We all have known how Shah Jahan poured out his love for his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal after she died in the form of Taj Mahal. The question is did he show this kind of love in her life too, apart from making her bear 14 children?
Shah jahan was a man of extraordinary tastes. And then he had a pretty wife Mumtaz Mahal he constantly wanted to shower her with surprises as his expression of love. Ofcourse when you are super rich, and a king, for you symbols of love only seem to be gold, silver, diamonds and precious stones. Hahahaha.
The legend is that Shah Jahan created his own private quarters in the Lahore Fort ( the fort initially constructed by Akbar), embellished his bedroom and meeting room with frescoes using gold and silver along other colors, pietra dura(marble inlaid with Lepiz, rubies, agate, jade etc). These rooms had airy windows lined with marble carved jaalis that looked upon River Ravi. The breeze from the river kept his quarters cool. On the inner side there was a beautiful courtyard with a fountain in the centre, that went upto 8 feet high. The marble of the courtyard was chosen with different hues that gave the impression of clouds. In fullmoon nights they created a mesmerizing, surreal view.
However, his favourite queen wasn’t too impressed. Apparently, as claimed by the tour guide, she told her husband, “You have money, so you made it out of gold, silver and precious stones. I want something that is unimaginable and priceless. Can you make me a house bringing those stars from the sky?” The metaphor in Urdu is more relatable, “Mere liye aasman se taare la ker ghar bana sakte ho?”
Like every imaginative person, this didn’t seem an impossible feat for Shah Jahan.
He ordered his Persian architect to procure the best convex glass pieces from anywhere in the world. As a result the architect traveled the region as found the right kind in Syria. Hence came into existence of Sheesh Mahal in the Shah Burj section of Lahore Fort.
Shah Jahan it is said, would lie down in his room with his queen, with one single candle lit in the room, and all the mirror pieces would sparkle like stars. And there would be cool breeze of Ravi coming from the windows, and they would see a fountain flowing in from of them in the courtyard under full moon. He would then ask his wife, “Do you like it now?”
And the queen would just give an affectionate smile.
Another thing: All over the walls of Sheeh Mahal apart from convex mirrors and glasses were paintings of King and Queen. One painting was queen serving wine to the king. . One painting was of Radha-Krishna as a tribute to their love.
So this was about the super rich, and their high-end coquetry and expensive swag. LOL.
Also,during Sikh dynasty in Lahore after Auranzeb, Sheesh Mahal became the favourite place for Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his wives.
Here for us the ordinary middle class humans of the Earth, are pictures we attempt to capture with a simple mobile phone camera, of the neglected remains of their luxurious swag. Good news is that they are being restored now, albeit slowly.