KANCH MAHAL, SIKANDRA, AGRA, UTTAR PRADESH
December 31, 1604
Mirza Firuz Shah
Architectural and Building
Kanch Mahal is set near Akbar's Tomb at Sikandara. The beautiful square monument showcases Mughal domestic architecture at its best. One can still see the remnants of the Charbagh with its causeways, water channels and tanks, where it was situated. According to the belief, it was used formerly as a Mahal or Rpyal Ladies' Resort and then as the royal Shikargah (Hunting Lodge) by Jehangir. Built sometime between 1605 -19, it is now in ruins. Previously, it was under the Church Missionary Society but now Department of Archaeology looks after it. The two storeyed mansion has a central square hall roofed by a vaulted soffit. Four square rooms with two openings for ventilation are situated in the four corners of the building. These rooms also have opening on two sides for the purpose of ventilation. The octagonal double pillars on the raised plinth on two sides of the hall serve the purpose of a pedestal for the piers on the second storey. The use of jharokhas and gaukhs (balconies) are not merely adornments of the various rooms but make the floor airy and open. There were two identical facades to the north and south of the building. Only northern façade with a massive central portal about the height of the building has now survived. It has elaborately carved lotus bud and fringes. Similarly facades to the east and west were identical. Brick masonry was used in the building, which was plastered and then painted inside while finely carved red sandstone was used outside. Carving has been extensively used throughout the building; chief patterns being sunkniches containing wine-vases, circular niche containing a full-blown lotus, floral creepers, arabesque work and geometrical designs. The inlaid mosaic work and glazed blue, green and orange tiles on the friezes and roofs have also been used gracefully to beautify the building. It was this tile work that lend the name of Kanch Mahal to the place.
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Shah Sharaf Barlas