Musamman Burj as seen from the Black throne of Jahangir

Near the Diwan-i-Khas is situated the private residential areas of Shah Jahan which stand on a plinth overlooking the river. On the north side is the most eloquent octagonal tower better known as Musamman Burj (octagonal tower). At its site there were palaces of Jahangir, which were constructed by him and are mentioned in his Memoirs. These palaces were demolished by Shah Jahan and in their place the most elegant marble multi-storied tower was constructed by Shah Jahan for his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal Lady of the Taj as mentioned in Badshah Nama. The marble surface was finely decorated with sophisticated pietra dura with precious coloured stones. Adjoining the Musamman palace to the west is the extremely pretty pavilion called Shah Burj. It is a rectangular building with a flat marble ceiling supported by richly inlaid marble Shah Jaham pillars on the west side. Its court is flanked by finely carved marble screen with beautiful merlon design on the north. The marble facade is richly decorated with fine inlaid work with precious lapislazule petals of the flowers.

The northern wall of the pavilion has two rectangular openings, which had beautiful wooden doors that are now missing. In the centre of the floor of the pavilion is a large rectangular monolithic ornamental basin with a scented fountain. The borders and the interior of the single existed carved marble cistern has a beautiful floral design decorated with inlaid precious coloured stones. The eastern wall has tri-arched opening, the central one being larger than the side ones. The walls have a series of deep arched niches. The octagonal specious chamber is exquisitely decorated with paintings in gold and multi coloured precious inlay work. The outer verandah is supported on faceted embellished pillars whose openings provide a panoramic view of the Taj Mahal and its surroundings with the river Yamuna. The outer structure is also richly embellished particularly the graceful pillars, capital beams and friezes have delicate panels of scrolls with leaves, flowers and buds. The interior and exterior marble walls of the Musamman Burj are also elegantly decorated with pietra duera with coloured precious stones. It is rightly considered to be the gem of Indo-Islamic architecture in India. The dome of the Musamman Burj is gilded in gold on copper sheets. Emperor Shah Jahan expired in this octagonal chamber in 1666 with his daughter Jahan Ara and a few royal ladies by his side.

Musamman Burj as seen from the Black throne of Jahangir