Photographer's Note

I found this coloured miniature painting in Lahore museum. I converted it to Sepia in Nikon Capture.

Noor Jehan's real name was Mehr-un-Nisaa.

She was first married to a Persian adventurer, Sher Afghan Ali Quli Khan Istajlu in 1594, at 17. They had a daughter, Ladli Begum.

After her husband Sher Afghan was killed in 1607, Mehr-un-Nisaa became a lady-in-waiting to one of the Jehangir's step-mothers.

In march 1611, her fortune took a turn for the better. She met the emperor Jehangir at the palace fair during the spring festival (Norouz).

Jehangir grew so infatuated by her beauty that he proposed immediately and they were married on 25 May of the same year becoming his twentieth wife.

Mehr-un-Nisaa received the name Noor Mahal ("Light of the Palace"), upon her marriage in 1611 and was conferred the title Noor Jahan ("Light of the world") in 1616.

Jehangir's actual name was Noor-ud-din Muhammad, and thus the name that he gave to his wife was his own first name combined with the first part of his regal name.

Through Noor Jahan's influence, her family, including her brother Asaf Khan, consolidated their position at court.

She had no children with Jehangir. So to consolidate her position, she arranged the marriage of her own daughter Ladli Begum to her step-son Shahryar.

The two weddings ensured that one way or another, the influence of Noor Jahan's family would extend over the Mughal Empire for at least another generation.

Jehangir was captured by rebels in 1626 while he was on his way to Kashmir. Noor Jahan intervened to get her husband released. Jehangir was rescued but died on October 28, 1627.

When Jehangir died, Noor Jahan's brother Asaf Khan took the side of his son-in-law Khurrum against his sister.

It was Khurram who became new Mughal emperor under the regal name Shah Jehan.

Noor Jehan died in 1645 and is buried at Shahdara in Lahore, near the tomb of Jehangir.

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