‘Mansur: A novel in twenty-four miniatures’ by Vikramajit Ram

“Set in Agra, 1627, Mansur: A Novel reimagines a day in the life of an imperial Mughal atelier. Ustad Mansur belonged to a distinguished group of master painters in the service of Jahangir. He specialised in watercolour life-studies—of unmatched realism and finesse—of flora and fauna, both native and exotic.” – Vikramajit Ram for Sarmaya Talks.… Read more »

Alamgir II, Silver coin of Gwalior Mint

This double-die-struck silver coin from the Gwalior Mint (Madhya Pradesh) was issued by Alamgir II in 1753-54. Mughal Emperor Alamgir II (1699–1744), also referred to as Aziz–ud–Din Muhammad, ruled Delhi between 1754 and 1759. Regarded as a “puppet” monarch, Alamgir II was manipulated by other court officials and rulers. His four-year tenure saw a rise… Read more »

The Nautch Bungalow, Shalimar Bagh, Srinagar

This photograph of the Nautch Bungalow at the Shalimar garden in Kashmir was taken by Burke and Baker in the late 19th century. Mughal king, Jahangir (r. 1605-1627) built the Nautch Bungalow for his beloved wife Nur Jahan in 1616. The garden is one of the few surviving Mughal gardens, based on the Persian ‘charbagh’ style.  To… Read more »

10 interesting facts about Mughal gardens

Mughal emperors considered gardens as one of the most important architectural components of their state—so what made a garden adequately ‘Mughal’? Here are 10 clues

The Taj Mahal, Agra

When Arjumand Banu Begum (1593-1631), principal consort of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, passed away, a marble mausoleum was constructed to house her mortal remains on the south bank of the Yamuna. The Taj Mahal, originally named Rauza-i-Munawarah, took fifteen years from 1632 to be completed. Marble from Makrana, jasper from Punjab and jade from China… Read more »

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 »