The Red Fort XIII – Architecture – Khas Mahal

Khas Mahal (Private House)

  • It consists of three parts
  • The set of three rooms facing Diwan-i-Khas is called Tasbih-Khana(Chamber for Telling Beads)
  • It was used for private worship by the Emperor
  • The northern and southern walls of the center room is covered with Marble Screen and under the arches there are inscriptions of Historical Fame – The work of Sadulla Khan, The Wazir of Shah Jahan
  • English Translation of the Inscription below the Arches are as follows

Praise be to God! How beautiful are these painted mansions and how charming are these residences: a part of the high heaven. When I say the high minded angels are desirous of looking at them, if people from different parts and directions (of the world) should come (here) to walk round them as (they walk) round the old house (Ka’ba), it would be right; and if the beholders of the two worlds should run to kiss their highly glorious threshold as (they kiss) the black stone (of Ka’ba) it would be proper. The commencement of this great fort, which is higher than the palace of the heavens and is the envy of the wall of Alexander; and of these pleasant edifices and of the garden of Hayat Baksh which is to these buildings as the soul is to the body, and the lamp is to an assembly; and of the pure canal, the limpid water of which is to the person possesing sight as the world reflecting mirror, and to the wise the unveiler of the secret world; and of the waterfalls, each of which you may say is the whiteness of the dawn or a tablet of secrets of the Table and the Pen (of Fate); and of the playing fountains, each of which is a hand of light rising to greet the inhabitants of heaven; or they are bright pearls alighting to reward the inhabitants of the earth; and of the tanks, full of water of  life (and) in its purity the envy of the light and the sun; announced on the 12th Dhilhijjah in the 12th holy year of ascension, corresponding to 1048 A.H., the delightful tidings of happiness to the people of the world. And the completion of it, which was effected at the expense of 50 lacs of rupees, on the 24th Rabii-l-Awwal in the 21st yearof the auspicious ascension corresponding to 1058 A.H., by the glory of the happy feet of the sovereign of the earth, the lord of the world, the founder of these heavenly, pleasant mansions, Shihabu-d-Din Muhammad, the second Lord of felicity, Shahjahan, the king champion of faith, opened the door of favour to the people of the world.

  • English translation of the verses on the wall is as follows

   May the Emperor of the world, Shahjahan, by his good fortune, the second Lord of felicity

   In the royal palace, with great magnificence, ever be like the sun in the sky.

   As long as foundation is indispensable with this building,

   May the palace of his good fortune touch the highest heaven

   Wonderfully charming is this adorned palace;

   A palace embellished with a hundred beauties

   Dignity is a sign to represent its greatness;

   Felicity is in the embraces of its hall.

   (Incomplete)

   (Incomplete)

   Whoever rubbed his head sincerely against its foot,

   His honour increased, like (the swelling) of  the (river) Jun (Jumna)

   When time erected its wall,

   It set a mirror before the face of the sun

   The face of its wall is  so decorated, that it demands from the painters of

   China a fee for showing its face.

   Time extended such an (affectionate) hand over its head,

   That the sky borrowed height from it

   In its playing fountains, and river-like tank,

   The sky washed its face with the water of  earth.

   As it is the seat of  a just king,

   So it is the King of all other buildings.

  • The three rooms behind it are known as Khwabgah (Sleeping Chamber)
  • To its south, there is a long hall with painted walls and ceiling
  • It is known as Tosh Khana (Robe Chamber) or Baithak (Sitting Room)
  • There is a beautiful marble screen at the northern end of these rooms carved with a Scale of Justice (Mizan-i-Adl)

A Photo by H.A. Mirza & Sons, Delhi, c. 1890’s; Source – columbia.edu

Khwabgah (The Sleeping Chamber), c.1870’s ; Source – columbia.edu

Khwabgah; Source – Columbia.edu

The “screen of justice” in the Khvabgah, in a photo from around the 1920’s , Source – Columbia.edu

India_324_04-10-06

Scales of Justice, Khas Mahal; Source – Flickr / Kelly Chang

A close look at the carved marble screen; Source – columbia.edu

The elaborate decoration of another grilled window screen in the Khas Mahal ; Source – Columbia.edu

A closer view of the niche above that grilled window ; Source – Columbia.edu

 

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