Islamic Architecture From Delhi Sultanate to Mughals : Factsheet

Introduction of the Double Dome feature

The tomb of Sikandar Lodi was the first example with a double dome. The method of making double dome was originally practised in East Asia before it was imported into India.

From Delhi Sultanate era, we see the beginning of use of the false archs and false domes (such as Quwwat-ul-islam Mosque) to true arch and domes (begins from Alai Darwaja) and reached its mature phase as Indo-Islamic art in the Mughal Era.

The first example of the true arch and true dome is in Alai Darwaja located in Qutub Complex. It was built by Ala-ud-din Khilji in 1311 AD.

The Qutb Minar was constructed from material collected from Hindu buildings and temples.

Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque:-

This was first mosque built in Delhi after the Islamic conquest of India and the oldest surviving example of Ghurids architecture in Indian subcontinent.

The most important features of the Mughal monuments in India are the bulbous domes with constricted necks, the slender minarets with cupolas at the four corners, large halls, massive vaulted gateways and delicate ornamentation.

Red Sandstone was amply used in Mughal monuments.

The Concept of Charbagh:-

One of the greatest early deeds of Mughals is that they brought the Persian Charbagh style to India.

Charbagh is a Persian-style garden layout, in which the main building is put at the centre of a quadrilateral garden, divided by walkways or flowing water into four smaller parts.

Humayun’s tomb and Taj Mahal in India are the most famous examples of this style. In the Charbagh at the Taj Mahal, each of the four parts contains sixteen flower beds.

The Humayun’s tomb is the first garden-tomb in India. It was also the first structure to use red sandstone at such a scale. The tomb was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

Purana Quila is oldest known structure of any type in Delhi. The site seems to be the ancient Indraprastha, the capital of the Pandavas.

Monuments of Mughal Architecture at Fatehpur Sikri & Sikandara

Fatehpur Sikri was the first planned city of the Mughals. It is also the place demonstrating the first heritage of the Mughal architecture. It was virtually the capital of Akbar from 1571 to 1585. However, later it was abandoned mostly because of the problem of drinking water supply.

Fatehpur Sikri is a world heritage site declared in 1986. The important monuments in Fatehpur Sikri are:

Buland Darwaja : Built in 1576-77 in commemoration of Akbar’s Gujarat Victory.

Jama Masjid

Tomb of Salim Chisti: This is a singular monument encased in white marble encrusted with mother of pearl (Nacre) mosaic. the Jalis in the circumambulation with intricate geometric designs is its special feature.

Diwan-i-aam: The hall of public audience

Diwan-i-Khas: The hall of private audience.

Naubat Khana: the Drum House

Panch Mahal: The court for ladies.

Birbal’s house: the home to the favourite Vazir of Akbar.

Anup Talao: A pool

Akbar’s Tomb at Sikandara:-

The tomb was also built (1603-1613) in Charbagh style. The area of the precinct comes up to 48 hectares, four times grander than the Humayun’s tomb and is the largest Charbagh in the world

Importance of Chhatri in Mughal Architecture:-

Chhatri is an architectural decoration that developed and became quite popular in Indo-Islamic architecture, particularly under the Mughals. It is a small turret with stone columns, principally four, supporting a dome with Chajja under the dome.

The Islamic architecture is known to support the domes with walls.

Tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah (I’timād-ud-Daulah Maqbara) is a Mughal mausoleum in the city of Agra in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Often described as a “jewel box“, sometimes called the “Bachcha Taj“, the tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah is often regarded as a draft of the Taj Mahal.

It is noticeable for the first use of pietra dura (floral design made up of semiprecious stone) technique.

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