The Mughal Architecture

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The Mughals who ruled India from 1526-1858, emerged as great patrons of architecture. Mughal architectural is a great historical source as it reflects on imperial ideology of the time. The Mughals drew upon various architectural traditions- indigenous Indian traditions, Indo Islamic architecture form the Sultanate period, Persian traditions, European traditions and introduced their own Timurid traditions of Central Asia. Right from Babur to Aurangzeb, architecture was used to assert power and seek legitimacy by the Mughals.
Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire, coming from the lush lands of Ferghana and being constantly on the move in India, mainly laid out gardens in Hindustan instead of large buildings. Yearning for the gardens of his
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Owing to military concerns and Empire’s consolidation the Agra Fort (1565-71), is noteworthy for its impenetrable 70 ft high walls, its bastions, moat and its colossal Delhi Gate/Hathi pol. The main Delhi Gate and walls, Asher says were meant to reflect the patron’s imperial power. Brown says the fort is also noteworthy for its smooth red sandstone exterior masonry. The palace plan follows typical Islamic style as do all other mughal palaces, since various sections of the palace are separated by large courtyards and gardens, unlike Rajput palaces which were internally connected by corridors. An extant building here from Akbar’s period is the Jahangiri Mahal. Built in red sandstone, in the Indian trabeated tradition, around a courtyard, this Mahal borrows many indigenous serpentine brackets like in Gujarati Hindu and Jain temples. Abul Fazl mentions that the 500 building built here were in the “fine styles of Bengal and Gujarat”, reflecting Akbar’s aim of politico-religious integration of his empire through architecture. Fazl also says that Akbar’s palace at Agra was “the centre of Hindustan” throwing light on Imperial…show more content…
Located atop a hillock, the city’s core consists of the red sandstone palace complex and the Jami Masjid within which lies the marble tomb of Sufi saint Salim Chisti, whom Akbar revered. The approach from the Agra Gate had houses of nobles on either side, a bazaar, a mint house, the royal kitchen and the house of the noble of kitchens, reflecting great planning. From here the palace complex begins with from the Diwan-i-Aam an open raised courtyard with trabeate corridors, just behind which is a structure named the Diwan-i-Khass. This red sandstone building has an interesting interior with a circular carved pillar with serpentine brackets at its centre supporting four walkways to each corner of the square room. Asher and Brown maintain that Akbar sat atop this pillar and heard disputes with the arrangement symbolizing ‘dominion over the four quarters’, yet S.A.A Rizvi holds this was actually a royal jewel house owing to the chambers within the pillar. West of the Diwan i aam is the Anup-talao a pool with a pavilion in the centre. Near it are three trabeate structures- a Turkish Sultana’s House, which has intricate floral and geometric carving on it, which according to Rizvi was not a house, but a chamber of discussion, the Khwabkhana or Akbar’s sleeping chamber and next that the Daftar Khana or records office which had Akbar’s jharoka. West of this area, are a series of small trabeate palaces
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