Mughal Architecture

The Mughal architecture flourished in the Indian subcontinent during the Mughal rule (1526-1857). It was a combination of Indo, Islamic and Persian style of art. This new style combined elements of Islamic art and architecture, which had been introduced to India during days of Sultanate of Delhi, with features of Persian art and architecture.

The Mughals built magnificent forts, palaces, gates, public buildings, mosques, water tanks and many more buildings. The use of running water in their palaces and pleasure resorts was a special feature of the Mughals. The Mughal Gardens introduced by Babur to India was used extensively used to decorate the surrounding of these buildings.

Akbar was the first Mughal ruler who undertook constructions on a large scale and the first great Mughal monument was the mausoleum to Humayun. Most notable of Akbar's buildings was the palace-cum-fort complex at Fatehpuri Sikri. Native red sandstone was inlaid with white marble and all the surfaces were ornately carved on the outside and sumptuously painted inside. Extensive use was made of the low arches and bulbous domes that characterize the Mughal style during his period. Soon this style of architecture was used extensively by the nobles and common people.

With the firm establishment of the Mughal Empire, the Mughal architecture reached its zenith. At the end of Jahangir’s reign, the practice, of putting up buildings entirely of marble and decorating the walls with floral designs made of semiprecious stones was established. The use of this style of decoration was called ‘pietra dura’.

The crowning glory of Mughal architecture is the Taj Mahal built by Shah Jahan. Red Fort in Delhi is another great achievement.

Under the orthodox Aurangzeb, the Mughal Architecture saw its decline. Pearl Mosque in Delhi is his lone contribution.

The Mughal architecture incorporated many Indian styles, due to the religious tolerant nature of some Mughal emperors like Akbar. Another major influence in the architecture style was the construction of palaces and forts keeping in mind the hot climate of North India. The gardens, built by the Mughals, had flowing water streams, taking into consideration the hot weather. The buildings were also built in a manner to take advantage of the breeze.

The Mughal architectural style, greatly influenced the forts and palaces belonging to other kingdoms and provinces. This influence can be greatly seen in the construction of the famous Golden Temple of Amritsar. The temple is built on the arch and dome principle and incorporated many features of the Mughal traditions of architecture.

Updated on 2nd September, 2015


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