Thursday, September 10, 2009

Musamman Burj



Muthammun Burj where Shah Jahan was imprisoned


Musamman Burj at the Red Fort, Agra, India


Detail of Musamman Burj inlay

Another view of the Muthammun Burj

Musamman Burj or the Octagonal Tower is believed to have been built by Shah Jehan as the palace of his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal and it was here that he spent his last days since his son Aurungzeb imprisoned him till his death along with his favorite daughter Jahanara Begum. It is situated at the location where the main wall of the fort takes a turn towards the east. It is said that at first a small marble palace built by Akbar was situated at this site, which was later demolished by Jehangir to erect new buildings. Shah Jehan in his turn chose this site to erect the multi-storied marble tower inlaid with precious stones for Mumtaz Mahal. It was built between 1631-40 and offers exotic views of the famous Taj.

The dome crowning it has gilded copper at the top while the flooring on the lower storey has been paved with marble to resemble the board for playing pachchisi. Thus, it is also known as the Pachchisi Court. People believe that the emperor used to play the game here but actually this court was built merely as an ornamental cover for the drains. The most notable traits of this town is a projecting jharokha on its easternmost side, an elegant marble screen on the riverfront side, the vertical pillars and the horizontal chhajja supported on beautiful brackets. The most ornate building of the entire fort is the small pavilion known as Shah Burj situated near this tower.

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