Mughul Architecture


Mughals built like Titans and finished like jewelers. Indo-Muslim architecture attained its utmost excellence under the Mughals’ era. A long period of fair peace and prosperity and ample resources at the disposal of the Mughals enabled them to use rich material in their buildings and give them exquisite finish. Though buildings of the Mughals’ period owed much to the materials available in the subcontinent and they adopted some Hindu decorative motifs, yet on the whole look seemed to be exclusively Muslim in their form and construction their. The salient features of Mughal architecture are the pronounced dome, slender turrets at the corners, the palace halls supported on pillars and the Indo-Saracen gate which takes the form of a huge semi-dome sunk in the front wall bearing an admirable proportion to the building while the actual entrance is a small rectangular opening under the arch. Labor for the buildings was employed from all parts of India and even Afghanistan.

Babur and Humanyun made significant developments in laying the foundations of the Mughal architectural traditions, and with the accession of Akbar, Mughal architecture attained greater impetus. The mausoleum of the emperor Humayun at Delhi was built by Haji Begum, the widow of Humanyun. The construction of a new capital city at Fatehpur Sikri, twenty-six miles from Agra is the most remarkable evidence of Akbar’s genius. He also built palace-fortress at Agra, Lahore and Allahabad. During Jahangir’s reign there was characteristic development of landscape gardening, the best specimen being the Shalamar Bagh in Kashmir. The outstanding architectural production of the later years of Jahangir’s reign was his own mausoleum at Shahdara near the river Ravi of Lahore, most of which was constructed after his death at the behest of his immensely talented and graceful empress Nur Jahan. It was the reign of Shah Jahan that the Indo-Muslim style of architecture attained its supreme beauty. One distinguishing feature is the extensive use of marble that made his buildings more sensuous and stately. Taj Mahal and Red fort at Agra, Moti mosque, Gulabi Bagh, the Chouburji and Shalimar Bagh at Lahore are important constructions among so many mosques, palaces, gardens, buildings and mausoleums built under his patronization. Alamgir did not build so many buildings. Badshahi Mosque at Lahore is, however, one of the finest productions of the Mughals during his reign.

This article was last updated on Wednesday, Jan 04, 2006