The Jahaz Mahal of Lodi Era [PHOTO STORY]

The Jahaz Mahal got its name because of its reflection in the rippling waters of the Hauz-i-Shamsi looked like a moving ship.

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Towards the northeastern corner of Hauz-i-Shamsi (Shamsi Talaab built by Sultan Shams ud-Din Iltutmish of Slave Dynasty) in Mehrauli, South Delhi, lays a Lodi Era (1452-1526) construction called Jahaz Mahal.

Read more about Hauz-i-Shamsi at Hauz-i-Shamsi – Blog by Dr. K Sharmila Reddy

Hauz-i-Shamsi (Shamshi Taalab) of Sultan Shams-ud-Din Iltutmish
Hauz-i-Shamsi (Shamsi Taalab) of Sultan Shams-ud-Din Iltutmish
Concept of Jahaz Mahal:

It got its name because of its reflection in the rippling waters of the Hauz-i-Shamsi looked like a moving ship. The Persian word Jahaz means Ship.

The Jahaz Mahal - a side view
The Jahaz Mahal – a Side View

The original purpose for which this Mahal exists is uncertain. It is a Sarai of merchants. It provided transit accommodation to the pilgrims who came to Delhi to visit the Muslim shrines.

Some say that it is a palace of retreat for the emperors and their families during the summer months.

The Jahaz Mahal - a panoramic view
The Jahaz Mahal – a Panoramic View

It is a mosque for private use due to the presence of Mihrab on its western wall according to a few. According to few, it was the residence of a holy man.

JAHAZ MAHAL- ARCHITECTURE

It consists of a rectangular courtyard in the center and arched chambers on the sides. It’s entrance is to the east.

The Eastern Entrance
The- Eastern Entrance

The courtyard was originally in rectangular shape. Due to the collapsed southern wall, it looks U shaped now. "The

The U- shaped courtyard has several anti-chambers. Each chamber has a dome with decorative squinches.

The star attractions of the Jahaz Mahal are the Chatris with glazed blue tiles decoration.

a linear row of anti-chambers in the courtyard
a linear row of anti-chambers in the courtyard

Five out of the six Chatris (with different number of pillars) have survived and only traces of glazed tile work remains today.

Beautiful Chatris with remnants of glazed tile work
Beautiful Chatris with remnants of glazed tile work

The corner Chatris are small and square shaped. They have four pillars each.

A corner square Chatri with four pillars
A corner square Chatri with four pillars

The massive square Chatri on the eastern entrance gate is the grandest of all. It has twelve highly decorated pillars.

Massive square Chatri with 12 decorated pillars and remnants of blue tile work
A massive square Chatri with 12 decorated pillars and remnants of blue tile work
the Chatri on the eastern entrance – the grandest of all
The Chatri on the eastern entrance – The Grandest of all

The Chatri on the middle of the western side, crowning the Mihrab is octagonal.

The Mihrab on the western wall with an Octogonal Chatri
The Mihrab on the western wall with an Octagonal Chatri
The Octagonal Chtari on the Mihrab with 8 pillars
The Octagonal Chatri on the Mihrab with 8 pillars
Chatri:

Chatri is a kind of trabeate domed canopy. The Persian word “Chatr” (Sanskrit Chattra) means an umbrella. It is an archetypical of vault of the heaven. The Persio-Arabic Suffix- I is added to it, as it is considered sacred.

See Chatri also at Sultan Ghari

Courtyard of Jahaz Mahal
Courtyard
Floral design on the roof of the courtyard
Floral design on the roof of the courtyard of Jahaz Mahal

This U- shaped Mahal has a moat around it. However, it has no water now and is filled with vegetation.

The dried up moat around the Jahaz Mahal
The dried up moat filled with vegetation 

This flight of stairs on the southern end probably will lead into the Mahal via a wodden bridge across the Moat. The collapsed southern wall probably had another entrance.

Collapsed southern wall which probably had another entrance.
Collapsed southern wall which probably had another entrance.
Author Dr K Sharmila Reddy in the courtyard of Jahaz Mahal
Author Dr K Sharmila in the courtyard of Jahaz Mahal
JAHAZ MAHAL- the venue of Phool Walon ki Sair

Jahaz Mahal has been the venue of annual Phool Walon ki Sair or Sair-i-Gulfaroshan. The origin of this secular festival dates back to late 18th century.

Mirza Jehangir, favorite son of Mughal Emperor Akbar Shah II was denied the right to be his successor in preference to his elder brother Abu Zafar (Later Bahadur Shah Zafar II) by the East India Company.

One day, when British Resident Archibald Seton met Akbar II at the Red Fort, the topic of succession came and the resident stated East India Company’s position very firmly. Angry at this Mirza Jahangir fired at Seton. The fire missed, but Seton asked Mirza to apologize.

The Prince refused, which led to his arrest and exile to Allahabad in 1812.

A turret at the corner
A turret at the corner

Then Mirza’s mother Mumtaz Mahal (not Shah Jahan’s Mumtaz) prayed at both Dargah and the temple. Provided that her son is released, she vowed to offer Chadar at the Dargah of Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki and a floral fan to Devi Joga Maya at Yogmaya Mandir.

As things turned out, Mumtaz Mahal’s wish came true and Mirza Jahangir was sent back to Delhi. Thus, Phool Walon ki Sair is started from that point.

Since then, it has been observed as a symbol of communal harmony every year, in the month of September for three days.

Jahaz Mahal- the Back view
Jahaz Mahal – The Back View
Jahaz Mahal-This is where the Phool Walon ki Sair starts
This is where the Phool Walon ki Sair starts

What happened to Mirza Jahangir later on? If he released back to Delhi, why did he die in Allahabad? Lets read more about him in the consequent article of this series- Tomb of Mirza Jahangir at Hazrat Nizamuddin.

JAHAZ MAHAL OF MANDU

Not to confuse with the Jahaz Mahal located at Mandu, Madhya Pradesh.

Mandu’s Jahaz Mahal is a pleasure resort built by Sultan Ghias-ud-din Khalji in around 1469-1501 AD. It is in between the two artificial lakes (Kapur Talao and the Munja Talao).

Jahaz Mahal of Mandu
Jahaz Mahal of Mandu
Author Dr K Sharmila Reddy on a12 pillared Sqaure Chatri at Jahaz Mahal
Author Dr K Sharmila Reddy on a 12 pillared Sqaure Chatri 

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