Empress of the Mughal India
Hijri 985-1055 (AH); Common Era 1577–1645 (CE)
Empress Nur Jahan was responsible for the many artistic, architectural, and cultural achievements of the Mughal Dynasty’s Jahangir Era [1013-1037 (AH), 1605-1627 (CE)]. She was of Persian origin, born on a caravan traveling from Teheran to India. Nur’s husband, Emperor Jahangir, was addicted to alcohol and opium, rendering him powerless at decision-making. He relegated all state affairs to her. She controlled all promotions and demotions within the royal government, and even had coins struck in her name, an honor usually reserved for men. She took special interest in the affairs of women, by providing land for women and opportunities for orphan girls. Nur came from a line of poets, and she and encouraged the women of the court to write and share their poetry. Nur designed the Moghul gardens of Kashmir and Agra using a Persian-inspired garden layout with flowing streams and disciplined geometry. She oversaw the construction of her father's mausoleum in Agra where she popularized a marble technique that that was used pervasively in the design of the Taj Mahal. Her tomb in Pakistan, which she designed herself, attracts many visitors with its pleasant walks and picturesque gardens.