Shahi Hamman and Water Supply System

Shahi Hamman and water supply system

(C. 1570-1658 A.D.)

Hindi Version

The Shahi Hammam, also called Ghusl-Khanah, was originally built by Akbar and was renovated by Shahjehan. It is a closed complex of octagonal halls and rooms, interconnected by corridors, with only a few jali openings on the river-side. The instrument room above the furnaces had two large deghs (pots) of brass and copper. Clay and copper pipes, sunk mysteriously in the masonry walls, were conducted to other rooms some of which also had miniature tanks hidden in corners at dodo-height the secret of this mechanism is not known to us today. Construction is in brick masonry but pavements and dados were originally finished in white marble. Walls were stuccoed and painted. Every room is connected by a hypocaust-system. A ventilator is provided at the apex of each cupola shaped domed ceiling. Some backyard quarters served the purpose of imperial toilet. Its mechanism shows that some sort of air-conditioning was worked and this was mainly used as a summer palace for conducting business of confidential nature. As foreign travellers have observed.

It ranks amont the finest Hammams of the Mughals. There are three deep tanks on its roof. These were filled by the riverwater, drawn by Rehant (water-wheel) near the khizri or water-gate. From these overhead tanks, water was supplied to the fountains, water-falls and tanks of Nagina-Masjid, Machchhi-Bhawan, Shish-Mahal and Muthamman Burj through water-tight clay and copper pipes and open nalis. River water in Mughal times was clean pure and fully potable. King Shahjahan used it for drinking. Aurangzeb besieged the Fort after the battle of Samogarh and stopped its water supply from the river forcing the king to surrender on 8 June, 1658. Thereafter Aurangzeb secured the Fort gates by additional Barbicans.