The Shish Mahal (The Glass-Palace)


(1631-40 A.D.)

Hindi Version

This was built by the Mughal King Shahjahan as a Summer Palace. It has two tanks with fountains, interconnected by a canal, and a water fall(Abshar). These water-devices were provided to keep it cool and comfortable in the scorching heat of Agra. The distinctive feature of this palace is the glass-mosaic work which has been done, on a wide variety of stucco designs, on all its walls and ceilings. Glass-pieces have high mirror quality. As the building is made up of thick walls with only a few openings, the semi-dark interior required artificial light, which glittered and twinkled in thousand ways through this glass-work.

It created an ethereal atmosphere. It was not a Hammam. This glass was imported from "Haleb" (Aleppo in Syria) which is why shahjahan’s Historian Lahauri has referred to it as "Shishaye Halebi". Glass mosaic was originally a Byzantine art. Shahjahan built glass palaces also at Lahore and Delhi but this is his finest "Shish-Mahal".