Thursday, September 10, 2009

Shish Mahal

Shish Mahal or the Glass Palace is situated on the western side of the Muthamman Burj below the Diwan-i-Khas hall. Shah Jehan built it between 1631-40, perhaps to be used as imperial baths. Thus, it had extra thick walls to ensure cool interiors. It was so named because of the extensive use of mirrors in its walls and ceilings set in the plaster. It lent a beautiful dramatic effect when illuminated and thus, it was purposefully made dark to necessitate the use of artificial light. According to Abdul Hamid Lahauri, the historian of Shah Jehan, these splendid mirrors belonged to Haleb (Aleppo, Syria) that was the main centre for manufacturing such glasses at the time.

The palace consists of two large chambers connected through a broad arched opening in the center and two narrow passages on the sides. Only light that crept in here, reached here through the two doors and a ventilator in the southern wall. Both these chambers had a marble tank with fountains and arrangements for hot and cold water. The marble doors were provided so that the chamber could easily be used as the steam bath too. Besides the beautiful niches fitted with two inlets for water in the interior hall, there were two series of candle niches too, where the candles were kept to cast their reflection on the falling water casting a lovely effect.

No comments:

Post a Comment