The Mughal Age is famous for many-faceted cultural developments and has been called the ‘Second Classical Age’, the first being the Gupta Age in northern India. The Timurids had a great cultural tradition behind them. Their ancestral kingdom at Samarqand was the meeting ground of the cultural traditions of Central and West Asia.
Babur himself represented that cultural tradition. India with a very rich cultural heritage of its own was an ideal place for the upsurge and mingling of new cultural traditions. The Mughals brought with them the Turko-Iranian cultural traditions which were amalgamated with the Indian traditions and the was the composite Mughal culture.
Three most important aspects of cultural developments during the Mughal period were:
(a) The Mughal culture was largely secular and aristocratic,
(b) In the growth and enrichment of this culture people from different parts of India and outside contributed equally; and
(c) The cultural norms which the Mughals introduced in India in the field of architecture, painting, music etc. deeply influenced the future course of Indian culture during the subsequent centuries.
The Mughal emperors were keen lovers of nature, and in the art and culture of the age their love of nature as well as their personality is amply reflected.
The history of Mughal architecture begins with Babur, who is said to have undertaken many building projects at Agra, Dholpur, Gwalior and other places. He, however, did not usher in any new style or movement and left hardly any impression on Indian architecture.
The adverse political circumstances did not afford much opportunity to Humayun to undertake any significant architectural activity. In the early years of his reign, he built a city at Delhi called the Dinpanah (World Refuge); but no remains are available of this first Mughal city. Thus the contributions of both Babur and Humayun to the growth of Mughal architecture are almost negligible.