her Urs was held.

Mumtaz died in Burhanpur (in present day Madhya Pradesh), on June 17th 1631 while giving birth to their fourteenth child, a daughter, Gauhara Begum.

Gauharara Begum (June 17, 1631 – 1706) aka Gauhar Ara Begum or Dahar Ara Begum, was an Imperial Princess of the Mughal Empire as the fourteenth and last child of the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (builder of the Taj Mahal), and his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.

Mumtaz Mahal died giving birth to her. Gauharara, however, survived the birth and lived for another 75 years. Little is known about her and whether she was involved in the war of succession for her father’s throne.

Gauharara died in 1706, at the age of 75, from natural causes or disease.

Mumtaz Mahal bore Shah Jahan fourteen children, including popular (and, at times, controversial) historical figures such as Dara Shikoh, Shah Shuja, Roshnara Begum, Jahanara Begum and Aurangzeb, among others.

i) Shahzadi Hluralnissa Begum (1613 – 1616).

ii) Shahzadi (Imperial Princess) Jahanara Begum) (1614 – 1681).

iii) Shahzada (Imperial Prince) Dara Shikoh (1615 – 1659).

iv) Shahzada Mohammed Sultan Shah Shuja Bahadur (1616 – 1660).

v) Shahzadi Roshanara Begum (1617 – 1671).

vi) Badshah Mohinnudin Mohammed Aurangzeb (1618 – 1707).

vii) Shahzada Sultan Ummid Baksh (1619 -1622).

viii) Shahzadi Surayya Banu Begum (1621 – 1628).

ix) Shahzada Sultan Murad Baksh (1624 – 1661).

x) Shahzada Sultan Luftallah (1626 – 1628).

xi) Shahzada Sultan Daulat Afza (1628 – ?).

xii) Shahzadi Husnara Begum (1630 – ?).

xiii) Shahzadi Gauhara Begum (1631 – 1707).

13. Bhaluhipur-Bihar

1748-Muhammad Shah, his son Anwer Ali escaped to his grand Aunt Princess Jahanarra & hid in a place in Arrah, Bihar which was infested with bears which was later named as Bhaluhipur.Bihar which was infested with bears which was later named as Bhaluhipur.

14. Barahkhambaknown for fox hunting by the Englishmen

There was a time when this entire area was known for jackal hunting as in those days the Barahkhamba monument was known for fox hunting by the Englishmen.

The premises also has a small cottage made by a British officer known as Smith.




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Assassination of a Mughal Emperor…………..

Tragically ill Fate of  Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar………………….

Does the Naubat Khana in Red Fort resonate with the cries agony of Farrukhsiyar after imprisonment, starvation, poisoning and blinding………………………………………..?


Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar (r. 1713-1719) after whom the Farrukhnagar was named

by his governor Faujdar Khan, who founded the city in 1732

(Source: Internet)

Abu’l Muzaffar Muin ud-din Muhammad Shah Farrukh-siyar Alim Akbar Sani Wala Shan Padshah-i-bahr-u-bar [Shahid-i-Mazlum] (or Farrukhsiyar, 20 August 1685 – 19 April 1719) was the Mughal Emperor between 1713 and 1719.

He was the son of Azim-ush-Shan—the second son of emperor Bahadur Shah I—and Sahiba Nizwan.

He acquired the throne after murdering Jahandar Shah. He was as a handsome ruler and was given to believing heresay. He was naïve enough and was easily swayed by his advisers. Farrukhsiyar lacked the ability, knowledge and character to rule independently.

His reign witnessed the primacy of the Sayyid Brothers who became the effective powers of the land, behind the façade of Mughal rule. His constant plotting eventually led the Sayyid Brothers to officially depose him.

Farrukhsiyar’s Humiliating and Bloody end

Farrukhsiyar met a humiliating and bloody end, as his constant plotting eventually led the Sayyid Brothers to officially depose him as the Emperor. Farrukhsiyar was imprisoned and starved; later, on 28 February 1719, he was blinded with needles at the orders of the Sayyid Brothers. Farrukhsiyar was strangled to death on the night of 27/28 April 1719.

After accomplishing his assassination, the Sayyid Brothers placed his first-cousin, Rafi-Ul-Darjat on the throne. Rafi-ud-durjat’s father and Farukhsiyar’s father had been brothers.

Farrukhsiyar is believed to be assassinated at Naubat Khana in Red Fort.

Sayyid Brothers

The term ‘Sayyid Brothers’ refers to Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha (1666 – 12 October 1722 CE) and Syed Hussain Ali Khan Barha (1668 – 9 October 1720 CE), who were powerful Mughal Army generals of the Mughal Empire during the early 18th century.

Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha and his court

(Source: Internet)


Syed Hussain Ali Khan and Emperor Farrukhsiyar

(Source: Internet)

The Sayyid Brothers became highly influential in the Mughal Court after Aurangzeb’s death and became kingmakers during the anarchy following the death of Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707

Aurangzeb’s son Bahadur Shah I defeated his brothers to capture the throne with the help of Sayyid Brothers and Nizam-ul-Mulk, another influential administrator in the Mughal court.

Bahadur Shah I died in 1712, and his successor Jahandar Shah was assassinated on the orders of the Sayyid Brothers.

In 1713, Jahandar’s nephew Farrukhsiyar (r. 1713–1719) became the emperor with the brothers’ help.

Cries for Succession of 1712


Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar

(Source: Internet)

When Prince Farrukhsiyar first arrived at Azimabad, Syed Hussain Ali Khan was away on an expedition, apparently the recapture of Rohtas fort of Bihar, which about this time had been seized by one Muhammad Raza “Ravat Khan”. The Sayyids had felt annoyed on hearing that Farrukhsiyar had issued coin and caused the khutba to be read in his father, Prince Azim-ush-shan’s, name, without waiting to learn the result of the impending struggle at Lahore. Thus on his return to his headquarters his first impulse was to decline altogether that Prince’s overtures. In truth, no attempt could well look more hopeless than that upon which Prince Farrukhsiyar wished to enter.

In aid of Farrukhsiyar:

The Prince’s mother now hazarded a private visit to the Sayyids mother, taking with her little granddaughter. Her arguments rested on the fact that the Sayyids position was due to the kindness of the Prince’s father.

Here the Prince’s mother and daughter bared their heads and wept aloud. Overcome by their tears, the Sayyida called her son within the harem. The little girl fell bareheaded at his feet and implored his aid for positive action.

Prince Farrukhsiyar, meanwhile, had marched out with an army along with Syed Hussain Ali Khan Barha from Patna to Allahabad to join Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha as soon as possible.

At the Battle of Agra 1713 fought on 10 January 1713, Prince Farrukhsiyar won decisively and became the Emperor of the Mughal Empire succeeding his uncle Jahandar Shah.

Characteristics of Farrukhsiyar:


Gold Mohur minted by Farrukhsiyar in the Khujista-Bunyad mint

near the end of his reign, 1131 AH (1719)

(Source: Internet)

It is recorded that Farrukhsiyar was given to atrocities, which led to his downfall and ultimately death.

Farukhsiyar had blinded some of the prominent members of the imperial family who had been held in captivity.

Zulfiqar Khan was treacherously murdered on Farrukhsiyar’s order and his property was confiscated.

Asad Khan lingered in misery till his death in 1716 so much so that the elimination of Asad Khan – “the last prominence survived of great age of Aurangzeb” was a political mistake.

All this was done to make it impossible for the Sayyid Brothers to displace him and set up on the throne some other Prince of the house of Babar.

Farukhsiyar also quarreled bitterly with Sayyid Brothers in March 1713 but did not have the courage to strike and he patched up a truce. He continued however to indulge in foolish and perfidious plans to weaken the Sayyid Brothers.

The estrangement reached a climax in 1719 and assisted by Ajit Singh of Marwar who had married his daughter to Farrukhshiyar, the Syed Brothers deposed and murdered the Emperor (the Sayyid were forced into action for their own lives and honour).

Tragic End of Farrukhsiyar


Sheesh Mahal-Farrukhnagar

(Source: Internet)

These differences hence, led to the tragic end of Farrukhsiyar, who was dragged down from his throne, bare headed and bare footed and subjected every moment to blows and vilest abuses.

Thereafter, he was imprisoned, starved, blinded, poisoned and finally strangulated to death.

Farukhshiyar was blinded with needles at the orders of Syed Brothers on 28th February 1719.

It is said he was assassinated in the Naubatkhana of Qila-i-Mulla Aka Qila-i-Mubarak Aka Lal Qila.

Syed Brothers – The King Makers

After deposing Farrukhsiyar (April 1719) the Syed Brothers placed on the throne: i) Rafi-ud-Darajat, a son of Rafi-ush-Shan (the second son of Bahadur Shah I). Then the Syed Brothers enthroned ii) Rafi-ud-Daula with the title of Shah Jahan II, and thereafter, the Syed Brothers put on throne iii) Roshan Akhtar, a son of Shah Jahan (fourth son of Bahadur Shah I). He was placed on the throne under the title of Mohammad Shah [Rangila] in September 1719, who plotted and had the Syed brothers killed.

Muhammad Shah Rangila wanted to take back control of his rule. Hence he arranged for the brothers to be killed with the help of Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah. Syed Hussain Ali Khan was murdered at Fatehpur Sikri in 1720, and Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha was fatally poisoned in 1722.

Evil Begets Evil – End of the Sayyid Brothers



Nizam-ul-Mulk was instated as the Grand Vizier of the Mughal Empire, by Muhammad Shah on 21 February 1722, to overthrow the Sayyid Brothers.

Mir Qamar-ud-din Khan Siddiqi Bayafandi (20 August 1671 – 1 June 1748) was awarded the title Chin Qilich Khan by Aurangzeb in 1690–91. The title Nizam-ul-Mulk was awarded by Farrukhsiyar in 1713 and Asaf Jah (awarded by Muhammad Shah in 1725].

The Sayyid brothers becoming the sole authority of Mughal politics reduced the status of the Turkic and the Irani noblemen in the Mughal court. This excited the jealousy of these nobles, who used to enjoy high status under Emperor Farukhshiyar. As a result, they formed a force of counter-revolution against the Sayyid brothers.

The leader of the Counter Revolution was Nizam-ul-Mulk. To subdue the counter-revolution, the Sayyid brothers shifted Nizam-ul-mulk from Delhi. Nizam was appointed as the Subahdar of Malwa. In due course Nizam captured the forts of Asirgarh and Burhanpur in Deccan. Moreover, Nizam also killed Mir Alam Ali Khan, the adopted son of Syed Hussain Ali Khan, who was the Deputy Subahdar of the Deccan.

Meanwhile, in Delhi a plot was devised against the Sayyid brothers. Nizam-ul-mulk ultimately killed Syed Hussain Ali Khan on 9 October 1720. Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha with a big army set out to avenge his brother`s murder. But Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha was defeated at Hasanpur near Palwal (Haryana) in 15–16 November in the same year and later he was poisoned to death on 12 October 1722. Thus the protracted career of the Sayyid brothers came to an end.


The Cambridge Shorter History of India

Textbook of Indian History and Culture

By Sailendra Nath Sen

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