Indian princess. Name variations: Princess Jahan Ara; Jahanara Begum. Born April 2, 1614, in India; died Sept 6, 1681; eldest dau. of Mumtaz Mahal (c. 1592–1631) and Shah Jahan, Mughal emperor (r. 1628–58); sister of Aurangzeb (1618–1707, Mughal emperor); aunt of Zeb-un-Nissa; never married; no children.
On mother's death (1631), assumed her position as head of the harem; became known to members of the Mughal court as Begum Sahib, her father's uncrowned empress, one of the most powerful women at court; well educated, wrote and commissioned poetry; was involved in the design of the Taj Mahal and commissioned 5 buildings in Shahjahanabad (1650), including Chandni Chowk, the central bazaar; negotiated the weddings of her siblings and was politically active during the War of Succession (1658); tended to her father while he was in captivity; under Aurangzeb's reign, was known as Padisha Begum (Empress of Princesses); wrote a biography of Mu'in al-Din, a Muslim saint (1671); revered in India to this day.