Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan and Maharana Karan Singh of Mewar - their geniality and friendship

Jag Mandir Palac on Lake Pichola,
Among the beautiful palaces of India, Jag Mandir`, Udaipur is a unique one. Not only is it known for the fine architecture but also for its history. This palace that once served as the summer resort for the royal family of Sisodia Rajput ruling class bears testimony to the lasting friendship and cordial relationship 
the Mewar rulers had with the Mogul rulers, in particular, between Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan, the builder of the world famous Taj Mahal  and Maharana Karan Singh. The hospitality shown by Karan Singh to the Mogul prince and, by the same token, the act of  indebtedness on the part of the Mogul prince when he became the emperor are simply exemplary and and these past rulers stand as  good role models to our politicians who spend much of their time indulging in revelry, tit-for-tat and mudslinging.  

"A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is 
an expression of humility. It is a foundation for 
the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being".                .............James E. Faust

Emperor Shah Jahan. Eternal Mewar

 Jag Mandir, also known as  the "Lake Garden Palace"is  a historical and fascinating palace ingeniously built on an island in the picturesque Lake Pichola in Udaipur city, Rajasthan. It took a long period to complete this big and well embellished palace. The construction work lasted three generations,  actively involving three Maharanas of the Sisodia Rajputs of Mewar kingdom.  Maharana Amar Singh, started the construction work in 1551, followed  by his son Maharana Karan Singh (1620–1628) and it was finally completed by Maharana Jagat Singh I (1628–1652). It is called   "Jagat Mandir" in honour of the last ruler of Mewar Maharana Jagat Singh.

That this amazing palace has had close links with the Mogul dynasty, may surprise you. If you go as far back as 1600s, in his youthful days,  Prince Khurram (later came to be known as Emperor Shah Jahan) had a row with his father Emperor  Jehangir  who was ill-advised about Prince Khurram  over successor to the throne. In 1663 Khurram's revolt infuriated his father and he wanted to reprimand him. Anticipating danger to his life by his father's advisor as a result of his keen desire to ascend the throne, Khurram  sought the help of the then Maharana Karan Singh and took refuge in his kingdom. Incidentally, Khurram's mother happened to be a Rajput princess`. The Maharana gave him full protection and mad him reside in the City Palace (Delwada Ki Haveli) along with his wife Mumtaz Mahal and his two young sons, Prince Dara and Prince Aurangzeb before shifting 

Gul Mahal on lake Pichola, Udaipur
Above image: It was at Gul Mahal on the lake Pichola (now part of Jag mandir palace), Prince Khurram (later became Emperor Shah Jahan) stayed with his family when he was exiled by his father Jahangir. The beautiful cupola, fine flooring and inlay work inspired Shah Jahan to build a structure grand in style. The result was the Taj Mahal at Agra, 
a mausoleum in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal ............ 

them to Gul Mahal in the midst of a lake that was first built in 1551. Later Karan Singh built it as  a domed pavilion for Prince Khurram  for his comfortable stay there. (It was later enlarged by his son Jagat Singh). This isolated place gave the Mogul prince and his family a safer place to live during the troubled time than the other one they stayed before. Khurram remained under Mewar's protection during 1623–1624. Maharana Karan Singh' son Jagat Singh  converted it into a huge palace and named as the Jag Mandir palace. 

Maharana Karan Singh.

It is a paradox to note that Karan Singh showed his hospitality to Mogul prince who once defeated his father Maharana Amar Singh in a battle in 1614 and part of his land was annexed by the mogul dynasty. However,  Karan Singh became an envoy in the Mogul court  and over a period of time there developed a close, cordial and lasting relationship between the prince and Karan Singh. Kurram took him into confidence and discussed matters related to succession to the throne  and the problem he had among the royal members. At last, when serious rivalry  cropped up between him and the ruler, Khurram was forced to live in exile and  took refuge in Karan's palace.  

Jag Mandir Palac on Lake Pichola, Udaipur. The History Hub

Congenial situation developed in the Mogul household, in the wake of Khurram sending his sons Dara and Aurangzeb to the Mogul court as hostages. His father became subdued and made a compromise.  Following the death of Jahangir in 1627, Prince Khurram ascended the Mogul throne and then came to be called Emperor Shah Jahan. In fact when he was in Badal Mahal at Udaipur, he was made the heir to the Mogul throne.

As a sign of respect Karan Singh and Khurram exchanged their turbans. Further, to express his  gratitude to the Mewar ruler for his timely help during his predicament and turbulent period,  Khurram not only restored six districts to the Mewar kingdom, which had been earlier annexed by the Moguls but also presented a unique ruby jewel to Jagat Singh, son of Rana Karan Singh. Upon  Karan Singh's death in 1628, Jagat Singh (1628–1652) became the ruler of Mewar  and was instrumental for making many additions to the Gul Mahal that was renamed  the Jag Mandir, after himself. Actually Gul Mahal is part of Jag Mandir.

Though cordial relationship had been in place between Mewar ruler and Mogul rulers, occasionally there were threats from Aurangzeb. However, the Mewar kingdom faced  real and formidable threats  from the Marathas who caused considerable damage to the kingdom. This forced Mewar to have a military alliance with the East India company under  "Treaty of Paramountcy" that envisaged  restoration of all the hereditary territories and protecting the state from any future invasions, This ultimately led to the restoration of glory and pride of Sisodia Rajput dynasty of Mewar. 

Shah Jahan's sojourn in Gul Mahal gave him immense inspiration to construct the most beautiful and  richly embellished  structure called the Taj Mahal. Jag Mandir's (Gul Mahal) intricate inlay work, impressive dome and artistically designed interiors impressed him so much that he developed a keen interest in
building richly and tastefully decorated structure that will make him an immortal figure.