Categories Medieval India



Fine Arts:

  • The Mughal period saw an outburst of cultural activity in the fields of architecture, painting, music and literature. The norms and traditions created during this period set standards which deeply influenced the succeeding generations. The Mughals brought with them Turko-Mongol cultural traditions which mingled with the rich cultural traditions existing in the country.The Sultanat period and the provincial kingdoms which grew up during the fourteenth and fifteenth century saw many-sided cultural developments. The Mughals absorbed these rich cultural traditions, so that the culture which followed was the contribution of peoples of different ethnic groups, regions and faiths. Such a culture could be called Indian or national in a broad sense.

  • The Mughals built magnificent forts, palaces, gates, public buildings including sarais, hamams, mosques, baolis (water tank or well) etc. They also laid out many formal gardens with running water. In fact, use of running water even in their palaces and pleasure resorts was a special feature of the Mughals.
  • Mughal gardens:
    • Mughal gardens are a group of gardens built by the Mughals in the Islamic style of architecture. This style was influenced by Persian gardens and Timurid gardens. Significant use of rectilinear layouts are made within the walled enclosures. Some of the typical features include pools, fountains and canals inside the gardens. The famous gardens are the Char Bagh gardens at Taj Mahal, Shalimar Gardens of Lahore, Delhi and Kashmir as well as Pinjore Garden in Haryana.
  • Babur was very fond of gardens and laid out a few in the neighbourhood of Agra and Lahore. Unfortunately, only a few of the Mughal gardens, such as the Nishat Bagh in Kashmir, the Shalimar garden at Lahorethe Pinjore garden in the foot-hills near Kalka and the Arambagh (now called Ram Bagh) near Agra have survived. These terraced gardens give us an idea of the Mughal concept of gardens. Babur the founder of the dynasty, had a fine aesthetic taste, though he did not find enough time to build many buildings in India. Most of what he built has not survived. For Babur, the most important aspect of architecture was regularity and symmetry which he did not find in the buildings, in India. Perhaps, his dissatisfaction was directed at the Lodi buildings which he saw at Lahore, Delhi and Agra. The mosques at Ayodhya and Sambhal attributed to him, were adaptations of earlier buildings, and do not therefore give an idea of his architectural concepts.
  • The most notable buildings of the period were undoubtedly the ones built by Sher Shah at Sasaram and Delhi. The ones at Sasaram are a series of mausoleums, modelled on the octogonal Lodi tombs at Delhi. The outstanding amongst the tombs at Sasaram is the mausoleum of Sher Shah. It was built in the centre of a large pond, “Its reflection creating an illusion of movement at the same time duplicating its bulk”. The building which is octogonal in shape, gains height and solidity by being based on a high square platform which is linked to the main building by kiosks at the corners. A terraced effect is given to the building by an arched verandah around the building, and the massive dome which rises in stages. The neck of the dome is covered by a wall over which are placed a series of graceful kiosks. The massive dome is covered by a lotus finiale.
                                                      Mausoleum of Sher Shah
  • It will be seen that many features in the mausoleum of Sher Shah are carried forward, with modifications to the Taj Mahal But while the Taj Mahal gives an illusion of being light and airy, Sher Shah’s mausoleum give the impression of strength and solidity which are considered important features in architecture, and are appropriate expressions of Sher Shah’s character.
  • Purana Qila,on the banks of Yamuna, is the oldest fort among all forts in Delhi and, the oldest known structure of any type in Delhi. It was rebuilt by the Afghan king Sher Shah Suri, on the same site, which was perhaps the site of Indraprastha.It was completed by his son Islam Shah and then Humayun.Painted Grey Ware dating 1000 B.C has been unearthed.,with a continuous cultural sequence from Mauryan to Mughal through Sunga, Kushana, Gupta, Rajput and Sultanate periods, confirming the antiquity of the fort. It is where Humayun’s capital Din Panah was located. Later it was renovated and named Shergarh by Sher Shah. Shahjahan built a new fort in Delhi known as Lal Qila here.
  • The “Purana Qila” built by Sher Shah, is a massive structure with walls of grey stone and an impressive gateway of red sandstone with white marble inlay and occasionally inset with blue glaze. None of the palaces and public buildings of Sher Shah have survived. 
  • The mosque-cum madarsa called Khair-ul-Majalis, outside the fort with a magnificant gate was built by Maham Anaga in 1561.
  • The only building inside the fort to have survived is the royal chapel, called Qila-i-Kuhna mosque. The main feature of the mosque is its pleasing treatment of the facade which consists of five arched entrances( five elegant arched prayer niches or mihrabs.Mihrab is a semicircular niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the qibla; that is, the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca and hence the direction that Muslims should face when praying ) of graceful proportions. Each of them is set within a rectangular frame. The central archway is larger than the Ones flanking it on each side. The three central archways have graceful oriol windows reminiscent of the Rajasthan style of architectureThe decorations are kept simple, consisting of white marble inlay, and inset patterns of coloured glaze. The narrow turrets(small tower extending above building) on two sides of the central bay and at the corners at the backwall of the mosque give strength to the building, and balance the single Lodi style flat roof. These buildings may be considered the climax of the Lodi style of buildings, and the beginning of a new phase.
File:Qila Kuhna Masjid inside Puran Qila, Delhi.jpg
Qila-i-Kuhna mosque
Sher Mandal,Humayus’s private library(in Purana Qila) –octagonal tower of red sandstone- Humayun fell down the stairs here and died
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Khairul Manazil, a mosque and later a madarsa built by Maham Anga, stands opposite Purana Qila.
Lake outside Purana Quila
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                                  West Gate, ‘Bara Darwaza’, present main Entrance
File:Lal Darwaza or Sher Shah Suri Gate, near Purana Qila, Delhi.jpg
Sher Shah Suri Gate or Lal Darwaza, which was the South Gate to Shergarh, the city he founded, lies opposite the Purana Qila complex
  • The real phase of Mughal architecture began with Akbar. Akbar had the means as well the strong desire to undertake construction on a large scale. Like Babur, he not only had a fine aesthetic taste, but was personally interested in the construction of building which he not only supervised, but sometimes himself engaged in the work. He was concerned, above all, to bring together the fine architectural traditions existing within the country.
  • During the reign of Akbar, we find two traditions of architecture working simultaneously.
  • One was the Persian tradition with which Humayun had become familiar during his stay at the court of Shah Tahmasp. The Persian tradition is reflected in the mausoleum of Humayun, started by his widow Haji Begum in 1564 and completed in eight years time. This square building of red sandstone was placed on  a high platform and was topped by a white marble dome of graceful contours. The dome had a slightly constricted neck, and rose high in the sky. It was derived, though not exactly copied from Timurid architecture.It represents an Indian interpretation of a Persian conception. The Persian features were the true double dome which had appeared in India in the tomb of Sikandar Lodi, but had not fully matured. It had been familiar in West Asia for long.The double dome enabled a pleasing sky-line, and an interior roof In keeping with the enclosure inside.A second feature of Persian influence was the arrangement of the rooms inside. Instead of one enclosure, there were separate rooms in the corridors linked by passages. However, such an arrangement can be found in earlier, pre-Turkush buildings. The Indian feature was the entire building being placed in a formal garden with a large gate. The dome was supported by slender minaraets which was a feature of the Gujarat style of architecture. Graceful kiosks (a small, separated pavilion open on some or all sides)were a familiar feature in Rajasthan. The arches on all sides, and the fine white inlay work added to the pleasing effect of the building.
File:Humayun's Tomb at Delhi,.jpg
Humayun’s Tomb
File:The white marble dome and chhatris on the roof of Humayun's tomb.jpg
Geometrical sandstone and marble pietre dura inlay patterns over the entrance iwan or high arc, and the chhatris and small minarets that surround the white marble central dome.
File:Jaali or marble lattice screen showing a mihrab, from inside Humayun's tomb, Delhi.jpg
                    The symbolically cut out mihrab facing west or Mecca, over the marble lattice screen.
  • While Humayun’s tomb was being built at Delhi, Akbar was busy building his magnificient fort at Agra, and laying the foundation of a new city and palace complex 26 miles away at Sikri.File:RedFortAgra-Map-20080211.jpg
  • The fort at Agra was started in 1565 and completed in eight years’ time. The Agra fort, with its massive battlements and crenalated walls, its gates consisting of two octagonal towers of dressed red sandstone linked to each other was the pattem of the forts which were built at Lahore, Ajmer and Allahabad later by Akbar. 
  • The Red Fort at Delhi built by Shah Jahan was also patterned on the fort at Agra. According to Abul Fazl, within the Agra fort, Akbar built “upward of five hundred edifices of red stone in the fine style of Bengal and Gujarat.” Most of these buildings were demolished by Shah Jahan to make way for his own style of buildings(white marble palaces), the surviving portion of the Akbari Mahal and the Jahangiri Mahal give us an idea of the type of architecture put up(Together the Jahangiri and the Akbari Mahal was once known as the Bengali Mahal, owing its name to the Bengali designs used in the Mahal.). The roofs of these palaces were flat, and supported by exquisitely carved pillars. The palace is said to have been based on the Man Mandir in Gwaliyar fort, and has many Rajasthani features, such as the heavy red sand stone brackets and balconies, carved with peacock and serpent motifs. The walls and staircase carry geese, flamingoes and lotus carvings, as also figures of mythical animals, such as winged dragons, half elephants, birds etc.
File:Agra Fort 13.JPG
Jahangiri Mahal 
  • Fatehpur Sikri Complex: The building at Sikri, which was later named Fatehpur after the victory at Gujarat, were commenced in 1568-69 when the Kachhawaha princess was expecting Salim. Many palaces and public buildings were put up during the next fifteen years. The whole complex was on top of a hill by the side of an artificial lake. The city was circled by a wall built on the plains below where most of the building have disappeared.
Plan of Fatehpur Sikri Complex
  • Some of the important buildings in this city, both religious and secular are:
  • Buland Darwaza: Set into the south wall of the Jama Masjid at Fatehpur Sikri, this is 55 metre high, from the outside, gradually making a transition to a human scale in the inside. The gate was added some five years later after the completion of the mosque ca. 1576-1577 as an ‘victory arch’, to commemorate the Akbar’s successful Gujarat campaign. It carries two inscriptions in the archway.
    The central portico comprises three arched entrances, with the largest one, in the centre. Outside the giant steps of the Buland Darwaza to left is deep well.
    Jama Masjid: It is a Jama Mosque meaning the congregational mosque, and was perhaps one of the first buildings to come up in the complex in 1571-72.
    Tomb of Salim Chishti: A white marble encased tomb of the Sufi saint, Salim Chisti (1478–1572), within the Jama Masjid’s sahn, courtyard.
    On the left of the tomb, to the east, stands a red sandstone tomb of Islam Khan I, grandson of Shaikh Salim Chishti, who became a general in the Mughal army in the reign of Jahangir. The tomb is topped by a dome and thirty-six small domed chattris, and contains a number of graves, all male descendants of Shaikh Salim Chisti
    Diwan-i-Aam : Hall of Public Audience, is a building typology found in many cities where the ruler meets the general public. In Fatehpur Sikri, it is a pavilion-like multi-bayed rectangular structure fronting a large open space. South west of the Diwan-i-Am and next to the Turkic Sultana’s House stand Turkic Baths.
    Diwan-i-Khas:Hall of Private Audience, is a plain square building with four chhatris on the roof. However it is famous for its central pillar, which has a square base and an octagonal shaft, both carved with bands of geometric and floral designs.It is here that Akbar had representatives of different religions discuss their faiths and gave private audience.
    Ibadat Khana: (House of Worship) was a meeting house built in 1575 CE by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, where the foundations of a new Syncretistic faith,Din-e-Ilahi were laid by Akbar.
    Anup Talao: A pool with a central platform and four bridges leading up to it. Some of the important buildings of the royal enclave are surround by it including, Khwabgah (House of Dreams) Akbar’s residence, Panch Mahal, a five-storey palace, Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Private Audience), Ankh Michauli and the Astrologer’s Seat, in the south-west corner of the Pachisi Court.
  • Entering the palace complex through a gate with three arches, called Naubat Khana,(Also known as Naqqar Khana meaning a drum house, where musician used drums to announce the arrival of the Emperor.) with the royal karkhanas and the mint on the right, now in a ruined condition, one reaches the vast courtyard which formed the diwan-i-am. Behind the diwan-i-am on the right towards the west was building called the diwan-i-khas and by its side the treasury meant mainly for precious stones.
fatehpur sikri diwan-e-aam
                                           Diwan-i-Aam,Hall of Public Audience
  • The courtyard behind the Diwan-i-Am led to the Emperor’s double storeyed palace or khwab-gah which was screened off from the public buildings by a wall which has been demolished. In front of the Emperor’s palace was the Anup Talao with a platform in the centre. This was the place where Akbar sometimes held philosophical debates or organized musical parties. It was to the double-storied palace to which some philosophers were drawn up on a cot from which they discoursed. At a corner of the Anup Talao is small square building of red sand stone the walls of which are beautifully carved.This is miscalled Turkish Sultana’s house(Hujra-i-Anup Talao)for no queen could have lived in such a public place. 
File:Anup Talao 04.jpg
Hujra-I-Anup Talao orTurkish Sultana House, a pleasure pavilion attached to a pond.Above shown is carved design on the wall.
  • The royal haram was on the side of the Emperor’s palace. It has a guard-house, and a high wall to separate it from the public buildings. This wall, too, has disappeared. 
  • Further, behind the palace was the Jama Masjid which also had an access from the city below on the plain.
  • Thus, the palace complex had a plan. Water from the lake below was lifted up to provide for running water and the fountains. 
  • The buildings at Sikri have been divided into two –secular and religious. The secular buildings are generally of a trabeate character(having straight horizontal beams or lintels rather than arches). 
  • One of the palaces within the haram complex is called the Jodha Bai Palace. This palace may have housed the Emperor’s Hindu wives. This was a large palace with suites of rooms around a courtyard – a traditional design which continued in residential buildings till recent times. The bases, columns, and capitals are borrowed from the traditional type of temple pillars. It also has a chapel or puja room.Within the haram complex, three other buildings are noteworthy. One is the palace wrongly ascribed to Birbal. This is a double storeyed building. The entrance porches on the ground floor have angular roofs with glazed blue tiles. It is a superb example of residential structure, remarkable for its balance and design. Structural and decorative elements also are in beautiful harmony with each other.
22 Agra Fatehpur Sikri Jodha Bai Palace Inside Courtyard
                                                            Jodhha Bai palace
  • The second is the small but highly decorated palace ascribed to Akbar’s mother, Mariyam. It is remarkable in many senses. The interior of the suite of rooms were embellished with large mural paintings. On the northern side of the bracket there is a carving of Rama being worshipped by Hanuman. Other brackets show carvings of life -geese, elephants etc. which were anathema to the orthodox.
File:Fatehpur Sikri 146.JPG
                                                                    Mariyam House
  • The third building is the Panch Mahal whin was just inside the haram complex. However, the wall separating it from the public buildings has disappeared. It was a five storeyed building with receding terraces, each with a flat roof supported by intricately carved pillars, each of a different design. It was meant to be a place where the women of the haram could take air.
File:Fatehpur Sikri Panch Mahal.jpg
                                                                     Panch Mahal
  • It will be seen that these buildings were of an innovative and experimental type. The most interesting building from this point of view is the building generally called the diwan-i-khas. The diwan-i-khas is a single hall which has a large and substantial pillar supporting a circular stone platform. From this central platform, stone bridges radiate to each corner to connect with the hanging galleries. The central pillar, with various patterned shafts and brackets supporting the central platform appears to be based on a wooden Gujarati derivative. Once again, mythical animals can be seen on the friezes outside.
File:Fatehpur Sikri 175.JPG
                                               Diwan-i-khas,The Hall of Private Audience.
  • The most magnificient building at Sikri is the Jama Masjid with an interior courtyard of unusually large proportions. It was built in the manner of Indian mosques, with iwans(rectangular space, usually vaulted, walled on three sides, with one end entirely open) around a central courtyard. A distinguishing feature is the row of chhatri over the sanctuary. There are three mihrabs in each of the seven bays, while the large central mihrab is covered by a dome, it is decorated with white marble inlay, in geometric patterns.The main-sanctuary had arched entrances, domes with pillared kiosks all along the parapet, and a cloister along the courtyard where various types of pillars and decorative devises are used. 
  • In the courtyard is the tomb of Shaikh Salim Chishti with exquisitely carved stone screen. The marble verandah outside was added by Shah Jahan later. 
JAMA MASJID PLAN: 1.Badshahi Darwaja,2.Buland darwaja,3.Prayer room of Friday Mosque,4.Tomb of Salim Chisti,5.lsam Khan Mausoleam
Jama Masjid Agra
Jama Masjid, built by Akbar
Tomb of Salim Chisti(white marble).Tomb of his grandson Islam Khan in red sandstone can be seen in side.
  • On one side of the mosque is a massive gateway leading up to a flight of stairs. This is the Buland Darwaza started by Akbar in 1573 to commemorate his victory at Gujarat. The gate is in the style of what is called a half-dome portal. What was done was to slice a dome into half. The sliced portion provided the massive outward façade of the gate, while smaller doors could be made in the rear wall where the dome and the floor meet. This devise, borrowed from Iran, became a feature in Mughal buildings later. The parapet(A low wall along the edge of a roof or balcony) on top of the front of the gate has a series of kiosks with cupolas(roof in the form of a dome) which break the sky-line.This massive door-way throws the rest of the building out of proportion, it has remained a most impressive building meant to create a sense of awe.
File:Fatehput Sikiri Buland Darwaza gate 2010.jpg
           Buland Darwaza(gateway to Jama Masjid), the 54 mt. high entrance to Fatehpur Sikri complex
Buland Darwaza
  • The Lahore Fort,  or Shahi Qila was built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar between 1556–1605 and was regularly upgraded by subsequent Mughal, Sikh and British rulers. It has two gates one is known as Alamgiri Gate build by Emperor Aurangzeb which opens towards Badshahi Mosque and other older one known as Maseeti (Punjabi language word means of Masjid) or Masjidi Gate which opens towards Masti Gate Area of Walled City and was built by Emperor Akbar.
  • Under Jahangir the Hindu features became lesser in the style; his great mosque at Lahore is in the Persian style, covered with enameled tiles. At Agra, the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daula, which was completed in 1628, was built entirely of white marble and covered in pietra dura mosaic. Jahangir also built the Shalimar Gardens and Nishat Bagh, and their accompanying pavilions on the shore of Dal Lake in Kashmir. He also built a monument to his pet deer, Hiran Minar in Sheikhupura, Pakistan and due to his great love for his wife, after his death she went on to build his mausoleum in Lahore.
  • With the consolidation of the empire, the Mughal architecture reached its climax. Towards the end of Jahangir’s reign began the practice of putting up buildings entirely of marble and decorating the walls with floral designs made of semi-precious stones. This method of decoration called pietra dura was used in the small, but slender tomb of Itimad-ud-Daula built during Jahangir’s xeign. A special feature of this rectangular building were the octogonal towers at the corners with graceful cupolas. Like his own tomb started by Akbar but finished by Jahangir, it had no dome, but only a small cloister on the flat roof decorated with varigated design of perforated screens.
File:Itmad-ud-Daula 01.JPG
Entrance Gate From Exterior
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Mausoleum of Itimad-ud-Daulah
    • File:Itmad-ud-Daula 15.JPG
File:Itmad minar.jpg
                                                                            Cupola of minaret
Floral design on wall -Pietra Dura
  • Rather than building huge monuments like his predecessors, Shah Jahan built elegant monuments.His predecessors built huge buildings to demonstrate their power.The force and originality of their building style gave way to a delicate elegance and refinement of detail, illustrated in the palaces erected in his reign at Agra and Delhi. Some examples include the Taj Mahal at Agra and the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, the wife of Shah Jahan. The Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque) in the Agra Fort and The Jama Masjid at Delhi are imposing buildings, and their position and architecture have been carefully considered so as to produce a pleasing effect and feeling of spacious elegance and well-balanced proportion of parts. Shah Jahan also built the Tomb of Jahangir and sections of the Lahore Fort that include the Moti Masjid, Sheesh Mahal, and Naulakha pavilion which are all enclosed in the fort. He also built a mosque named after himself in Thatta called Shahjahan Mosque. Shah jahan also built the red fort in his new capital in shahjahanabad in delhi. Red fort made of red sandstone is famous for its special buildings-diwan-i-aam and diwan-i-khas.Another mosque was built during his tenure in Lahore called Wazir Khan Mosque, by Shaikh Ilm-ud-din Ansari who was the court physician to the emperor
  • The Taj Mahal, justly regarded as a jewel of the builder’s art, brought together in a pleasing manner all the architectural forms adopted by the Mughals earlier so as to make them their own. These included putting the mausoleum in a formal garden with streams of running water and fountains, erecting the main building on a lofty platform to impart solidity to the building and a beautiful sky-line to the dome. 
  • Finally, there was the half-dome portal at the entrance. The chief glory of the Taj is the massive dome and the four slender, minarets linking the platform to the main Building. The decorations are kept to a minimum, delicate marble screens, pietra dura inlay work and kiosks (chhatris) adding to the effect. 
  • That the Taj Mahal is the logical culmination of the development of imperial architedcture in the country is sufficient to set at rest the fable that the Taj was designed by an Italian, Geronimo Veroneo. Amongst others whose names are mentioned as architects is Ustad Isa Effendi and Ustad Ahmad from Lahore
  • According to a manuscript which gives details about the construction of the Taj, Shah Jahan had appointed a council of experts to advice him, and designers submitted plans for the proposed tomb on paper. Shah Jahah had his own ideas and made valuable suggestions. On this basis a number of models in wood were prepared.
  • It would, thus, appear that there was no single designer of the Taj. Like Mughal paintings, it was a collective effort. Thus, Amanaf Khan Shirazi, it is agreed, was the calligrapher, and Ismail Khan served as the dome builder.
  • Mosque building also reached its climax under Shah Jahan, the two most noteworthy ones being the Moti Masjid in the Agra fort, built like the Taj entirely in marble, and the other the Jama Masjid at Delhi built in red sandstone. A lofty gate, tall slender minarets, and a series of domes are a feature of the Jama Masjid.
  • File:Taj Mahal (Edited).jpeg

Following figures shows exterior decoration in TajMahal:

Minaret of TajMahal
File:Taj Mahal finial-1.jpg
Finial of the dome of the Taj Mahal
                                          Main iwan and side pishtaqs of TajMahal
File:Taj mahal detail outside wall.jpg
Plant Motif outside wall of TajMahal
File:Agra castle India persian poem.jpg
                                                      Calligraphy of Persian poems
Marble Lattice in TajMahal
The domes and vaults of the sandstone buildings are worked with tracery of incised painting to create elaborate geometric forms

Following figures shows interior decoration in TajMahal:

Pietra Dura in TajMahal
                                            Jali screen surrounding the cenotaphs
                         Cenotaphs with Tombs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal at underground level
    • Red-Fort: The Red Fort, constructed by Shah Jahan, was built as the fortified palace of Shahjahanabad, capital of the fifth Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, in 1648. Named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone, it is adjacent to the older Salimgarh Fort, built byIslam Shah Suri in 1546.File:Red Fort, Delhi by alexfurr.jpg

Major structures:

(a)Naubat Khana:(Nakkar Khana), the drum house. Music was played at scheduled times daily.
(b)Diwan-i-Aam: the Diwan-i-Aam, the Public Audience Hall.The Diwan-i-Aam was also used for state functions.The courtyard (mardana) behind it leads to the imperial apartments.
File:RedFort DiwanIAm Inside.JPG

(c)Rang Mahal: It housed the emperor’s wives and mistresses. It was brightly painted and decorated with a mosaic of mirrors.(d)Diwan-i-Khas: Hall of Private Audience, constructed of white marble, inlaid with precious stones. François Bernier described seeing the jewelled Peacock Throne here during the 17th century. At either end of the hall, over the two outer arches, is an inscription by Persian poet Amir Khusrow:“If heaven can be on the face of the earth,It is this, it is this, it is this”.

File:Ghulam Ali Khan 014b.jpg

(e)Moti Masjid:A later addition, it was built in 1659 as a private mosque for Aurangzeb. It is a small, three-domed mosque carved in white marble, with a three-arched screen leading down to the courtyard.

Moti Masjid

(f)Hammam: imperial baths, consisting of three domed rooms floored with white marble.

(g)Shahi Burj: 3 storey octagonal tower.The water feeding, the Nahr-i-Bihisht, is channelled up from the river with a hydraulic system through the tower and then carried by channels into various other buildings of the fort.

Shahi Burj

(h)Lahori Gate: The Lahori Gate is the main gate to the Red Fort, named for its orientation towards the city of Lahore.

(k)Delhi Gate:The Delhi Gate is the southern public gate, similar to the Lahori Gate.

(i)Nahr-i-Behisht(Stream of Paradise): The imperial apartments consist of a row of pavilions on a raised platform, overlooking the Yamuna. The pavilions are connected by a canal, known as the Nahr-i-Behisht  running through the centre of each pavilion. Water is drawn from the Yamuna via a tower, the Shahi Burj.The palace is designed to emulate paradise as described in the Quran.

File:The lone sentry of Rang Mahal.jpg

(j)The Khas Mahal: was the emperor’s apartment. Connected to it is the Muthamman Burj, an octagonal tower where he appeared before the people waiting on the riverbank.

From left: Moti Masjid, the hammam, Divan-i-Khas, Khas Mahal and the ‘Rang Mahal
  • While the Red Fort is famous for the trellised scale of justice in the Rang Mahal ,architecturally the most impressive is the flat roofed Diwan-i-Am where all the skills of the Hindu pillar maker have been used to provide clear vistas from the throne. The multi-foialiated arches give an effect of rippling water.
  • Thus, we find a unique combination of the arcuate(resembling an arch) and the trabeate(not arcuate; having straight horizontal beams or lintels rather than arches) forms in the buildings of Shah Jahan at the Red Fort.
  • Jama Masjid of Delhi, is the principal mosque of Old Delhi in India.Commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, it is the best-known mosque in India. Construction began in 1650 and was completed in 1656.The foundation of the historic Jama Masjid was laid on a hillock in Shahjahanabad.
    1. The courtyard of the mosque can be reached from the east, north and south by three flights of steps, all built of red sandstone.
    2. The mosque faces west. Its three sides are covered with open arched colonnades, each having a lofty tower-like gateway in the center.
    3. Two lofty minarets, 130 feet (41 m) high, and containing 130 steps, longitudinally striped with white marble and red sandstone, flank the domes on either side.
    4. Under the domes of the mosque, is a hall with seven arched entrances facing the west and the walls of the mosque are covered with marble.
    5. Beyond this is a prayer hall, which is about 61 meters X 27.5 meters, with eleven arched entrances, of which the centre arch is wide and lofty, and in the form of a massive gateway, with slim minarets in each corner, with the usual octagonal pavilion surmounting it.
    6. The mosque stands on a platform
    7. The floor of the mosque is covered with white and black marble ornamented to imitate the Muslim prayer mat

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Main Entrance

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  • In Aurangzeb’s reign (1658–1707) squared stone and marble was replaced by brick or rubble with stucco ornament. Srirangapatna and Lucknow have examples of later Indo-Muslim architecture. He made additions to the Lahore Fort and also built one of the thirteen gates which was later named after him (Alamgir).The Alamgiri Gate, built in 1673 A.D., is the main entrance to the Lahore Fort in present day Lahore. It was constructed to face west towards the Badshahi Mosque in the days of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
  • Aurangzeb also built the Badshahi Mosque which was constructed in 1674. This mosque is adjacent to the Lahore Fort and is the last in the series of congregational mosques in red sandstone and is closely modeled on the one Shah Jahan built at Shahjahanabad. The red sandstone of the walls contrasts with the white marble of the domes and the subtle intarsia decoration.

    Badshahi Mosque in Lahore
  • Another construction of Mughal era is the Lalbagh Fort (also known as “Fort Aurangabad“), a Mughal palace fortress at the Buriganga River in the southwestern part of Dhaka, Bangladesh, whose construction started in 1678 during the reign of Aurangzeb.

    Lalbagh Fort with tank
  • Bibi ka Maqbara.JPG
    Bibi ka Maqbara, Aurangabad,commissioned by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb
  • Additional monuments from this period are associated with women from Aurangzeb’s imperial family. The construction of the elegant Zinat al-Masjid in Daryaganij was overseen by Aurangzeb’s second daughter Zinat-al-Nisa. The tomb of Aurangzeb’s sister Roshanara Begum and the garden surrounding it. Bibi Ka Maqbara was a mausoleum built by Prince Azam Shah, son of Emperor Aurangzeb, in the late 17th century as a loving tribute to his mother, Bano Begam in Aurangabad, Maharashtra.
  • Although not many buildings were put up by Aurangzeb who was economy-minded, the Mughal architectural traditions based on a combination of Hindu and Turko-Iranian forms and decorative designs continued without a break into the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Thus, Mughal traditions influenced the palaces and forts of many provincial and local kingdoms. Even the Harmandir of the Sikhs, called the Golden Temple at Amritsar which was rebuilt several times during the period was built on the arch and dome principle and incorporated many features of the Mughal traditions of architecture. 

    The Harimandir Sahib, commonly known as the Golden Temple
  • Golden Temple is the holiest Sikh gurdwara located in the city of Amritsar,Punjab, India. The city was founded in 1574 by the fourth Sikh guru, Guru Ram Das.
  • On 3 January 1588, Muslim Sufi saint Sai Hazrat Mian Mir laid the foundation stone of the Harmandir Sahib and in 1604 he completed the Adi Granth, the holy scripture of Sikhism, and installed it in the gurdwara.
  • There are four doors to get into the Harmandir Sahib, which symbolize the openness of the Sikhs towards all people and religions.The present-day gurdwara was rebuilt in 1764 by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia with the help of other Sikh Misls. In the early nineteenth century, Maharaja Ranjit Singh secured the Punjab region from outside attack and covered the upper floors of the gurdwara with gold,
  • There was no attempt to establish some kind of a communal representation in the buildings between what were considered Hindu elements and those considered Islamic. The rulers used whatever elements and devises they considered useful and aristic. It was their fine aesthetic sense, and the skill of the Indian craftsmen which effected a conjunction which was both graceful and pleasing.


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