On the north side of the courtyard (to the left as you enter) a small door leads to the exquisite little Nagina Masjid (Gem Mosque), made entirely of marble. Capped with three domes and approached from a marble-paved courtyard, it was commissioned by Shah Jahan for the ladies of the zenana (harem). At the rear on the right, a small balcony with beautifully carved lattice screens offers a discreet viewpoint from where members of the harem were able to inspect luxury goods – silks, jewellery and brocade – laid out for sale by merchants in the courtyard below, without themselves being seen.

The raised terrace on the far side of the Macchi Bhavan is adorned by two thrones, one black slate, the other white marble. The white one was used by Shah Jahan, the black one by the future emperor Jahangir to watch elephant fights in the eastern enclosure. It now serves, somewhat less gloriously, as a favoured perch for couples posing for photos against the backdrop of the distant Taj.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

India features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

25 years and 10 editions: The Rough Guide to India over the years

25 years and 10 editions: The Rough Guide to India over the years

It's 25 years since an adventurous quartet of Rough Guides authors set off for the Subcontinent to begin work on researching the inaugural instalment of The Rou…

30 Nov 2016 • Edward Aves insert_drive_file Article
The most romantic places in India

The most romantic places in India

India has to be one of the world's most romantic destinations. Its beguiling mix of ancient forts, pretty palaces, shimmering lakes and gorgeous beaches is boun…

25 Nov 2016 • Freya Godfrey camera_alt Gallery
13 tips for backpacking India

13 tips for backpacking India

Whether you’re hurtling along in a rickshaw, eating fantastic curries, kicking back on the backwaters or hiking in the mountains, backpacking India will alwa…

23 Nov 2016 • Helen Abramson insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month