Interior view of sixty four pillars, Delhi (Chaustht Khamba, Delhi)

Mirza Aziz Koka aka Kotaltash was Emperor Akbar’s foster-brother—or more accurately, his milk brother, so-called because he was the son of the Emperor’s wet nurse, Jiji Anga. Kotaltash’s father was Ataga Khan, Akbar’s prime minister, upon whose death a grand mausoleum was constructed in near the dargah of the Sufi, Nizamuddin. Built in the early… Read more »

Baoli and remains of Jehangir’s palace, Delhi

Following in the footsteps of the Daniells was Thomas Bacon, who painted romantic scenes from ‘Hindostan’ for the paying public back home in Victorian England. It was not uncommon for artists to have help from army officers in recreating landscapes they had never visited—perhaps this artwork too was the result of such a collaboration because… Read more »

The Palace interior of the Dewan-i-Khas, Delhi

The Diwan-e-Khas is inside the Red Fort, which was built between 1639 and 1648 CE by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan at his newly minted capital, Shahjahanabad. With its white marble pavilions inlaid with precious gemstones, Diwan-e-Khas was reserved for meetings between the Emperor and courtiers, government officials and foreign dignitaries. The famous Peacock Throne… Read more »

Jahangir, Silver Coin of Agra Mint

Among the Mughals, Jahangir was undoubtedly the greatest patron of the arts, the man with The Eye. To him, even an object of prosaic commerce like the coin deserved to have beauty poured upon it. Jahangiri currency encompasses a remarkable variety of coins with interesting calligraphy and portrait designs. Because he was passionate about poetry,… Read more »

Akbar, Copper Tanka of Ujjain Mint

Ujjain has been a prominent urban centre stretching back to 600 BCE. In ancient India, it was one of the most important hubs connecting all the major trade routes, including those from Pataliputra (Bihar), Shravasti (Near Sopara in present-day Maharashtra) and Bharuch in Gujarat. Ujjain was the capital of power and learning, from where the… Read more »

Nur Jahan, Silver Rupee Coin of Agra Mint

This coin is symbolic of both the power and the precariousness of a queen’s role in an empire of men. Nur Jahan was the twentieth wife of Jahangir and especially favoured by the emperor. This placed her a unique position for a woman of her time and she used it to influence Mughal politics and… Read more »

Muhammad Shah, Silver Rupee of Kolhapur Mint

In the years following Aurangzeb’s death in 1707, the lustre of the Mughal empire began to dull. Territories shrunk as three emperors came and went, dispatched speedily by enemies and influential noblemen. But even in these uncertain times, one managed stay on and reign for 29 years. Roshan Akhtar Muhammad Shah, popularly known as Rangeela,… Read more »

Aurangzeb, Silver Coin of Gingee Mint

Gingee was a formidable fort in southern Arcot in the erstwhile Carnatic region. It was captured by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in 1677 and remained in the hands of the Marathas until 1698. In this year, Shivaji’s son Rajaram Bhosle I ensconced himself in the fort in response to Aurangzeb’s advancing armies in the kingdom. Mughal… Read more »

Akbar, Silver Coin of Elichpur Mint

Elichpur has an interesting place in history. The city today known as Achalpur in Maharasthra was for long a bone of contention between a revolving group of players including the Delhi Sultans, the Mughals, the Marathas and other kingdoms. Elichpur makes an appearance in medieval texts for the first time in 1269 CE, when Alauddin… Read more »

The Nautch Bungalow, Shalimar, Srinuggur

The Nautch Bungalow stands in Shalimar Bagh, Kashmir built by Jahangir for his beloved wife Noor Jahan in 1616. The garden is one of the few surviving Mughal gardens, based on the Persian ‘charbagh’ style. Samuel Bourne, the photographer,  arrived in India in the 1860s and visited the Kashmir valley during his epic Himalayan photographic… Read more »

Remembering Mughal Begums

A new three-part docudrama series from BBC Uzbekistan – “In the Footsteps Of The Baburid Begums”- traces the stories and achievements of the women who were part of Mughal Emperor Babur’s family. Filmed in Uzbekistan, India and Afghanistan, the series looks at Baburnama, the memoirs of the emperor, along with the Humanyun-nama, the chronicles of… Read more »

Akbar, Quarter Silver Rupee of Lahore Mint

This quarter silver rupee weighs 2.74 grams—a silver rupee during Akbar’s reign would weigh between 10 to 11 grams. In addition, this is an Ilahi type coin, which means it’s dated in the Ilahi era as opposed to the more Hijri era favoured by Islamic rulers. Din-i-ilahi was the faith founded by Akbar in  AH… Read more »

Babur, Shahrukhi Coin of Badakshan Mint

Babur, the founder of the Mughal dynasty was a descendant of Timur and Genghis Khan—and he didn’t want you to forget it. One of the ways in which he pledged his allegiance was by introducing the Shahrukhi denomination of coin to the Subcontinent. Shahrukhis were flat, round silver coins first issued by the Timurid ruler… Read more »