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Jehangiri Mahal Agra

        Adjoining the Akbari Mahal on the north is the palace known as Jehangir Mahal. With its beautiful brackets, roofs, projecting eaves, carved panels, recesses and pillars it is a wonderful specimen of Mughal architecture. This magnificent palace was built between 1565-69.

The palace measures 261' by 288' externally and has an extremely impressive facade on the western side. The facade, which faces an open court, is composed of an arched portal in the centre which projects forward with two beautiful jharokhas, a series of ornamental arches on either side of the portal and an octagonal tower at each end surmounted by a cupola. The lower portion of the facade is profusely decorated with ornamental arches but the upper portion had series of oblong openings. This storey also has a slanting chhajja over the openings.

The palace has a very complex arrangement of rooms, halls, corridors, galleries and verandahs around a central court. The arched portal leads to a square poli (entrance-hall) of 18'. It has ribs-and-panels vaulted ceiling which is supported on corbelled pendentives shaped as stalactite. A narrow crooked passage leads from the poli to the annexes on the northern and southern side. These annexes which are just behind the facade of the palace are identical in plan. Both of them have beautiful Tibara dalans and side rooms with duchhatti, which opened into a dalan. The square pillars of the dalan are simple and at the same time extremely graceful brackets have been provided to support the exterior chhajja. The passage further leads to the central courtyard, which is almost square in plan and is about 72'. In the court the artisans had adopted a uniform architectural scheme on all its sides. The court built in red sandstone and is composed of a series of beautifully carved brackets supporting chhajja, a whispering gallery with ornamental miniature arched openings in the second storey, series of strut shaped brackets over it supporting a flat chhajja and jalied balustrade crowning each facade with a square chhatri in the middle.

The Assembly Hall, which is situated on the northern side of the court, measures 62'x37'. Even though the hall is single-storeyed yet an additional floor (duchhatti) has been provided in the interior in the form of a hanging balcony. The flat ceiling was divided into several square quarters, which rested on massive beams. They rest conjointly on struts or serpentine brackets, which radiate from the bases of the columns of the hanging balcony. Each strut has a serpentine form emitting from the mouth of the elephant with raised trunk.

The hall on the southern side of the courtyard is smaller in dimension. It has a Ladao or wagon-vaulted ceiling. But the most important feature of this hall is a corridor which rotates on its three side. Inside it has beautifully carved perforated screens. Just adjacent to this hall is a long corridor to the south of which is situated a series of living rooms.

The hall on the western side of the court is richly decorated with carved designs. This hall also has a flat ceiling. The room on the south-western corner of the court has a chaukhandi or pyramidal ceiling. The frieze had a series of ornamental arched niches with fringe of lotus buds, which was also a source of air and light. The room on the north-western corner of the court has a vaulted Padma-Vitana or lotus-ceiling. Here the lotus petals are made up of stone slab.

The rooms located on the eastern side of the courtyard have no carving. Instead it has been beautifully decorated with stucco work with arabesque pattern. Apart from this room some rooms on its southern side as well as some behind it has similar kind of decoration. All these rooms have been constructed in arcuate style with vaults and arches. The portions, which lie on the northern side of palace, are completely ruined.

On the river side the palace has a curtain wall with oblong openings and a part of it has been closed by jalies. The eastern facade has a tibara dalan with a duchhatti composition and an arched portal flanked by series of carved ornamental arches.

The superstructure of the Jehangiri Mahal has many beautiful apartments on the western side. There are two grand pavilions (chaukhandis) which are rectangular in plan & have beautiful pyramidal roof on the eastern side. But the most important architectural feature of the superstructure is the Mayura-Mandapa or the Peacock Hall. This red sandstone building has a open central courtyard. It has a corridor on its three sides and a verandah and hall on its western side. The chhajja in this building are supported on beautifully designed peacock shaped brackets. Each peacock has a serpent in its beak. Thus the peacock brackets add to the beauty of the building and makes it impressive.

In the Jehangiri Mahal we can see extensive use of stone as well as stucco work. The western façade is decorated with geometrical designs inlaid with white marble on a red sandstone background. The white marbles used on the ornamental arches of the wings can be mistaken for ivory. Apart from this, features like perforated screens, brackets, struts and chhajjas add to the aesthetic sense. The palace also contains some traces of painting over stone surfaces in the southern and the eastern halls. Colour embellishment here can be seen in the form of painted stucco work. The southern chambers have beautiful incised work, which is known as gesso work because of the use of gypsum mortar. This kind of decoration was chiefly done on the ceilings. Originally they were gilded with a thick layer of pure gold but later on plunderers scrapped it off.


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