A'la Azad Abul Muzaffar Shahab ud-Din Mohammad Khurram (January 5, 1592 – February 01, 1666) better known by his imperial name Shah Jahan, was the fifth Mughal Emperor who reigned from 1628 until 1658. While young, Khurram was the favourite of his legendary grandfather, the third Mughal emperor Akbar the Great. At a young age, he was chosen as successor to the Mughal throne after the death of his father, Emperor Jahangir, in 1627. He is considered one of the greatest Mughals. His reign has been called the Golden Age of the Mughals and one of the most prosperous ages of Indian civilization. Like Akbar, he was eager to expand his vast empire. In 1658, he fell ill and was confined by his son Emperor Aurangzeb in Agra Fort until his death in 1666. Unlike his father and his grandfather, Shah Jahan was an orthodox and pious Muslim. Upon his accession, he adopted new policies which canonically reversed Akbar's generally liberal treatment of non-Muslims. In 1633, his sixth regnal year, Shah Jahan began to impose Sharia provisions against construction or repair of churches and temples and subsequently ordered the demolitions of newly built Hindu temples. He celebrated Islamic festivals with great pomp and grandeur and with an enthusiasm unfamiliar to his predecessors. Long-dormant royal interest in the Holy Cities also revived during his reign. The period of his reign was the golden age of Mughal architecture. Shah Jahan erected many splendid monuments, the most famous of which is theTaj Mahal at Agra, built in 1632–1648 as a tomb for his beloved wife, Empress Mumtaz Mahal. The Moti Masjid, Agra and many other buildings in Agra, the Red Fort and the Jama Masjid in Delhi, mosques in Lahore, extensions to Lahore Fortand a mosque in Thatta also commemorate him. The famous Takht-e-Taus or the Peacock Throne, said to be worth millions of dollars by modern estimates, also dates from his reign. He was also the founder of the new imperial capital called Shahjahanabad, now known as Old Delhi. Other important buildings of Shah Jahan's rule were the Diwan-i-Am and Diwan-i-Khas in the Red Fort Complex in Delhi and the Moti Masjid in the Lahore Fort. Shah Jahan is also believed to have had a very refined taste in the arts and architecture, and is credited with having commissioned about 999 gardens in Kashmir, his favorite summer residence. A few of these gardens survive, attracting millions of tourists every year.
In 1607, Prince Khurram was engaged to Arjumand Banu Begum - when they were 15 and 14 years old, respectively. The young girl belonged to an illustrious Persian noble family which had been serving Mughal Emperors since the reign of Akbar, the family's patriarch was Itimad-ud-Daulah, who had been Emperor Jahangir's finance minister and his son; Asaf Khan - Arjumand Banu's father - played an important role in the Mughal court, eventually serving as Chief Minister. Her aunt was the Empress Nur Jahan and is thought to have played the matchmaker in arranging the marriage. But for some reason, the Prince was not married to Arjumand Banu Begum for five years, which was an unusually long engagement for the time. However, Shah Jahan married a Hindu princess during this time, whose name has not been recorded by contemporary chroniclers, with whom he had his first child - a daughter – who died in infancy. Politically speaking, the betrothal allowed Prince Khurram to be considered as having officially entered manhood, and he was granted several jagirs, includingHissar-Feroze and ennobled to a military rank of 8,000, which allowed him to take on official functions of state, an important step in establishing his own claim to the throne. In 1612, aged 20, Prince Khurram married Arjumand Banu Begum on an auspicious date chosen by court astrologers. The marriage was a happy one and Prince Khurram, while married to her, remained devoted to her and she bore him fourteen children, out of whom the seven survived into adulthood....
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