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Jilaukhana (Forecourt)
Jilaukhana (Forecourt) - Taj Mahal India

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Jilaukhana (Forecourt) - Taj Mahal India
The east and the west gates are commonly used by the tourists rather than the gate on the south through the caravanserai and bazaar once situated. The east gate “Fatehabadi Darwaza” and the west gate “Fatehpuri Darwaza” are of red sandstone and both alike with the rectangular framed arch, outer facades topped with two pinnacles while the inner facades are more impressing with a central arch enriched with two tiers of niches. The difference between the inner and the outer sides reveals the fact of architectural hierarchy as the inner side’s being closer to the mausoleum.

The longer south gate “Sirhi Darwaza” is also similar to the others. The gate is higher than the level of the forecourt due to the slope and, therefore, is reached with number of stairs. The outer part connects the Taj Ganj section also with stairs which are plus one-meter higher.

The two bazaar streets start from the gates on the west and the east to the Jilaukhana. The rows of small, sandstone non-connected rooms without windows open to an arcaded veranda. The Shahjahani styled columns of the arcades are topped with multi-cusped arches and finished with roof-like slabs. The streets were functioned as the shopping places for souvenirs until 1996.

The Jilaukhana, meaning “in front of the house”, was a gathering point of the tomb visitors and a ceremonial place hosted the first death anniversary of Mumtaz Mahal.

The two gates on the north and south open to the large courtyard functioning necessarily as the dismounting place of the visitors. The 128 rooms surround the courtyard. The area was restored between the years 1900-1908 with the order of Lord Curzon. The two quarters of the tomb attendants namely “Khawasspuras” on the north and the two tomb complexes “Saheli Burj” on the south are located in the courtyard.
• Khawasspuras were the residential place of the people looking after the tombs and the Qur’an memorisers. The south and the north wings are similarly constructed with continuous rooms completed by the long verandas like the ones in bazaar streets. After the restorations of Lord Curzon in 1900-1908, the western khawasspura was functioned as “Fatehpuri Gate Courtyard”, while the eastern part “Gaushala” takes the name of “Fatehabad Gate Courtyard” and is used as cow stables until 2003.

Today, both courtyards are functioning as the new Visitor Centre.

• Shali Burj (the inner subsidiary tombs) is located on the south and includes the tombs of Shah Jahan’s other wives. Meaning as the “tower of the female friend” the four imperial women’s tombs include the tomb of Akrabarabadi Mahal located on the west, one of Shah Jahan’s favourite consort in his last reign. She died in 1677. The one on the east is of “Sirhindi Mahal” and the other tombs are questionably belonging to Fatehpuri Mahal and Aberabadee Begum.

The red sandstone, single-storey octagonal tombs are surrounded by verandas that of each side include three multi-cusped arches stand on Shahjahani columns and are finished with white marble domes. Contrastingly to the mausoleum the domes were not decorated. The only difference between the two complexes is the decoration of the cenotaphs. The cenotaph of Akrabarabadi Mahal’s was ornamented with floral decoration, emphasising her importance, unfortunately most of the stones were destroyed. The inner style of the tombs reveal the construction was along the last phase of the Taj Mahal

Jilaukhana (Forecourt) - Taj Mahal



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