India // Uttar Pradesh //

House of the Turkish Sultana

Diagonally opposite the pachisi board, the House of the Turkish Sultana (or Anup Talao Pavilion) gained its name from the popular belief that it was the residence of one of Akbar’s favourite wives, the Sultana Ruqayya Begum – though this seems unlikely given its location in the centre of the men’s quarters. The name was probably made up by nineteenth-century guides to titillate early tourists, and the building is more likely to have served as a simple pleasure pavilion. Its superbly carved stone walls are covered with a profusion of floral and geometrical designs, plus some partially vandalized animal carvings.

South of here is the Anup Talao (Peerless Pool), a pretty little ornamental pond divided by four walkways connected to a small “island” in the middle – a layout reminiscent of the raised walkways inside the Diwan-i-Khas.