|Anarkali Bazar (market) in Lahore
was named after Anarkali, which was the title given to Nadira Begum, or
Sharf-un-Nisa, one of the favourites of the harem of the Emperor Akbar.
The Emperor had suspicion about Anarkali and one day while seated in an apartment lined with looking glasses and beautiful Anarkali was attending him, he saw from her reflection in the mirror that she returned Prince Salim (afterwards Jahangir) a smile. Suspecting her of a criminal intrigue with his son, the Emperor ordered her to be buried alive. She was accordingly placed in an upright position at the appointed place, and was built round with bricks. Salim felt intense remorse at her death. On assuming sovereign authority, had an immense superstructure raised over her sepulchre. The sarcophagus is made of a block of pure marble of extraordinary beauty and exquisite workmanship.
It is, according to Mr. Eastwich, "one of the finest pieces of carving in the world." On the top are inscribed the 90 attribution of God, and on the sides is engraved the following Persian Couplet, composed by Jahangir, her royal paramour:-
|"Ah! could I behold the face of
my beloved once more, I would give thanks to my God until the day of resurrection."
On the north side of the sarcophagus, below the ninety-nine attributes of the Deity, is the inscription:-
|"The profoundly enamoured
Salim, son of Akbar," Salim being the name of Jahangir when a prince.
The inscription shows how passionately
fond Salim had been of Anarkali, and how deeply her death had grieved him.
It is the spontaneous outcome of a melancholic mind, the irrepressible
outburst of an affectionate heart. The building was used as the Protestant
Church in the eighteenth century, and known as St. James's Church, Anarkali.
When it was about to be utilized as a Church, the body was exhumed and
buried under one of its turrets. The marble sarcophagus, which covered
it beneath the central dome, was at the same time removed, and is now kept
locked up in a side chamber.
The building is circular in shape and roofed with a vast and lofty dome, supported inside by eight massive arches, 12 feet 3 inches thick. It is a masterpiece of solid masonry work of early Moghal period, and is neatly and prettily fitted up. It measures 75 feet, 6 inches from east to west.
In the time of Mughal Emperors, extensive gardens surrounded this imposing mausoleum, and several beautiful buildings were attached to it, but not a vestige of them now remains. The Ravi then flowed under its walls. In the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh it was occupied by Kharak Singh, the heir-apparent, but was subsequently given to M. Ventura, the Italian officer of the Sikh government, who converted it into a private residence.
Today the place is surrounded by shops and the market is called Anarkali Bazar.