Book Title: Shahjahanabad: Mapping a Mughal City
Author: Swapna Liddle
Rarely is one map the subject of a whole book. But this isn’t any ordinary map — it is a plan of Shahjahanabad, the capital of the Mughal Empire, once a thriving centre for arts and culture. It was founded by Shahjahan in the mid-17th century as the empire’s capital at the glorious height of the Mughal dynasty. From this vantage point, it was also witness to the empire’s decline and eventual extinction.
Fortunately, in 1846, a mapmaker painstakingly depicted important buildings, streets and landmarks, providing a wealth of information about the city as it had evolved up to that time. Visually curated by Pramod Kapoor, founder and publisher of Roli Books, and Sneha Pamneja, art director at Roli Books, ‘Shahjahanabad: Mapping a Mughal City’ by Swapna Liddle reproduces this large-scale, beautifully drawn and coloured map as a pullout, besides taking the readers through it neighbourhood by neighbourhood, building by building, street by street.
Liddle says the map is a valuable resource for the study of the city in the first half of the 19th century. From important structures, complexes and spaces to the wall of the city, all have been shown in great detail and are neatly labelled. Interestingly, the picture depicted by the map was drastically altered after the Revolt of 1857. A must-have for anyone interested in cartography and Delhi’s vibrant cultural history.