Architecture of the Mughals in Medieval India

    After the advent of Mughals, the class of architecture in India was going to a new phase. It was  different from the Sultanate period of architecture in some points. When Mughals came, Persian influence on Indian architecture started. The precious and vast treasure and power available with the Mughals enables them to execute their plans. The Mughals built many buildings with splendor and beauty. They also built new cities and gardens. They possess uniformity in their architectural characters.

Mughal architecture is the type of Indo-Islamic architecture developed by them throughout the empire. Mughals developed the styles of earlier Muslim dynasties in India as a unity of Indian, Islamic, Persian and Turkish architecture.

1. Babur and His Architecture::

Babur was not impressed by Indian architecture. At the same time, he was busy in wars for the extension of his empire. Babur called craftsman from Albania to construct splendid buildings in India with Indian craftsman.

He employed 680 workers and 1491 stone cutters daily on his various buildings in India. Out of several buildings constructed him only two have survived which were situated at Panipat and other at Sambhal.

2. Humayun and His Architecture::

Humayun’s troubled reign didn’t give him much opportunity to show artistic temperament in the great Mughal empire. He constructed some mosques in Hissar and Agra. He built a capital city in Delhi named “Din-i-Panah” which was probably demolished by Sher Shah Suri.

3. Akbar and His Architecture::

The history of Mughal architecture really starts from the reign of Akbar. Akbar utilized local talents and took inspiration from the Indian architecture and started a new trend of architecture in India. Akbar the great built so many buildings and towns during his reign. He started the use of red sandstone in the Mughal architecture.

Here the monuments built by Akbar the great 

i) Agra Fort::

Agra Fort was built by Akbar the Great. It was built between 1565-74 AD. It is presently situated in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. In the construction of Agra Fort, the architects used the Rajput style of architecture. In this fort, some important buildings like Jahangiri Mahal, Moti Masjid, Meena Bajar etc are situated. Agra Fort is declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

ii) Humayun’s Tomb::

Humayun’s tomb is the tomb of Mughal Emperor Humayun, presently situated in Delhi. It was commissioned by Humayun’s first wife Bega Begum and was built between 1569-70 and designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyas and his son Sayyid Muhammad. Humayun’s Tomb regarded as the first matured Mughal architecture in India. Humayun’s Tomb is was the first garden-tomb in India.

iii) Fatehpur Sikri::

Fatehpur Sikri was the greatest architectural activity by Akbar the Great. Fatehpur Sikri was the capital city of Akbar which was situated near Agra. This was a walled city. This city was built between 1569-74.It had some beautiful religious buildings like Jama Masjid,Tomb Salim Chisti etc. In Fatehpur Sikri,the Buland Darwaja is situated. It was built by Akbar in 1576 to commemorate his victory towards Gujrat and Deccan. Jodha Bai Mahal was the largest and a splendid palace of Fatehpur Sikri.

4. Jahangir and His Architecture::

Jahangir had a fine artistic mind but he was very fond of painting and he preferred painting than architecture.

i) Begum Shahi Mosque::

Begum Shahi Mosque situated presently in Lahore,Pakistan. It was built by Mughal Emperor Jahangir between 1611-1614. Jahangir built this mosque in honour of his mother.

ii) Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah::

The Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah is situated presently nearby Agra city in Uttar Pradesh. It is known as “Bachcha Taj” and “Jewel Box”. It is regarded as the draft of Tajmahal.

5. Shah Jahan and His Architecture::

Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s period is called as the “Golden Age of Mughal Empire”. Shah Jahan was an engineer king. He built so many monuments during his reign and for his laborious efforts, Mughal Empire was rich in architecture. During the reign of Shah Jahan, Mughal architecture reached its height and gave a tremendous treasury to offspring.

i) Taj Mahal::

Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the world. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Taj Mahal was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan between 1630-49.Shah Jahan built Taj Mahal in memory of her most beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. Taj Mahal is the mausoleum of Mumtaz Mahal. Shah Jahan was also buried here after his death. Taj Mahal was mainly made from white marbles which were carried from Rajasthan. The interior and exterior design of Taj Mahal was prolific and splendid.

ii) Red Fort::

Red Fort which is commonly known as “Lal Killa” was the main residence of the Mughal Emperor from 1648 to 1857.It was built by Shah Jahan during his reign between 1639-48.Red Fort was designed by Ustad Hamid Lahori. It was built when Shah Jahan decided to move his capital from Agra to Delhi. Mumtaz Mahal,Lahori Gate,Delhi Gate,Diwan i Aam,Diwan i Khas,Moti Masjid etc…were some of the important and beautiful structure of Red Fort.

6. Aurangzeb and His Architecture::

Aurangzeb’s succession to the Mughal throne marks the end of the harvest artistic taste of the great Mughal Empire. His puritanism gave little encouragement to the development of architecture. He was not interested in artist temperament. He built a few architectural monuments but they were not so splendid.

i) Badshahi Mosque::

Badshahi Mosque was the largest mosque in the world in 1673 when it was built. It has a capacity of 1,00,000 people. Its design was reminiscent from Jama Masjid of Delhi.

ii) Bibi ka Maqbara::

Bibi ka Maqbara was a mausoleum. It was built by Aurangzeb in memory of his most beloved wife Dilaras Bano Begum, presently situated in Aurangabad in Maharashtra. It was built between 1660-69; which has a resemblance to the Taj Mahal. Bibi ka Maqbara was designed by Atta Ullah and Hanspat Rai and was the largest construction of Aurangzeb.

Except for Aurangzeb,all Mughal Emperors were great patrons of architecture. They had so much interest in architecture. They wanted to build architectural monuments for their peace of mind and luxury. There is not any doubt that Mughals raised the position of architecture in India. The Mughals were great builders and patron of architecture. They built a large number of splendid monuments.

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