JAUNPUR AND THE SHARQIS
Jaunpur, a township of about 100kn away from Allahabad is home to magnificent palaces and mosques that can take anyone’s breathe away. The story of this town is even more fascinating than the palatial styled homes found in every corner of the city. The city was founded by Feroz Shah Tughlaq in 1359 and was named after his cousin brother, Mohammad Bin Tughlaq, whose real name was Jauna Khan. Jaunpur acquired a central position with the help of a slave who was also a Eunuch, who found the Sharqi Dynasty and made Jaunpur his capital. The Sharqi dynasty (Jaunpur Sultanate) which ruled Jaunpur from 1394-1479, expanded their empire to Etawah in Western Uttar Pradesh to Lakhnauti in the East (Historic Bengal). Under the Sharqi Dynasty, Jaunpur became a strong military zone and developed as a center of Sufi and Urdu studies, along with being revered as a township promoting communal harmony which can be seen in the style of architecture built in the Sharqi Era.
Exquisite styles of architecture promoting communal parity can be seen in the Shahi Qila or the Kerar Kot as it is also known. The Qila was built by the Delhi Sultanate but developed by the Sharqis, who added a fabric of communal harmony in the texture of the building. The fort also houses, Jaunpurs’ oldest mosque, next to which is situated a pillar commemorating the rule of Ibrahim Shah, who was one of the greatest rulers amongst the Sharqis. Another splendid piece of architecture in the city is the Atala Masjid which was built by the Tughlaqs and improved upon by the Sharqis.
Shahi Qila Mosque
Historians have noted a detail about the mosques built by the Sharqis; that they do not have minarets as it can be seen in the Jhinjhiri Masjid and the Lal Darwaza Masjid.
Lal Darwaza Masjid
The largest mosque in Jaunpur is the Jama Masjid or the Badi Masjid. In the proximity of the Masjid, lie buried all the scions of the Sharqi dynasty and their nobles.
The city of Jaunpur was eventually sacked by Sikander Lodi, which led to the fall of the Sharqis. After the Sharqis, the city never regained its charm, but it came to be remembered by all rulers who laid their claims on nearby territories. Under the Mughals, Jaunpur was given the title of Shiraz-e-hind by Shah Jahan, who compared the city Shiraz, which was the capital of Iran.