Architecture During Mughal Period

Architecture During Mughal Period
Mughal Architecture

Similar to literature and religion, the Mughal period was not an era of complete innovation and renaissance, but was an extension and culmination of processes that began in the last Ottoman-Afghan era. In fact, the art after 1526 AD is a mixture of Muslim and Hindu art traditions and elements similar to the art of its earlier era.

All the early Mughal emperors of India were great builders except Aurangzeb, whose religious fanaticism could not harmonize with the nurturing of the arts. Although Babar’s Indian reign was short, he could take the time to criticize the building art of Hindustan in his memoir (autobiography) and to consider it for building. It is said that he invited the disciples of the famous building builder of Albania, Sinan from Kustuntunia, to build mosques and other monuments in India. It is highly unlikely that this proposal ever results, writes Mr. Swee Brown; Because if any member of that famous school would have worked with the Mughals, signs of Byzantine style influence would be seen, but there is no such sign. Babur restored the Indian kingships for the construction of his buildings. He himself writes in his memoirs that six hundred and eighty laborers worked in his buildings in Agra and about fifteen hundred laborers daily in his buildings in Sikri, Biyana, Dholpur, Gwalior and Kiul. Large buildings of Babur have completely disappeared. Three small buildings are surviving. Among them is a memorial mosque at Kabuli Bagh in Panipat (1526); Secondly, there is Jami Masjid (1526) in Rohilkhand at a place called Sambhal and third, there is a mosque within the old Lodi Fort in Agra.

There are only two buildings left in the half-century of the reign of the fortunate Emperor Humayun. There is a building mosque in Agra. The second building is a large and well-proportioned mosque at Fatehabad in Hisar district of East Punjab, which was built in about 1540 AD with the decoration of Persian-style enamelled tiles. Here we must remember that this Persian, but not Mongol, method was first introduced in India by Humayun; It was already present in the Bahmani kingdom in the late fifteenth century.

The short reign of Sher-Shah, an Indo-Afghan revivalist, is an era of solstice in the history of Indian building construction. The capital, surrounded by the walls in Delhi planned by him, which could not be completed due to his untimely death, the two surviving gates and the fortress called Purana Qila were more sophisticated and artistically ornamented than the existing building system for some time- Display the method. The mosque named Qila-i-Kuhna, which was built within the walls in 1545 AD, should be given a high place among the buildings of northern India due to its bright architectural qualities. Sher Shah’s tomb, which is built on a high platform in the middle of a pond at Sahasram in Shahabad district of Bihar, is a marvel of Indian Muslim construction art in both size and splendor and displays a delightful blend of Hindu and Muslim architectural ideas. . Thus, not only in governance but also in culture and art, the great Afghans paved the way for the great Mughal Akbar.
Mughal Architecture


During the reign of Akbar there was a wonderful development in the art of building. The emperor obtained complete knowledge of every detailed description of art with its earlier completeness and accepted artistic ideas by various means with a generous and co-ordinate mind. These artistic ideas were practically given by skilled craftsmen, whom Akbar had gathered around him. Abul Fazl rightly states that his king planned luxurious buildings and dressed his mind and heart in stone and clay. Ferguson rightly said that Fatehpur Sikri was a reflection of the brain of a great man.

Akbar’s activism was not only limited to the masterpieces of architecture, but he also built some forts, village houses, minarets, inns, schools, ponds and wells. His mother was born into a Persian Sheikh family of Jam, from which he inherited Persian ideas and he still clung to them. Nevertheless, due to his tolerance towards Hindus, sympathy with his culture and policy of doing them in his favor, he dealt with Hindu styles of architecture in many of his buildings. The decoration features of these buildings are simulations of the decoration found in Hindu and Jain temples. Its expression can be seen in the following works of art – in the Jahangiri Mahal inside the Agra Fort, which has square pillars and peaks in the form of support and built on the Hindu style, (of stone or bricks) from here to zero, small arches. There are leaves; Fatehpur Sikri, which was the royal capital from 1569 to 1584 AD, in many buildings and fort of Lahore. The plan on the ground floor of the tomb is Indian, until Humayun’s famous mausoleum in Old Delhi, which was built in the beginning of 1569 AD and is generally thought to exhibit the influences of Zoroastrian art. The free use of white marble on the exterior of the building is Indian and the decoration of colorful tiles, which Parsi builders used to treat so much, is absent. Fatehpur Sikri has one of the most magnificent buildings of the emperor – the palace of Jodha Bai and two other living buildings which were built by some people for the residence of his queens; Diwane-mango, which was of the Hindu style, with a verandah roof protruding on the pillar; Stunning Deewane-Khas, which was distinctly Indian in planning, design and ornamentation; The marble mosque called the Jami Masjid, described by Ferguson as a romantic tale in stone; The Buland Darwaza, which is at the southern gate of the mosque and the monument of Akbar’s Gujarat-conquest, is built of marble and sandstone, and the Panchmahal, which was of five pyramid-shaped palaces and that of Indian Buddhist viharas, until now. In some parts, the plan was current. Two other notable buildings of that era – the palace palace of forty columns in Allahabad and the tomb of Akbar in Sikandra. The palace of Allahabad, which took forty years to build, according to William Pinch’s article and employed five thousand to twenty thousand laborers of different classes, is definitely of Indian style and has an outside porch roof based on rows of Hindu columns. . In the massive structure of Akbar’s mausoleum at Sikandra, planned during the lifetime of the emperor, but built between 1605 and 1613, there are five platforms, with a vaulted ceiling to the topmost palace of white marble. The growth decreases one after the other and it is understood that the idea of ​​building a central dome was placed on the monument. The Indian Dhaba of this building was inspired by the Buddhist viharas of India and possibly also by the Khmer architecture prevalent in Cochin-China.

During Jahangir’s reign, keeping in mind the architectural work of his father, very few buildings were built, but the two buildings of his time are of special attraction. One is the tomb of Akbar, whose special features have been discussed earlier. The second is the tomb of Itimaduddaula in Agra, which was built by his daughter and Begum Noor Jahan of Jahangir. This tomb was made of bright white marble and was adorned with low-value stones studded in marble. An earlier specimen of this work is found in the Golamandal temple of Udaipur (from 1600 AD). Hence it was a Rajput style or possibly an old Indian style.

Shah Jahan was a very big producer. Due to this, many buildings, palaces, forts, gardens and mosques are found in Agra, Delhi, Lahore, Kabul, Kashmir, Kandahar, Ajmer, Ahmedabad, Mukhalispur and other places. Although it is not possible to estimate the expenditure incurred on these buildings, there is no doubt that several dozen crores of rupees would have been spent on them. Shah Jahan’s buildings are shiny and inferior in originality compared to Akbar’s buildings, but they are enhanced in highly expensive display and rich and skillful decoration, making Shah Jahan’s architecture a more elaborate art of decorating jewels. . This can be seen especially in its buildings like Diwane-Mango and Diwane-Khas.

The Taj Mahal, a magnificent mausoleum built by Shah Jahan on the tomb of his beloved wife Mumtazmahal, which cost 50 lakh rupees at that time, is rightly considered a wonder of the world for its beauty and splendor. Smith’s idea of ​​the Taj’s planners and the artisans who built it is a product of a mix of European and Asian talent. But Moinuddin Ahmad has objected to this and he gives us reasoned arguments to make us believe that Italian or French architects had no hand in the planning or construction of this great monument of married love. They attribute its plan to Ustad Isa. Students of Indian art should not forget some things while studying Taj. Firstly, its plan and major features were not entirely new, as from the tomb of the lion to the tomb of Humayun and the monuments of Bijapur, the style is easily visible. Even the work of embroideries in marble and other stones and the art of inlaying precious stones in marble was already present in Western India and Rajput art. Secondly, the abundant use of white marble and some decorations of the Indian style suggest that Shah Jahan’s buildings did not have as much of a Parsi influence as is commonly thought. Third, in view of India’s connection with the western Mediterranean region, especially in the Mughal period, it would not be historically inconsistent to believe that some elements of the art of the western world were influenced by the art of India in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. And then some European manufacturers existed in different parts of India.

Jahangir’s tomb, built by Shah Jahan at the beginning in Shahdara in Lahore, though not as famous as the Taj, is a beautiful piece of art. The second famous art work of this reign was the Peacock Throne (Takht-Taus). The throne was in the form of a bed on golden legs. The enamelled canopy was based on twelve columns. There were two peacocks studded with gems on each pillar. Each pair was a tree covered with diamonds, pages, red beads and beads among the birds. Nadirshah took this throne to Persia in 1739 AD, but unfortunately now it is nowhere in this world.

During the reign of Aurangzeb, the style of building-building began to decline. This staunch emperor was directly against the art of building, so unlike his predecessors, he stopped promoting it or even building buildings. Whatever the buildings of his reign, the most important of which was the Lahore Mosque, which was completed in 1674 AD, are only weak copies of the old order. The creative talent of the early Indian artists mostly disappeared and remained in Awadh and Hyderabad in the early eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.


Babur built Arambagh in Agra. Many gardens were planted in the valley of Kashmir by Jahangir, of which Shalimar Bagh is the most prominent. Shah Jahan installed Nishat Bagh and Chashma-e-Shahi in Kashmir. Aurangzeb established Pinjore Bagh garden in Haryana.

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