Hiran Minar

Hiran Minar

The 30 meters high Hiran Minar in Sheikhupura was built in 1606 to honor the memory of Mansraj, the favorite pet deer of the 4th Mughal emperor Jahangir (Prince Saleem). During the reign of Emperor Jahangir from 1605 to 1627, Sheikhupura had the status of a royal hunting ground as the Mughal rulers were fond of hunting. The monument is still in good condition and serves as a great tourist attraction.

Sheikhupura, once called Jahangirabad, derived its name from the term Sheikhu, the nickname of Emperor Jahangir.  The modern day Sheikhupura is about 40 kilometers northwest of the provincial capital Lahore and Hiran Minar is situated about 9km west of Sheikhupura.

Hiran Minar basically refers to a complex comprising the monument itself and the eastward octagonal two-storeyed structure, having an open pavilion on the top, called Daulat khana or bara-dari (of twelve doors) located in the very middle of the rectangular water tank. Both the daulat khana and the tank were added in 1607 and 1620 respectively. (The term baradari is a misnomer in a sense as a baradari is essentially a structure with 12 openings, while daulat-khana has only eight, being an octagon with only one opening on each side.)

Daulat khana was used as a royal retreat by the emperor and is reachable by means of a bridge extending westwards the tower. The ground story of Daulat Khana can be accessed from the four main sides leading to the smaller square rooms which further leads to the king’s chamber. This chamber is located in the very middle surrounded by eight subordinate rooms. Four of the eight rooms are square in shape and smaller in size while other four rooms are octagonal in shape and are comparatively larger in size. All rooms have access to the central King’s chamber as well as with each other.

The water tank surrounding Daulat Khana has small pavilions featuring pyramidal roofs with entrances on four sides. The center of each side of the tank has shallow brick-ramps that allowed wildlife in the hunting park easy access to the water. The water level was maintained using a series of channels and catchment basins leading to the site.

The actual consequences leading Mughal Emperor Jahangir to order build a tower and a grave for his beloved deer was that he accidently killed Minseraj when he spotted a deer he tried to kill in the area where Hiran Minar was later built. The emperor becomes so sad that he ordered to bury deer in the ground where it died and build a tower called Hiran Minar. After the death of Mansraj, this hunting ground was changed into a protected sanctuary and hunting was prohibited. This is a very rare example of love towards a pet, a sign of love for wildlife in a time when the rest of the world was not even familiar with such intent.

Author: m@lam

1 thought on “Hiran Minar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *