History Optional Paper-1 Solution – 2001: Q.5 (c)
Q.5 (c) Write a short essay on: “The zenith of Mughal architecture under Shahjahan.”
The Mughal architecture reached the climax under Shahjahan with changed style and spirit.
Building material and decoration
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 semiprecious stones called pietra dura. Pietra dura was used in the tomb of Itimad-ud-Daula built during Jahangir’s reign.
Use of marble became even more popular under Shahjahan. In fact red sandstone was substituted by white marble and other precious stones as the main building material. Moti mosque and Taj Mahal were built entirely of marbles.
Pietra dura bagan to be used extensively. It was used on a large scale in the Taj Mahal.
Maximum carvings were attempted and costly colors were used to beutify buildings.
Beauty and elegance
Shahjahan did not to bring out any new or superior architecture style, yet he succeded in adding beauty to his buildings.
Rather than building huge monuments like his predecessors, Shah Jahan built elegant monuments.The delicate elegance and refinement of detail in his architecture is illustrated in the buildings erected in his reign at Agra and Delhi, for example: Taj Mahal at Agra.
Mosque building reached its climax under Shahjahan. Moti Masjid in the Agra fort, built entirely in marble and the Jama Masjid at Delhi, built in red sandstone are imposing buildings, and their position and architecture have been carefully considered so as to produce a pleasing effect and feeling of spacious elegance. High towers and domes are special characteristics of Jama Masjid.
Architecture of Shahjahan is highly symmetrical and balanced in parts.
Among all the buildings constructed by Shahjahan, the best one is Taj Mahal which brought together all the architectural forms developed by the Mughals and regarded as a jewel of the builder’s art .This was built as mausoleum of his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal.
The chief glory of the Taj is the massive double dome and the four slender minarets linking the platform to the main building.
The Humayun’s tomb built at Delhi towards the beginning of Akbar’s reign, and which had a massive double dome of marble, may be considered a precursor of the Taj.
Other architectures under Shahjahan
Shahjahan 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. Here, Takhat-i-Tahus (Peacock Throne) is a celebrated art, used for sitting in the court by Shah Jahan.
Nahar Bahishit was a canal built to draw Yamuna water in Red Fort.
Shahjahan also built artificial lakes and gardens.