The Golden Pavilions

On either side of the Khas Mahal is an oblong pavilion with Bangla roofs and curved chhajjas or eaves. Badshah Nama mentioned these structures as Bangla and recorded that the northern one was used as Jharoka Darshan (in addition to the Shah Burj).

These pavilions are constructed in red sandstone and thoroughly stuccoed shining like white marble. The pavilions are fancifully, though wrongly called Jahan Ara and Roshan Ara (see photo below) apartments. A unique feature is the provision of white marble curtain wall (Sari-parda) which separates the main palace from these pavilions. These are divided into vertical sections each one bearing a trefoil arch. This Shah Jahani palace was an ideal medieval harem complex of the Mughal period.

The Khas Mahal (Royal palace) complex was constructed by Shah Jahan and it was meant for the ladies of the royal harem and comprised the main marble structure with its north and south pavilions the Anguri Bagh (Grape Garden) formed part of the residential quarters and the royal bath decorated with fine mirrors. The three white marble pavilions are higher than the Anguri Bagh overlooking the river stand on a marble terrace.

The colonnade or portico, which is of the same size as the inner hall has five arched openings in front of and three each side having flat roofs. Above the painted dado panels are carved and painted with floral designs particularly with poppy flowers. The three archways lead to the inner hall and opposite them are three windows overlooking the river. The roofs of the gallery and hall are of plain marble, but according to Abdul Hamid Lahauri these were profusely decorated and painted in gold and colours originally and some of the traces found in the hall support the view of the contemporary historian.

The walls have a number of deep niches, which have been decorated with the portraits of Mughal Emperors from Timur to Akbar and Jahangir, which were taken away by the Jats in 1761-1774.

The iron rings in the ceiling of the hall were evidently meant to suspend chandeliers.

The big tank in the centre of the platform measures about 13 m. by 9 m. externally, which has a red sandstone bed with five fountains and thirty two jets. The zig zag inlay of the escape channel from it known as pusht-i-mahi (back of the fish) a popular design of the Mughals from the time of Emperor Babur. The fountain creates a rainbow into the atmosphere when the fountains are played with coloured water.

This pavilion is also in the shape of an Indian palanquin. Both these pavilions are constructed of red sandstone, which were exquisitely plastered over with marble and shell plaster, shining like white marble. Abdul Hamid Lahauri, the court chronicler of Shah Jahan specifically recorded details about these pavilions and mentioned the use of light wood in the ceilings. He recorded that "this Daulat-Khana-i-Khas-wa-'Am was previously an ordinary building, meaning thereby that it was of red sandstone, but it was then made of marble in the tenth year of Shah Jahan's rule i.e. about 1636 AD. Laharui mentions that it shines better than marble, like a mirror. These side pavilions have curved eaves and curved roof of Bengal. It lays an added emphasis on the upper horizontal lines, which would otherwise have been monotonous and would have necessitated a superstructure. The curved attractive roofs of the pavilion and at the same time provide, an impressive superstructure.

Roshan Ara Pavilion

Roshan Ara Pavilion