Tomb of Jahangir
|Location||Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan|
The Tomb of Jahangir (Urdu: مقبرہُ جہانگیر) is a 17th century mausoleum built for the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. The mausoleum dates from 1637, and is located in Shahdara Bagh in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, along the banks of the Ravi River. The site is famous for its interiors that are extensively embellished with frescoes and marble, and its exterior that is richly decorated with pietra dura. The tomb, along with the adjacent Akbari Sarai and the Tomb of Asif Khan, are part of an ensemble currently on the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage status.
The tomb is located in Shahdara Bagh, northwest of the Walled City of Lahore. The tomb is located across the River Ravi from Lahore, in what was a rural area known for its numerous pleasure gardens. The tomb in located in Nur Jahan's pleasure garden, the Dilkusha Garden, that had been laid out in 1557. The Tomb of Asif Khan, built in 1645, and the Akbari Sarai, built in 1637, are located immediately west of Jahangir's tomb complex, and the three form an ensemble oriented on a east-west axis. The last of the Shahdara Bagh monuments, the tomb of Jahangir's wife Nur Jahan is located slight southwest of Asif Khan's tomb.
The tomb was built for Emperor Jahangir, who ruled the Mughal Empire from 1605 to 1627 C.E.. The emperor died in the foothills of Kashmir near the town of Rajauri on 28 October 1627. A funeral procession transferred his body from Kashmir and arrived in Lahore on Friday, 12 November 1627. The Dilkusha Garden in which he was buried was a "favourite spot" of Jahangir and his wife Nur Jahan, when they lived in Lahore. His son, the new Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, ordered that a "mausoleum befitting an Emperor" should be built in his father's honour to inter his remains.
Though contemporary historians attribute construction of the tomb to Jahangir's son Shah Jahan, the tomb may have been the result of Nur Jahan's vision. Taking inspiration from her father's burial place, she is said to have designed the mausoleum in 1627, and possibly helped fund it. Construction started in 1627, requiring ten years for completion, and cost Rs 10 lakh.
Repair works were undertaken at the tomb in 1814 according to Sikh court records. The tomb complex, however, was also desecrated under Sikh rule when they were pillaged by the army of Ranjit Singh, with building materials used for decoration of the Golden Temple in Amritsar. The pillaged grounds were then converted for use as a private residence for an officer in the army of Ranjit Singh, Señor Oms, who was also known as Musa Sahib. Ranjit Singh further desecrated the mausoleum once more when he ordered that Musa Sahib be buried on the tomb's grounds after dying from cholera in 1828. By 1880, a rumour had begun circulating which alleged that the tomb once was topped by a dome or second storey that was stolen by Ranjit Singh's army, though no evidence has been found to suggest that a dome or second story ever existed at the tomb.
The Shahdara ensemble of monuments suffered further under British rule, when a railway line was built between the tombs of Asif Khan and Nur Jahan. The site was then repaired by the British between 1889-1890.
Flooding from the nearby River Ravi threatened or damaged the site in 1867, 1947, 1950, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1962, 1966, 1973, 1976, 1988, and 2010. The site sustained water damage during flooding in 1988 that covered much of the site in 10 feet of water for 5 days.
The tomb was constructed in a Mughal style influenced by Safavid-style architecture from Persia, which may have been introduced into the Mughal Court by Nur Jahan - who was of Persian origin. The mausoleum is laid out as a takhtgah - or a mausoleum built upon a podium which serves as a takht, or "throne."
In keeping with Sunni religious tradition, Jahangir's great grandfather Babur chose to be buried in a tomb open to the sky at the Gardens of Babur. Jahangir's tomb broke with this tradition by including a roof. In order to forge a compromise with Sunni tradition, Jahangir expressly forbade the construction of a dome over his tomb, and so the roof is simple and free from architectural embellishments which later featured prominently at the Taj Mahal. The mausoleum's façade is embellished with red sandstone inlaid with marble motifs.
The square-shaped mausoleum is a 22 foot tall, single-story plinth with arcades lining all four sides of the structure. Vaulted bays along the perimeter of the tomb reflect Timurid architectural styles from Central Asia. The mausoleum's façade of red sandstone is inlaid with motifs forged of white marble.
From the building rise four octagonal ornamental minarets projecting from each corner of the building, decorated with geometric inlaid stone. The use of minarets, absent from early Mughal commissions, reflects a renewed interest in Timurid architecture from Central Asia during the reign of Jahangir. The minarets are divided into three sections, with the tomb forming the base, upon which the body of the minaret rests, called by white marble cupolas. The minarets rise to a height of 100 feet (30m).
At the centre of the mausoleum is an octagonal chamber lined with carved marble in which the remains of the Mughal Emperor rest in a crypt below a cenotaph. The interior of the tomb features a white-marble cenotaph inlaid with pietra dura in vegetal patterns, as well as the 99 Names of Allah, a common theme in Islamic mysticism.
The gardens surrounding the tomb are vast, and laid out in the Persian Chahar Bagh, or Paradise garden. The garden is divided into four squares by paved walkways (khiyabans) and two bisecting central water channels which are designed to reflect the four rivers that flow in jannat, the Islamic concept of paradise. Each of the four square is further divided into smaller squares with pathways, creating into 16 squares in all. The garden forms a quadrangle measuring approximately 500 metres on each side.
The mausoleum is set in a large quadrangle with gates facing each of the cardinal directions. Entry to the quadrangle is via the western edge through the Akbari Sarai - a gate featuring a small mosque. To the immediate west of the Akbari Sarai is the Tomb of Asif Khan - Jahangir's brother-in-law.
The site is protected by the Federal Antiquities Act 1975, though stipulations of the law are frequently neglected, resulting in damage to the site and surrounding area. The act forbids construction within 200 feet of the site, though private homes have been built that are located a few metres from the boundary walls of the site. The site was inscribed on the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1993.
Numismatics and philately
The tomb was featured on the 1000 Rupee note until 2005. Pakistan issued a postage stamp in 1954 to commemorate Emperor Jahangir mausoleum
The tomb is surrounded by a Persian-style Paradise garden.
Jehangir's cenotaph is richly embellished with intricate inlay.
The outer perimeter of the complex features a large entry gate known as Bara Darwaza that leads to the Akbari Sarai.
Bases of the minarets feature fine pietra dura detail.
The minarets at the tomb are capped by white marble cupolas
- Wiki Loves Monuments: Top 10 pictures from Pakistan are here!
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