Agra Fort, India


Agra Fort – View showing Dewan Khas & Saman Burj Gaj in the distance
1910s

Cultural India: Agra Fort
Wikipedia (Agra Fort)
Maps: 1901 & 1909

Building location

The “Dewan Khas” or “Private Hall of Audience” is situated at one end of a broad stone terrace overlooking the river. At the other, alas! is a vacant space; on it formerly stood a corresponding pavilion, which, according to tradition, was constructed of green marble, if there be such a substance; at all events, of some rare material. It had shared the fare of the Zenana of Akbar; it had become dilapidated; it was pulled down. The “Dewan Khas” is of white marble, a large open room, whose flat roof is supported by a double row of slender twelve-sided columns.
The Personal Adventures and Experiences of a Magistrate During the Rise, Progress, and Suppression of the Indian Mutiny (originally published 1884)

Musamman Burj was built by Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. 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 Jahan 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 Mahal….It is here that Shah Jahan along with his favorite daughter Jahanara Begum had spent his last few years as a captive of his son Aurangzeb. He lay here on his death bed while gazing at the Taj Mahal in Agra.
Wikipedia (Musamman Burj)


Interior of Dewan Khas and its inscription (Agra Fort)
Postmarked & letter dated 1905

Read moreAgra Fort, India

Taj Mahal


Agra. The Taj – The Grille (Interior)
Not sure on date. Mid-20th century

The extracts below are from Taj Mahal. For more information and details.

“The naturalistic decoration of the interior culminates in the central ensemble of the cenotaphs of Mumtaz and Shah Jahan and the screen that surrounds them. It attracts all visitors today with its spectacular flowers and plants inlaid in semi-precious stones.

“The perforated marble screen (mahjar-i mushabbak) was set up in 1643 to replace the original one of enamelled gold made by the goldsmith and poet Bibadal Khan on the occasion of the second anniversary of Mumtaz Mahal’s death in 1633, which was obviously deemed too precious. It took ten years to make and cost 50,000 rupees, less than one-tenth of the cost of the gold screen. Since 1994-1995 AD it has been protected from the hands of visitors by an ungainly aluminium grille in a wooden frame.”

“Within the screen are the upper cenotaphs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan – what Lahauri and Kanbo call surat-i qabr, ‘the likenesses of tombs’. As usual in imperial Mughal mausoleums, the actual burials are below, in the lower tomb chamber, under cenotaphs of similar design.”

“Each cenotaph consists of a single block of stone, shaped like a sarcophagus, set on a stepped plinth which is placed in turn on a wider platform. The cenotaph of Shah Jahan is characterized as a male tomb by the symbol of a pen case on its top. While the cenotaphs conform to an established Mughal type, no other Mughal, nor any other personage in the Islamic world, was commemorated with such exquisite decoration. The lower cenotaph of Jahangir at Lahore is the only one that comes close; it was created at the same time as that of Mumtaz, probably by the same artists. The decoration of the cenotaphs with hardstone inlay was reserved for mem bers of the Mughal imperial family.”


ताज की कवर, आगरा
Cenotaphs Inside Taj Mahal Agra

No date. Postcard is printed on very thin card, more like paper.
(Hindi is probably wrong but it’s the closest I could get to what is on the card. Don’t rely on it for anything important.)

Street View