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The Shraqi Architecture of Jaunpur and Zafrabad.

Shraqi Architecture is unique in many ways. Two things continued to make Sharqi architecture pre-eminent. One was the assiduous patro...

Shraqi Architecture is unique in many ways. Two things continued to make Sharqi architecture pre-eminent. One was the assiduous patronage of the Sharqi rulers, and the other the deep artistic traditions of the local inhabitants. The Sharqis employed local artisans, who were Jain and Hindu, and who grafted their own rich traditions upon the Muslim ones. After the fall of the Tughluqs and the invasion of Timur at Delhi, the building operations came to a standstill. Delhi artisans were invited to take service in the rising provincial centres, especially Jaunpur, where the patronage of the rulers, as has already been said, also attracted and encouraged them. “The Kings of the East” (Sharqi) built many magnificent mosques, forts, palaces, madrasas, shrines and tombs in different parts of their kingdom. They rebuilt and founded new cities, and adorned hem with beautiful buildings of the kinds. In comparison, the architecture of the Delhi kingdom during the same period is represented only by the tombs of Mubarak Sayyid (1421-34) at Delhi, and by those of ‘Ala-u’d-din ‘Alam (1445-78) and his family at Bada’un.

when Sultan-ush-Sharq Malik Sarwar came to Jaunpur, the city had only few buildings erected decades before by orders of Sultan Firuz, i.e., the founder of Jaunpur. Even the fort, including its mosque, was not complete. Sultan-ush-Sharq had no proper residence even for himself. To provide himself with an official residence, he added some buildings to the Jaunpur Fort. He also repaired and re-designed the old palace of Vijaya Chandra and re-named it Badi Manzal (The wonderful house). And when his hands were free from the suppression of local rebellions, he turned to the construction of the city, which was further enlarged, remodelled and re-named ad Dar-u’l-Surur (The Abode of bliss). To improve the conditions of the agricultural class, he dug canals in various parts of his country.

The reign of his adopted son, Sultan Mubarak Shah Sharqi, was mostly spent in wars against Delhi, and thus, architecturally, he could not do much except to make some additions to the development of the capital city. But his successor, Sultan Ibrahim Sharqi, was the greatest patron of art and culture of his period. His bounty attracted scholars, saints, artists, and artisans, not only from the different parts f the sub-continent, but also from foreign lans. He further enlarged the capital city of Jaunpur and adorned it with splendid mosques, madrasas, palaces, libraries, bazars, tombs,and shrines. he also built and repaired forts at important towns. He also dug ba’oils (vast circular ells) and other wells, and made bridges and laid gardens for the welfare of his subjects.

His successor, Sultan Mahmud Sharqi, was equally cultured. though much of his time was taken up in waging wars against the neighbouring Hindu princes and chiefs, he built many mosques, some of which are still in existence at Jaunpur as well as in other parts of his kingdom. His Queen, Bibi Raji, a princess of the ruling Sayyied family of Delhi was, like her husband, very cultured and religious-minded. While her husband spent most of his time in holy wars, she not only administered the while country in his absence, but also took an interest in many cultural and architectural activities. She built mosques, madrasas, palaces and bridges for the welfare of her subjects.

The short reign of Sultan Mahmud Sharqi’s successor, Muhammad Sharqi, was mostly spent in war with Bahlul Lodi. He was killed in his struggle for the throne near Dalmau, where his tomb still stands. His successor, Sultan Husain Sharqi, was a liberal-minded prince and, like his father, Sultan Ibrahim Sharqi, had a rich taste in architecture. Despite his life-long wars with the Lodis, Sultan Husain Sharqi found time to create some memorable works. He constructed many mosques, madrasas, shrines and tombs in Jaunpur as well as in other parts of his Empire. He also repaired and rebuilt forts and fortresses throughout his kingdom for the security of his kingdom. he also founded new cities and rebuilt old ones re-naming them for himself. Among all the new and old cities, which the Sharqi Sultans founded and rebuilt, Zafarabad and Jaunpur are pre-eminent. In the following pages the story of the two cities and their main buildings as well as other monuments of the Sharqis in different parts of their kingdom is told.


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Voice of the Jaunpur: The Shraqi Architecture of Jaunpur and Zafrabad.
The Shraqi Architecture of Jaunpur and Zafrabad.
Voice of the Jaunpur
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