When Mughal King Aurangzeb celebrated his birthday in Germany!

The occasion is one of the most powerful and feared Mughal King, Aurangzeb's, birthday and a huge durbar is organised in Delhi so that all the neighbouring kings could visit and pay their regards and gifts. The splendour of the moment can take you back in time when India was known as 'sone ki chidiya' or The Golden Bird, and no matter what you thought about Aurangzeb, his birthday celebrations are bound to leave an impression.

But wait, this doesn't quite look like Delhi, and I haven't gone back in time in a Time Machine! Moreover, I thought I was in Germany in the capital city of King Augustus the Strong, and was supposed to be exploring the baroque architecture of the city. So what's going on?

Aurangzeb mughal king green vault dresden germany
Aurangzeb in Dresden 

Well I am inside the mythical Green Vault of Dresden which houses the largest collection of treasures in the whole of Europe. It was founded all the way back in 1723 by Augustus the strong, and since then it has expanded both in size and riches. The vault was completely decimated in the bombing of Dresden in 1945, though it's riches were hidden away in another fortress. These were then confiscated by the Red Army and taken to Russia, and were returned only much later. 2004 onwards most of these treasures have been on display at the museum.

Aurangzeb mughal king green vault dresden germany
The court of Aurangzeb
Aurangzeb mughal king green vault dresden germany
Impeccable detailing with jewels and other valuables 

Housed within the Green Vault is one of it's most prized possession - a miniature representation of the Mughal Durbar celebrating Aurangzeb's birthday. It represents Europe's idea of what the rich Mughal court looked like, and to my naive eyes, it looked quite an excellent representation of what India might have been back then.

Read more: Europe's forgotten treasure chest

This masterpiece comprises 4,909 diamonds, 164 emeralds, 160 rubies, a sapphire, 16 pearls and two cameos and was made by the Dinglinger goldsmith family between 1701 and 1708. Augustus the Strong spent almost 60,000 talers currency back then) for it, more than he did for the construction of his mighty Moritzburg Castle, which his quite an amazing feat in itself.

Aurangzeb mughal king green vault dresden germany
Other visiting kings coming with gifts for Aurangzeb
Aurangzeb mughal king green vault dresden germany
Awe-inspiring detailing! 

Practical details to visit

Here are the details in case you want to visit the Green Vault in Dresden.

Opening hours
New Green Vault and Historic Green Vault
10 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed Tuesdays

Admission Fees
Ticket Historic Green Vault
admission fee: 12,00 Euro, incl. audioguide
children until 17 years: free

VIP-Ticket Historic Green Vault
admission fee: 20,00 Euro

Admission into the Historic Green Vault without fixed time.
Valid on all opening days of the Historic Green Vault (closed on Tuesdays).

Evening Ticket Green Vault 
admission fee: 15,00 Euro

Comments

  1. Superb sir ji ... it's look like a festival ... thq...

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Madhu! I am sure it used to be a festival back then also, especially in India :)

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  2. Hey,
    Just wanted to reach out to say “thanks” for publishing such a great and inspiring article.

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  3. Wow! This is such a great place Sid! I'm really fascinated by the richness of this exhibit. I have always had this imagination about the grandeur of Mughal kings and it kinda resonated in my head :) A great, surprising story!

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    Replies
    1. Likewise. I was also really impressed by the grandeur of the place :)

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  4. Interesting. Well written. This explain why Germany was not interested in India early years. ;-)

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    1. Haha...not sure if it explains that. But Germany was fascinated by the East, especially China and also India.

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  5. Quite an addition to the historical bend of mind!

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    1. This is so wrong, Aurangzeb was the most modest and simple king among Moguls, he never took money for his expenditure from Central funds and he used to stich clothes and write books for his living,other Moguls might have had such things but I don't think Aurangzeb had any such bday celebrations

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  6. Really love the way you narrate stories.... keep up the good work

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