Notes on the History of Mughal Architecture

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During the Afghan period the mausoleum of Sher Shah was built at Sasaram, It stands in the middle of a tank. The Mughal architecture began in the reign of Akbar. The first building of Akbar’s period is Humayun’s tomb at Delhi. The tomb is influenced by Persion style.

In the construction of the dome, use of bricks and glazed tiles, show the persian influence. The Indian builders of the tomb used stone and marble. The significant features of the Mughal architecture are the large gateways and the tomb built in the midst of a large Park.

Akbar also built forts at Agra and Lahore. Living beings – elephants, lions, peacocks and other birds were sculptured. Akbar’s new capital Fatehpur Sikri was one of the most magnificent capitals in the world. The arch of the Buland Darwaza is about 41 metres high and is perhaps the most imposing gateway in the world.

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The tomb of Salim Chishti has been built in white marble. Its beauty is in its screen and cutting work. The Palace of Jodha Bai was built in the style of ancient Indian architecture. Akbar also built Birbal’s palace with beautiful patterns and sculpture. He built Ibadat Khana or the house of worship. Here learned people of various religions gathered for the discussion of philosophy and theology in the presence of the Emperor. A building called Panch Mahal a five storeyed building was built perhaps modelled on Buddhist Viharas.

During the period of Jahangir the mausoleum of Akbar was built at Sikandara. The minar was the main feature of this building. It has beautiful arches and domes. Noor Jahan built the tomb of Itmad-ud-daula (Her father). It was built in white marble and beautiful coloured inlay work was done. Noor Jahan also built mausoleum of Jahangir (her husband) at Shahdara near Lahore.

The greatest builder of the Mughal period was Shah Jahan. He built a large number of buildings in The Agra Fort, the city of Shahjahanabad and the Red Fort of Delhi, Jama Masjid at Delhi and The Taj MahaL The Diwan-i-aam and the Moti Masjid in the Agra Fort are built mainly in white marble with coloured inlay work. The Diwan-i-khas and the Diwan-i-aam in the Red Fort are richly decorated.

The Jama Masjid at Delhi with its imposing domes and minarets is the most famous mosque in the country. The Taj Mahal is built in the memory of his wife Mumtaj Mahal. It has been aptly described as ‘the dream in marble’. Its main features are the gateways, the central dome, the elegant minars, and the inlay work in coloured marbles and stones, the lovely gardens surrounding it and fountains in front of the building. Aurangzeb built the Badshahi mosque at Lahore and the Moti Masjid at Delhi.

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