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An Emperor's last days: views from the Agra Fort


Shah Jahan, the Mughal Emperor who commissioned the construction of the Taj Mahal, spent the later years of his life imprisoned in the Agra Fort, from where he could see the Taj Mahal. This period of his life is a poignant and tragic chapter in the history of the Mughal Empire.

Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb in 1658. The reasons for his imprisonment are complex and revolve around a succession dispute among his sons. Aurangzeb emerged victorious in this power struggle and, to prevent his father from having any influence or making a comeback, he had Shah Jahan confined to the Agra Fort.

While imprisoned, Shah Jahan was kept in luxurious quarters within the Agra Fort, known as the Musamman Burj. This location afforded him a view of the Taj Mahal, which was being completed during his confinement. It is said that he spent his last years gazing at the monument he had built in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, and reflecting on the past.

Shah Jahan died in 1666 while still in captivity, and he was later buried next to Mumtaz Mahal in the Taj Mahal. The poignant story of Shah Jahan's imprisonment and his view of the Taj Mahal from the Agra Fort has added to the romantic and tragic aura surrounding the monument and its history.

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