In 1637, a mausoleum was built by Mughal Emperor Jahangir, located in Shahdara adjacent to Lahore, Pakistan. This is called the Tomb of Jahangir, along the banks of River Ravi. Emperor Jahangir, who ruled the Mughal Empire from 1605 to 1627 C.E. The Janangir mausoleum is most popular due to its fantasist interiors extensively embellished with frescoes and marbles.
This spot had been a favorite area of Jahangir and his wife Nur Jahan when they resided in Lahore, and this spot was usually used as a point of departure for travels to and from Kashmir and Lahore. The Tomb of Jahangir along with Akbari Sarai, the Tomb of Asif Khan is in the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage status. Much of the mausoleum’s exterior is richly decorated with pietra dura. This was a rural area famous for its many pleasure gardens.
The tomb is located in Nur Jahan’s pleasure garden, the Dilkusha Garden, which had been laid out in 1557. The tomb of Jahangir’s wife Nur Jahan is located slightly southwest of Asif Khan’s tomb. However, the Tomb of Asif Khan, built-in 1645, and the Akbari Sarai, built-in 1637, are located immediately west of Jahangir’s tomb complex. Flooding from the nearby River Ravi threatened or damaged the site sustained water damage during flooding in 1988 that covered much of the site in 10 feet of water for 5 days. Jahangir died on 28 October 1627 in the foothills of Kashmir when he was on traveling to the town of Rajauri.
His dead body was carried from Kashmir to Shahdara on 12 Nov 1627. The Dilkusha Garden was his favorite spot of Jahangir and his wife Nur Jahan when they lived in Lahore. The funeral procession done by his son (Emperor Shah Jahan) in that place, ordered a mausoleum befitting an Emperor should be built in his father’s honor to inter his remains. Jahangir has renewed interest in minarets; however, some historians attribute the construction of the tomb to Jahangir’s son Shah Jahan.
Jahangir’s wife Nur Jahan had a vision of constructing a tomb, taking inspiration from her father’s burial place. It is believed, that the construction cost was around 10 lakh and it took three years to finish. The tomb’s gardens are laid out in the Persian Chahar Bagh style. Hence, the construction work of the mausoleum lasted 10 years, from 1627 to 1637, and was most likely funded by the imperial treasury (though there is some evidence that Jahangir’s wife, Nur Jahan, may have financed the construction).
In 1814, some repair work was done by 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 tomb complex was also desecrated and pillaged grounds were then converted for use as a private residence for an officer in the army of Ranjit Singh. The 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 somewhere 1889-1890. The tomb’s walls are inlaid with carved marble.
The walls of the Tomb of Jahangir are inlaid with red sandstone and carved marble motifs. Arcades surround the tomb and feature ghalib kari, or ribs inlaid into arched surfaces on the arch’s curved areas. The square-shaped mausoleum is 22 feet tall and the roof is embellished with marble. The building rises four octagonal ornamental minarets decorated with geometric inlaid stone. The minarets rise to a height of 100 feet and the body of the minaret rests, called by white marble cupolas. Also, the burial chamber contains the Emperor’s cenotaph. The series of vaulted compartments are richly adorned with Mughal buon fresco.
In the center 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 mausoleum is set in a large quadrangle with gates facing each of the cardinal directions.
Thus, entry to the quadrangle is through the western edge via the Akbari Sarai. Also, there is 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. Nowadays, the Tomb of Jahangir holds exceptional significance for Pakistanis as it is the only Mughal tomb located in present-day Pakistan. The Tomb of Jahangir image appears on the 1,000 rupee banknote and it remains one of Lahore’s most popular attractions.
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