Looking fram Agra Fort to The Taj Mahal: Musamman Burj and PalaceFadime Özler Kaya
Baburids (Mughals) reigned in India for about three centuries, and they revealed unique buildings because of the mixture of their own culture and background and the local culture. In this period, “Jharokha-i Darshan,” meanly “Shah Bastions,” which had not been seen in Turkish – Islamic architecture before, were built. When these buildings are examined, it is understood that there is an influence of Hindu tradition. Firstly, the Shah Burj in Agra Fort, Musamman Burj, which is known commonly, was built, and it became an example for the Shah Bastions in other Mughal forts with its architecture and decorative features. Shah bastions were built for the rulers due to their strategic locations. Shah Jahan built a palace for his wife Mumtaz Mahal attached to Musamman Burj, and he expressed this in Padshahnama clearly. However, the intertwining of the palace and the Burj made it inevitable the spread of the mistake that not Musamman Palace, but Musamman Burj was built for Mumtaz Mahal. In addition, another important point of Musamman Burj and Palace is that Shah Jahan was held captive here by his son Aurangzeb. Contrary to general belief, it was not a prison but the harem room where Shah Jahan lived with Mumtaz Mahal in his reign and the place from where he could see the Taj Mahal even on his deathbed. This research was conducted through the period’s resources (travels and miniatures), especially through Akbarnama and Padshahnama, current research studies and literature review field study. Thus, the place and importance of the construction period, intended purpose, and architectural and decorative features of Musamman Burj and Musamman Palace in Mughal period architecture have been presented in this study, which has an original theme.
Agra Kalesi’nden Tac Mahal’e Seyir: Müsemmen Burç ve SarayıFadime Özler Kaya
Babürlüler, Hindistan’da 1526-1858 yılları arasında hâkimiyet sürmüş, kendi kültür ve birikimleri ile yerli kültürün kaynaşması sonucu özgün mimari eserler ortaya koymuşlardır. Bu dönemde, daha önce Türk-İslam mimarisinde görülmeyen “Jharokha-i Darşan” yani “Şah Burçları” yapılmıştır. Bu yapılar incelendiğinde Hindu geleneğinin tesiri olduğu anlaşılmaktadır. İlk olarak Agra Kalesi’ndeki Şah Burcu yaygın olarak bilinen adıyla Müsemmen Burç yapılmış, mimari ve süsleme özellikleri ile diğer Babürlü kalelerindeki Şah Burçları’na örnek olmuştur. Şah Burçları stratejik konumları sebebiyle hükümdarlar için tesis edilmiştir. Müsemmen Burç ile bitişik olarak Şah Cihan, eşi Mümtaz Mahal için bir saray yaptırmış ve bunu Padişahname’de açık bir şekilde ifade etmiştir. Ancak saray ve burcun iç içe olması zamanla Mümtaz Mahal için Müsemmen Saray’ın değil, Müsemmen Burç’un yapıldığı yanılgısının yayılmasına yol açmıştır. Ayrıca Müsemmen Burç ve Müsemmen Saray’ın bir diğer önemi ise Şah Cihan’ın, oğlu Evrengzib tarafından burada esir tutulmasıdır. Bilinenin aksine burası bir hapishane değil, hükümdarlık dönemi içinde Şah Cihan’ın Mümtaz Mahal ile yaşadığı harem dairesi ve ölüm döşeğindeyken bile Tac Mahal’i görebildiği yerdir. Bu araştırma Ekbername ve Padişahname başta olmak üzere diğer dönem kaynakları (seyahatnameler, minyatürler), güncel araştırma eserleri ile saha çalışması üzerinden gerçekleştirilmiştir. Böylece orijinal bir konuya sahip olan bu çalışma ile Müsemmen Burç ve Müsemmen Saray’ın yapım aşaması, kullanım amacı, mimari ve süsleme özelliklerinin Babürlü dönemi mimarisindeki yeri ve önemi ortaya konulmuştur.
The largest branch in the west of the Ganges is named Yamuna (Cemne-Jumna). Agra was founded just on the banks of this river by Lodis. Sikandar Lodi (1489-1517) embellished this new fort, but the severe earthquake that affected all Northern India also destroyed Agra. The reconstruction of the city was started by Babur Shah in 1526. A garden, a pavilion, a pool, and a bath were built, and Agra was given a beautiful, planned, and orderly appearance. While Agra Fort, located on the right bank of the Yamuna River, was a solid fort, it was demolished by Akbar Shah between the years of 1565-1575 and rebuilt from red sandstone. The fort, which was used by Mughals in XVI and XVII centuries, became the main center of the population of the state, especially during the Akbar Shah and Shah Jahan periods. Mughals used the fort until they moved the capital to Delhi City in 1638. After the Akbar Shah period, important buildings were added to Agra Fort in also Jahangir and Shah Jahan periods. According to Abul Fazl, there were more than 500 constructions in Agra Fort. The most important constructions in Agra Fort are Akbar Mahal, Jehangir Mahal, Divan-i-Am, Divan-i Khas, Musamman Burj, Musamman Palace, Shish Mahal (Turkish Bath), Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque) and Delhi Gate. Agra Fort, which has been under protection by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) since 1920, was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983. Musamman Burj and Palace are among the most important constructions in Agra Fort. Once, there was “Jharokha-i Darshan”, built by Akbar Shah and Jahangir in the place of Musamman Burj. Jharokha-i Darshan (Palace-Fort Balconies) are special units built on the bastions of the forts gorgeously that were first started by Humayun Shah in the Mughal period by adopting from Hindu tradition and systematized by Akbar Shah. Rulers went up to Jharokha-i Darshan and communicate with their people face to face, and by this means, they were also protected against any danger that could come. This practice was continued in Jahangir and Shah Jahan periods, but it was quitted in the Aurangzeb period since it was not an Islamic practice. Musamman Burj and Musamman Palace are between Divan-i Khas and Khas Mahal in Agra Fort. In front of the Burj, there is Mussamman Palace in the west of Divan-i Khas on a rectangular platform. This palace has a rectangular area surrounded by arches supported by marble columns and marble lattices. In the very center of this rectangular area, there is a pool in the form of a lotus. There is Musamman Palace, and afterwards, Musamman Burj is attached to it. Musamman Burj has an octagonal plan, surrounded by open columns, with two floors, all made of white marble on the red sandstone bastions of Akbar Shah. The second floor of Musamman Burj is arranged as an octagonal pavilion (çatri) covered with a dome. The decorations of Musamman Palace and Burj were designed in harmony with each other. The same technique and material were used while the decorations were created, but there are differences in the details of the motifs and patterns. Both interior and exterior walls of the marble columns surrounding Musamman Palace and Burj were filled with niches, and the walls were covered with botanical decorations having the same style and motifs. While there are stylized flowers and leaves such as hatai, palmet and rumi between the twisted branches on the columns and walls, there are naturalistic flowers such as lilies, irises, and daffodils on the panels (dados) on the walls. There were no dates, writings or inscriptions found in Musamman Burj and Musamman Palace. Writing has an important place in Jahangir and Shah Jahan period architectural decorations. The fact that writing was not used here can be evidence that this place was a social and political place open to the public, that the Mughal State took into consideration that there were many ethnic groups and separated religion and politics in state administration. The decorations on the construction were created by using colored stone inlay and relief techniques on white marble. Musamman Burj and Palace are also important since they reflect the common characteristics of the Jahangir and Shah Jahan periods of architecture and art. Moreover, the similarity between the material, technique and motifs used in the decorations of the Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah, which was commissioned by Nur Jahan, the wife of Jahangir, for her father Mirzā Ghiyās Beg in Agra city in Jahangir period and those used in the Musamman Burj and Musamman Palace is striking. Musamman Burj and Musamman Palace are important examples, particularly in terms of the decorations, where Jahangir period decorations and Shah Jahan period decorations are used together. Musamman Burj and Musamman Palace are one of the most important buildings in which Shah Jahan continued the architectural style of his father Jahangir, while also revealing his artistic style. The belief of that Musamman Burj was built by Shah Jahan for Mumtaz Mahal is wrong because it is also clearly seen in the miniatures that it was Shah Jahan’s Jharokha-i Darshan, that is, an official place where he addressed the public, communicating with them, and at the same time watched various demonstrations and ceremonies. The construction of Shah Burj in the other Mughal forts such as Lahore Fort and Delhi Fort, as in Musamman Burj in Agra Fort, reveals that the bastions were built for rulers due to their special locations. In Padshahnama, Shah Jahan clearly stated that he built Musamman Palace for Mumtaz Mahal. Musamman Burj and Musamman Palace are so intimate that it is difficult to think that they are separate buildings. Therefore, it is possible to state that the fault that not Musamman Palace but Musamman Burj was built for Mumtaz Mahal spread time. Another important aspect of Musamman Burj and Palace is that Shah Jahan was imprisoned here with his daughter Jahanara Begum by his son Aurangzeb. Here is the place where Shah Jahan spent his last days looking at the Taj Mahal. This is not a prison, on the contrary, it is the place where Shah Jahan spent his last days and waited to meet Mumtaz Mahal since Musamman Palace is the seraglio where Shah Jahan lived his best years and had his most special memories with Mumtaz Mahal. In addition, Musamman Burj is where he saw Mumtaz Mahal (Taj Mahal) in the best way since this is the point where the Taj Mahal is seen most beautifully in Agra City.
Consequently, Musamman Burj is Shah Jahan’s Jharokha-i Darshan that was named “musamman-octagonal” due to its octagonal plan. Although Musamman Burj and Palace was built by Shah Jahan in Agra Fort, it is a unique example which contains striking similarities with the works and style of the Jahangir period in terms of both architectural elements, material and technique and the motifs used in the decoration. Considering the buildings built by Shah Jahan after Musamman Burj and Palace, it is possible to say that Shah Jahan created his unique architectural style.