Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jodha Bai Ka Rauza / Jodha Bai's Palace

Jodha Bai Ka Rauza is an excellent example of the fusion of Hindu and Muslim architectures. The palace of Emperor Akbar's favorite queen-Jodha Bai, the place has distinct Gujarati and Rajasthani architectural patterns.

After Akbar conquered Malwa he faced strong
resistances from the Rajput kings. Akbar dealt with the problem diplomatically, allowing them to keep their kingdoms and getting into marriage alliances with the princesses of the Rajput clans. He married Jodha Bai, sister of Man Singh, the powerful ruler of Jaipur. She was his favorite queen and she got the permission to worship in the Hindu way in her palace. 

Located in Fatehpur Sikhri, the palace of Jodha Bai is an excellent piece of architectural structure. From this palace Jodha Bai, mother of Jehangir used to preside over the daily events in the complex. The Hawa Mahal is a room in the palace, which was made of stone lattice work with numerous windows to let the ladies watch the daily happenings. The Jodha Bai Ka Rauza has splendid carved decorations, which resemble the style of Hindu temple architecture. 
Jodha Bai's Palace is the central structure in Fatehpur Sikri's harem complex. It was a nearly self-contained complex, fronted by guardhouses, and designed to ensure that the women in purdah had everything that they needed for their daily life. While such a life may seem confining, particularly by Western standards. the palace itself is large and open. The Palace consists of a number of apartments linked by courtyards to an enormous inner courtyard. On the southern side of the palace were the harem baths, while behind the harem were the stables. The photo to the upper left 

shows the entrance to the palace,while the photo to the upper right shows the inner courtyard. The harem complex, however extended beyond the walls of the Jodha Bai Palace. To the north (and linked to the palace by a viaduct) are a series of gardens, shown in the photo at the lower left. Just north and slightly west of this palace lies Birbal's house, a beautiful double-storied, double-domed structure. Interestingly enough, both dwellings seem to be misnamed. Jodha Bai was not Akbar's queen but rather that queen of son Jahangir; therefore this name was posthumously misdesignated. It was most likely the home of Akbar's wife, Mariam-uz-Zamani. Likewise, since the name Birbal refers to a male member of the Mughul royal family, it is a near-certainty that he did not live in the harem--after all, an emperor's generosity can only extend so far! The most likely occupants of this palace were Akbar's two senior queens, Ruqayya Begum and Salima Sultan Begum.

The Jodha Bai's Palace is a spot worth a visit and it is one of the most important tourist destinations in Agra. Everyday thousands of tourists and visitors come to see this wonderful place. A visit to the Jodha Bai Ka Rauza will take you back to the grand old days. The walls of the palace are filled with smell of the great history it has witnessed. 

Jodha Bai's palace is the largest and most important part of Imperial Harem, having all facilities, provisions and safeguards. The name Jodha Bai palace is a misnomer in itself. It is most widely accepted that the building was for Raniwas or Zenani-Dyodhi. The palace building consists of a rectangular block measuring 231'8"x215' in dimension, with a single magnificent gateway on eastern side, which was protected by guard rooms, having triangular ceiling and other apartments. Several Hindu motifs have been used in the building, which confirms that occupant of the building 
was a Hindu lady. 

Hindu motifs like hams (swan), parrot, elephants, lotus, srivatsa mark, ghant mala etc are decorated in the interior. The colonnaded dalan contains curvilinear square pillars with beautiful moldings and extremely graceful brackets. The western suite, which serves the purpose of temple, contains beautiful curvilinear pillars with brackets. This suite contains vedikas and several Hindu motifs. The super structure of the building is comprises of chhatris, chhaparkhats with eight pillars, semi circular domes and triangular khaprel roofs, The corner domes and khaprel roofs bears traces of arabesque designs in glazed tiles.

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