The most famous and prominent construction undertaken by Shahjehan Begum was the Taj-Ul-Masjid. When she came to power Bhopal stretched within the fortified limits of Fatehgarh fort towards the west, Sahar-E-Khas towards the east and Bhoja’s fort towards the south. Jehagirabad extension by her father was located across the watery span of Chhota Talab joined to the city by a dyke called Pul Pukhta.
To this she added Shahjehanabad which, unlike most other towns elsewhere in the country during the nineteenth century, was planned and developed by her as a large fortified addition to the existing town. Sultanjehan Begum writes: Her Highness’s love for erecting large buildings and palaces was in no way less than that of her great namesake, the Emperor Shajehan of Delhi. She had three palaces constructed in the mughal style for her personal use.
The names of these palaces were Ali Manzil, Benazir palace and Taj Mahal Palace.
Benazir was the equivalent of the pleasure pavilion in the garden and was essentially built as her summer palace and a place to accommodate state dignitaries. Lord and Lady Minto stayed here during their visit in 1909. Benazir overlooked the expanding landscape to its east and from it the arrangement of the three water bodies could be seen the Motia Talab which was the uppermost, the intermediate Noor Mahal Talab and the lowermost the Munshi Hussain Talab.
The H shaped building enclosed green stepped terraces and gurgling fountains; and a series of steps and plinths descended down to the water. The grounds attached to the palaces were used for ceremonial processions, parades and were also congregation grounds for the subjects. Steps on two sides of the ground provided sitting space for the people during sports. The luxurious ambience and the lacy treatment of the palace is almost akin to the zardozi veil of the burkha that Shajehan Begum so vehemently advocated.