Mughal Architecture

Topics: Mughal Empire, Shah Jahan, Agra Pages: 7 (2668 words) Published: November 8, 2010
Mughal architecture, an amalgam of Islamic, Persian and Indian architecture, is the distinctive style developed by the Mughal Empire in India in the 16th and 17th centuries. All the early Mughal Rulers except Aurangzeb were great bui1ders. With the coming of the Mughals, Indian architecture was greatly influenced by Persian styles. The Mughals constructed excellent mausoleums, mosques, forts, gardens and cities. The Mughal buildings show a uniform pattern both in structure and character. The main characteristic features of Mughal architecture are the bulbous domes, the slender minarets with cupolas at the four corners, large halls, massive vaulted gateways and delicate ornamentation.

Babri masjid

The Mughal dynasty began with the emperor Babur in 1526. Babur erected a mosque at Panipat to celebrate his victory over Ibrahim Lodi. A second mosque, known as the Babri masjid, was built in Ayodhya allegedly on a demolished Hindu Ramjanmabhumi temple. The mosque was later demolished by Hindu fundamentalists in 1992. The Babri masjid was a large imposing structure with three domes, one central and two secondary. It is surrounded by two high walls, running parallel to each other and enclosing a large central courtyard with a deep well, which was known for its cold and sweet water. On the high entrance of the domed structure are fixed two stone tablets which bear two inscriptions in Persian declaring that this structure was built by one Mir Baqi on the orders of Babur. The walls of the Babri Masjid are made of coarse-grained whitish sandstone blocks, rectangular in shape, while the domes are made of thin and small burnt bricks. Both these structural ingredients are plastered with thick chunam paste mixed with coarse sand. The Central Courtyard was surrounded by lavishly curved columns superimposed to increase the height of the ceilings. The Babri Masjid with its bold and graceful style was universally praised and widely followed. Humayun’s tomb

Humayun’s tomb was built by his widow Hamida Banu Begum in 1569 A.D. in Delhi fourteen years after his death.  Humayun's tomb lies on the Mathura road near its crossing with the Lodi Road. The mausoleum stands in the center of a square enclosed garden.  The garden is divided and sub-divided into squares, typical of Mughal gardens.  The lofty double storeyed structure is built on a huge high platform terrace which has a row of cells with arched openings.  The central chamber is octagonal in shape and contains the tomb.  Each side of the mausoleum has a large arched alcove in the center with smaller ones on either side. It has a high marble double dome in the center and pillared kiosks with cupolas surrounding it.  Built of red sandstone with an inlay of black, white and yellow marble it presents an imposing picture.  Planned by a Persian architect and constructed by Indian workers, it is a combination of both Persian and Indian styles of architecture.  Entrance to the mausoleum is through two double storeyed gateways.

Agra fort

Agra Fort is located on the right bank of the river Yamuna in the city of Agra in Uttar Pradesh. When Babur sent his son Humayun to Agra, he captured the fort and seized a vast treasure, which included the world famous ‘Koh-i-noor’ diamond as well. Akbar arrived in Agra in 1558. He ordered to renovate the fort with red sandstone. Some 4000 builders daily worked on it and it was completed in 8 years (1565-1573). .  The special feature of this fort is the 2.5 kms. long and 21 meters  high circuitous wall of solid red sand stone. The wall has 2 gates, the Delhi Gate and the Amar Singh Gate. The Delhi Gate was the ceremonial entrance to the fort. The Delhi Gate entrance archway is flanked by two double storeyed octagonal bastions crowned by octagonal domed kiosks.  A balcony separates the two storeys.  The structure above the balcony has arched recesses.  The gateway is decorated with beautiful panels of coloured tiles and marble inlay work.

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