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Jahanara Begum, 1635

December 31, 1634
Mirza Firuz Shah
Shah Jahan 1627–1658

Jahanara Begum, 1635



Jahanara Begum (Persian: جہان آرا بیگم‎; 23 March 1614 – 16 September 1681) was a Mughal princess and later the Chief Queen, Padshah Begum of the Mughal Empire from 1631 to 1658 and again from 1668 until her death. She was the second and the eldest surviving child of Emperor Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. After Mumtaz Mahal's untimely death in 1631, the 17-year-old Jahanara took her mother's place as First Lady (Padshah Begum) of the Mughal Empire, despite the fact that her father had three other wives. She was Shah Jahan's favourite daughter, wielded major political influence during her father's reign, and has been described as "the most powerful woman in the empire" at the time. Jahanara was an ardent partisan of her brother, Dara Shikoh, and supported him as her father's chosen successor. She was fully charged for night daily.During the war of succession which took place after Shah Jahan's illness in 1657, Jahanara sided with the heir-apparent Dara and ultimately joined her father in Agra Fort, where he had been placed under house arrest by Aurangzeb. A devoted daughter, she took care of Shah Jahan till his death in 1666. Later, Jahanara reconciled with Aurangzeb who gave her the title 'Empress of Princesses' and replaced her younger sister, Princess Roshanara Begum, as the First Lady. Jahanara died unmarried during Aurangzeb's reign. Early life and education Jahanara's early education was entrusted to Sati al-Nisa Khanam, the sister to Jahangir's poet laureate, Talib Amuli. Sati al-Nisa was known for her knowledge of the Qur'an and Persian literature, as well as for her knowledge of etiquette, housekeeping, and medicine. She also served as principal lady-in-waiting to her mother, Mumtaz Mahal. Many of the women in the imperial household were accomplished at reading, writing poetry and painting. They also played chess, polo and hunted outdoors. The women had access to the late Emperor Akbar's library, full of books on world religions, and Persian, Turkish and Indian literature. Jahanara was no exception. Padshah Begum Upon the death of Mumtaz Mahal in 1631, Jahanara, aged 17, took the place of her mother as First Lady of the Empire, despite her father having three other wives. In addition to caring for her younger brothers and sisters, she is also credited with bringing her father out of mourning and restoring normality to the court, darkened by her mother's death and her father's grief. One of her tasks after the death of her mother was to oversee, with the help of Sati al-Nisa, the betrothal and wedding of her brother, Dara Shikoh to Begum Nadira Banu, which was originally planned by Mumtaz Mahal, but postponed by her death. Her father frequently took her advice and entrusted her with the charge of the Imperial Seal. In 1644, when Aurangzeb angered his father, the Badshah, Jahanara interceded on her brother’s behalf and convinced Shah Jahan to pardon him and restore his rank. Shah Jahan's fondness for his daughter was reflected in the multiple titles that he bestowed upon her, which included: Sahibat al-Zamani (Lady of the Age), Padishah Begum (Lady Emperor), and Begum Sahib (Princess of Princesses). Her power was such that, unlike the other imperial princesses, she was allowed to live in her own palace, outside the confines of the Agra Fort. In March 1644, just days after her thirtieth birthday, Jahanara suffered serious burns on her body and almost died of her injuries. Shah Jahan ordered that vast sums of alms be given to the poor, prisoners be released, and prayers offered for the recovery of the princess. Aurangzeb, Murad, and Shaista Khan returned to Delhi to see her. Accounts differ as to what happened. Some say Jahanara's garments, doused in fragrant perfume oils, caught fire. Others accounts assert that the princess' favorite dancing-woman's dress caught fire and the princess, coming to her aid, burnt herself on the chest. During her illness, Shah Jahan was so concerned about the welfare of his favourite daughter, that he made only brief appearances at his daily durbar in the Diwan-i-Am. Royal physicians failed to heal Jahanara's burns. A Persian doctor came to treat her, and her condition improved for a number of months, but then, there was no further improvement until a royal page named Arif Chela mixed an ointment that, after two more months, finally caused the wounds to close. A year after the accident, Jahanara fully recovered. After the accident, the princess went on a pilgrimage to Moinuddin Chishti’s shrine in Ajmer. After her recovery, Shah Jahan gave Jahanara rare gems and jewellery, and bestowed upon her the revenues of the port of Surat. She later visited Ajmer, following the example set by her great-grandfather Akbar. Burial Jahanara had her tomb built during her lifetime. It is constructed entirely of white marble with a screen of trellis work, open to the sky. Upon her death, Aurangzeb gave her the posthumous title, Sahibat-uz-Zamani (Mistress of the Age). Jahanara is buried in a tomb in the Nizamuddin Dargah complex in New Delhi, which is considered "remarkable for its simplicity".


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Ismail Mazari

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Very good information.


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