Sample Material of Our IAS Mains History Study Kit
Subject: History (Optional)
Topic: Mughal Architecture
Though Babur is known to have commissioned the construction
of several monuments, he was more fond of gardens. Babur issued instructions
that gardens and orchards be laid out in all large cities in his domains.
Humayun laid the foundation of the city Din Panah at Delhi.
Humayun’s tomb is called the proto type of Taj Mahal. It has a double dome of
marble, while the central dome is octagonal. It was built by his widow Haji
Begum. The garden and the gateway are to be found in all Mughal-style tombs.
Sher- Shah probably complete’ the fort and also built the
Qala-i-Kuhna mosque within its precincts, Also attributed to Sher Shah is the
huge mausoleum of his father at Sasaram in Bihar. Sher Shah constructed his own
mausoleum at Sasaram, which was then the largest tomb in India.
Building’s built by Akbar are Agra Fort (1565), Lahore Palace
(1572), Fatehpur Sikri’, Buland Darwaza and Allahabad Fort (1583). The
architecture at Fatehpur Sikri is an excellent blending of Persian, Central
Asian and various Indian (Bengal and Gujarat) styles . It is also known as Epic
poem in red sandstone. Indian tradition includes deep eaves, balconies and
Kiosks. Central Asian Style is evident in the use of glazed blue tiles. Two
unusual buildings at Fatehpur Sikri are Panch Mahal & Diwan-i-Khas. The Panch
Mahal has the plan of Buddhist Vihara. The Jodhabai’s Palace, Diwan-i-Aam,
Diwan-i-Khas are Indian in their plan. Buland Darwaja (built after Gujarat
victory), formed the main entrance to Fatehpur Sikri. It is built in the Iranian
style of half dome portal.
Salim Chisti’s tomb (redone in Marble by Jahangir is the
first Mughal building in Pure marble), palaces of Birbal, Anup Talao, Mariyam
Mahal are also inside the Fatehpur Sikri. He built the Jahangiri Mahal in Agra
fort according to Hindu design based on Man Mandir. Haroon Minar—Tower built by
Akbar in memory of his elephant (Haroon). He also began to build his own tomb at
Sikandara which, was later completed by Jahangir.
Jahangir was a patron of painting rather than
architecture.The most well known building of his reign was the mausoleoum he
built for his father at Sikandara, near Agra, which is said to resemble the
Parch Mahal at Fatehpur Sikri. Jahangir’s buildings at Agra fort were later
pulled down by Shah Jahan.We do know, however, that beneath the viewing balcony
(jharoka) from which he gave darshan to the public, he had installed life-size
marble statues of the defeated Rana of Mewar, Amar Singh and his son, Karan,
much as Akbar had placed statues of the Rajput heroes Jaimal and Fatha outside
Jahangir was immensely interested in gardens; the most famous
of those associated with him being in Srinagar. His queen, Nur Jahan’s most well
known architectural project is the white marble mausoleum she built near Agra
for her father, Itimad-ud-daula. It is a magnificently carved monument, inlaid
with semi-precious stones in marble, a technique known as pietra dura. The style
of architecture used by both Jahangir and Shahjahan is known as Indo Persian.
Important features of this style are Curved lines, Bulbous dome, foliated arches
vigorous use of marble instead of red sand stone and use of pietre dura for
decorative purposes. He built Moti Masjid in Lahore and his own mausoleum at
Shah Jahan commissioned the Jami Mosque within the precincts
of the dargah of the Sufi Saint Muinuddin Chisthi at Ajmer and paid regular
homage at the shrine till the end of his reign. Mosque building activity reached
its climax in Taj Mahal. He also built the Jama Masjid (sand stone). Some of the
important buildings built by Shahajahan at Agra are Moti Masjid (pniy mosque of
marble) in Agra, Khaas Mahal, Musamman Bun (Jasmine Palace where he spent his
last years in captivity) and Sheesh Mahal with mosaic glasses on walls and
Many stone buildings were destroyed by him and replaced by
marble. He laid the foundations of Shahjahanabad in 1637 where he built the Red
Fort and Taqt-i-taus (Peacock throne). In 1648 the court, army and household
moved from Agra to the newly completed imperial capital Shahajahanabad. It was a
new addition to the old residential city of Delhi, with the Red Fort, the Jama
Masjid, a treelined esplanade with bazaars (Chandni Chowk) and spacious homes
for the nobility. Shah Jahan’s new city was appropriate to a more formal vision
of a grand monarchy. Most richly ornamented building in Red Fort was the
Diwan-i-Khas or Rang Mahal. He laid the Shalimar Gardens in Lahore. Shahjahan
built Nahar-i-Fuiz. He built his father’s mausoleum at Lahore, and ordered fresh
construction at the forts of Lahore and Agra. Shah Jahan too was fond of gardens
and ordered a number of them to be laid, the most famous of them being the
Shalimar Garden in Kasmir, but the monument by which he is best known is the Tai
Mahal built in the memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Laid out in the midst of a
beautiful char bagh garden evoking the gardens of paradise, the all-marble
structure was proportionately designed. ‘Mughal architecture reached its zenith
under Shah Jahan.
Aurangzeb is said to have repaired more mosques than any
other Mughal Emperor. He also ordered the construction of the Moti Mosque inside
Shahjahanabad fort. He commissioned the Badshahi Mosque at Lahore, which is the
largest mosque in the sub-continent. Aurangzeb destroyed several Hindu temples
like the Keshava Rai temple built by Raja Bir Singh in Mathura, the Vishwanath
temple constructed by Raja Man Singh in Banaras, besides several others in Kuch
Bihar, Udaipur, Jodhpur and other centres in Rajasthan. In place of the Keshwa
Rai temple Aurangzeb built an Idgah on its foundations.
Only monument associated with Aurangzeb is Bibi ka Makbara
which is the tomb of his wife Rabbia-ud-daura in Aurangabad. He also built the
Badshahi mosque in Lahore. A number of magnificent palaces built by Hindu
princes in medieval’ times have survived. Among the most exceptional is the
palace within Gwalior fort, built by Maharaja Man Singh in the early sixteenth
century, and known as the Man Mandir.
The Mughals introduced new themes depicting the conn, battle
scenes and the chase and added new colours (Peacock blue and Indian red). The
Mughal pictures were small in size, and hence are known as ‘miniature
paintings’. Though the Mughal art absorbed the Indian atmosphere, it neither
represented the Indian emotions, nor the scenes from the daily life of the
Indian. It was mostly courtly and aristocratic. A keen appreciation of nature
was another characteristic of the Mughal School. Remarkable excellence achieved
by the Mughal school in portrait-painting.
The Mughal School of painting began with Humayun, who became
familar with Persian art during his exile at the Safavid court. The ruler, Shah
Tahmasp was a great patron of painting, but gradually turned orthodox. Hence,
many of his painters joined Humayun on his return journey to Hindustan.
The most renowned among them were Mir Sayyid Ali. Abdus Samad,
Mir Musavvir’and Dost Muhammad. Artists from Iran also made their way to Mughal
India. Some were brought to the Mughal court, as in the case of Mir Sayyid Ali
and Abdus Samad, who were made to accompany Emperror Humayun to Delhi.
Akbar was the real founder of the Mughal School. Akbar
commissioned the illustrations of several literary and religious texts. Akbar
gave employment to many artists. A hundred and fifty or so are known since the
illustrations in the manuscripts produced during Akbar’s Teign bear the names of
the artists. The chief painters were Mir Sayyid Ali, Abd-al-Samad and Baswan, a
Hindu. Mir Sayyid Ali and Abd-al-Samad drilled the craftsmen in all the
technical details of Persian miniatures. Many Indians such Baswan, Miskina and
Daswant attained great positions as court artists.
Early projects of Akbar’s reign include the Hamza nama, the
story of Amir Hamza, an uncle of Prophet Muhammad, who tried to convert the
world to Islam. The manuscript comprised of fourteen volumes, each having one
hundred illustrations. At least fifty painters are believed to have worked on
the project. Among the major painters at Akbar’s court was Daswanth who
illustrated the Razmana (the Persian translation of the Mahabharata). After the
Razmnama, Akbar’s interest shifted to historical works. Among the historical
projects now sanctioned were the Tarikh-i-Alfi (a history of the first thousand
years of Islam) and the Timur Nanza an illustrated account of the life of Timur.