The Fifteenth and early Sixteenth Century: Provincial architecture- Deccan

The Fifteenth and early Sixteenth Century: Provincial architecture- Deccan

  • The Indo-Islamic architecture developed under the Bahmanis.
  • Opposed to the growth of other regional styles of north India, it seems to have ignored to a very large extent the pre-Islamic art (indigenous) traditions of the region.
  • Deccan style of architecture consisted basically of the fusion of :
    • The architectural system in vogue at Delhi under the Sultans, particularly the Tughluq form.
    • an entirely external source that is, the architecture of Persia.

Three phases:

  • 1st phase begins in 1347, with capital city at Gulbarga.
  • 2nd phase begins in 1425, with capital at Bidar.
  • 3rd phase begins in 1512, with capital at Golconda, lasting till 1687, the year of Mughal conquest.

Gulbarga :

  • For the most part they followed the contemporary Tughluq architecture of the North.
  • The Jami Masjid (1367) inside the Gulbarga fort was, however, different and unique.
    • This was conceived and designed by an ingenious 14th century architect named Rafi (came from Persia).
    • Built during the reign of Mohammed Shah I.
    • The Jama Masjid Gulbarga does not have minarets. It is built inside the Gulbarga Fort.
    • The central designing idea lay in reversing all the architectural principles of mosques with a courtyard.
    • The conventional design of the courtyard was filled with small cupolas supported by arches placed close together.
      • Arches inside Jami Masjid
  • Gulbarga Fort:
    • The fort at Gulbarga was originally built by Raja Gulchand. Later, it was significantly enlarged in 1347 by Al-ud-din Hasan Bahmani of the Bahmani Dynasty after he cut off his ties with the Delhi Sultanate
    • Islamic monuments such as mosques, palaces, tombs, and other structures were also built later within the refurbished fort.
    • Tomb of the Sufi saint Gesu Daraz, who came to Gulbarga in 1413, exists.
      • The tomb walls have paintings; the arches of the Dargah are in Bahmani architecture while the paintings on the walls and ceiling have a fusion of Turkish and Irani influence.


  • Large audience halls and hammams (steam room), mosques, a madrasa, and royal tombs.
  • The change of capital largely eliminated the architectural influence of Delhi.
  • It shows a strong contemporary Iranian influence. But didn’t abandon the Indo-Islamic traditions altogether.
  • Important features:
    • Since colour was the characteristic feature of Iranian architecture, palaces at Bidar show a brilliant scheme of the use of coloured tiles and the mural painting.
      • The glazed tiles which covered the exteriors were imported by sea from Iran.
    • There is a distinctive change in the shape of some of the domes in the buildings at Bidar.
      • They are constricted in the lower contour and thus become the fore-runners of  the famous bulbous domes of the Mughals.
      • The drums of these domes are made tall so as to project the domes in full view.
  • Madarasa of Mahmud Gawan in Bidar:
    • Mahmud Gawan built a magnificent madrasa or college in the capital, Bidar.
    • This fine building, which was decorated with coloured tiles, was three storeys high, and had accommodation for one thousand teachers and students who were given clothes and food free.
    • Some of the most famous scholars of the time belonging to Iran and Iraq came to the madrasa at the instance of Mahmud Gawan.

The fall of the Bahmani Sultanate brought close to the first phase of the Deccan style to close. Under the Adil Shahi kingdom of Bijapur new phase started from where the Bahmanis had left.

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