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Diwan-i-am Agra 

Shah Jehan dismantled many buildings constructed by his predecessors to make room for his own marble pavilions. One of his earliest ventures was the construction of the Diwan-i-Am or Hall of Public Audience within the Agra Fort. This building was constructed between 1631-40. The Diwan-i-Am is situated very close to the Machchhi Bhawan. It is believed that from here Shah Jehan addressed the general public as well as the nobility.

The Diwan-i-Am or Hall of Public Audience measures 201’ by 67’. It has two majestic arched gateways of red sandstone on the northern as well as on the southern side. This flat roofed rectangular assembly hall is open on three sides. The faηade is composed of an arcade with nine bold arches supported on strong double columns. The chhajja around the building is supported on brackets. In the interior the hall is divided into three aisles. The arches here represent the perfect form of the engrailed type. This is constructed in red sandstone, but is covered with a highly burnished plaster, which looks like white marble. On the eastern wall of the assembly hall is a richly decorated raised rectangular chamber that served as a jharokha from which the sovereign presented himself to those assembled in the hall. This has three arched opening. This portion is constructed in marble and is richly inlaid with precious stones. 

View of Diwan-i -Am

 

View of the Throne Room of the emperor at Diwan-i -Am.

This was known as the ‘Throne Room’ or ‘Takht-i-Murassa’ of the emperor. The room was connected to the royal apartments beyond and sometimes the royal ladies viewed the ceremonials of the Diwan-i-Am through the perforated marble windows on the right and left of the throne room of the emperor. Below this room is a large four legged marble dias 1’18” high. Locally known as the ‘Baithak’ it is said to have been used by the Wazir when presenting petitions to the emperor. It is believed inside the hall there were silver balustrades which allowed the nobility to stand according to their ranks.

Even though the building was constructed in red sandstone, but the whole building was overlaid with white shell plaster to give the effect of white marble. Originally the outlines of the columns and the spandrels were done in gold and they harmonized well with the white plaster over red sandstone. The throne chamber of the emperor in the middle of the eastern wall decorated with trefoil shaped arches, sunk niches and inlaid marble work adds to the beauty of the assembly hall.

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