Introduction by FWP

Even more than usual, for this text I've been only a kind of *dallal*. The raw material was the excellently proofread electronic version provided by *Project Gutenberg* (text #12006). The original printed version of the handbook had thirteen illustrations and four plans:

List of Illustrations
The Taj Mahal
Plate I. A State Document with Shah Jahan's "Royal Hand and Seal"
Plate II. Shah Jahan, From an Old Indian Miniature
Plate III. The Inner Delhi Gate, or Hathi Pol, Agra Fort
Plate IV. Marble Balcony, Overlooking the Inner Mîna Bazar, Agra Fort
Plate V. The Samman Burj, Agra Fort
Plate VI. Inner Courtyard of the Jahangiri Mahal, Agra Fort
Plate VII. Marble Screen Enclosing the Tombs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan
Plate VIII. Itmâd-ud-daulah's Tomb, Agra
Plate IX. Interior of the Upper Pavilion, Itmâd-ud-daulah's Tomb
Plate X. Marble Sarcophagus on the Upper Story of Akbar's Tomb, Sikandra
Plate XI. Interior of The Dîwan-i-Khâs, Fatehpur Sikri
Plate XII. Rajah Birbal's Daughter's House, Fatehpur Sikri
Plate XIII. The Baland Darwaza, Fatehpur Sikri

Agra Fort. Plan of the Palaces
Fatehpur Sikri. Plan Showing the Position of the Buildings
Fatehpur Sikri. Plan Showing the Walls and Gates
Fatehpur Sikri. Plan of Jodh Bai's Palace

These were all absent from the Project Gutenberg version, which of course gave me the obvious idea of replacing them with far more abundant and lavish online images. So that's what I've done. Above all, the images to which I've linked are the huge, magnificent ones provided by a wonderful "artserve" site at *ANU* (*ANU's main India index page*). But you'll find others too-- in fact, all the worthwhile ones that I know about.

This guidebook, over a century old now, has some errors in it, and also some old-fashioned, black-and-white views of the various Mughal emperors, and so on. So why bother with it? Partly because it's a good overview for general interest, and partly because it describes the sites as they looked in the 1890's, with the aftermath of the Rebellion of 1857 still very apparent. Using it reminds us that all such guidebooks, like all texts, are themselves situated in time and space, and share the perspectives of their writers. If we have to read this book with a bit of caution, that's a healthy reminder that we have to read our own generation's guidebooks with caution too.

The editing I've performed has been very minor. All material in square brackets is mine. A very few long paragraphs have been broken in half; a few typos have been corrected; punctuation has been corrected here and there and adjusted for clarity. The author has ostentatiously used diacritics: those that he does give are basically accurate (except in one case that I've fixed)-- but alas, those that he doesn't give are so numerous as to make the whole system almost useless. I've left his diacritics there just for simplicity's sake, but please don't take them as a complete or scholarly effort. It's possible that the author knew Urdu and simply did a poor job, but my guess is that he didn't, but was trying conscientiously (though haphazardly) to acquire them from other sources.

Fran Pritchett
September 2005


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