The art and architecture of the Delhi Sultanate period was distinct from the Indian style. The Turks introduced arches, domes, lofty towers or minarets and decorations using the Arabic script. They used the skill of the Indian stone cutters. They also added colour to their buildings by using marbles, red and yellow sand stones.
In the beginning, they converted temples and other structures demolished into mosques. For example, the Quwwat-ul-Islammosque near Qutub Minar in Delhi was built by using the materials obtained from destroying many Hindu and Jain temples. But later, they began to construct new structures. The most magnificent building of the 13th century was the Qutub Minar which was founded by Aibek and completed by Iltutmish. This seventy one metre tower was dedicated to the Sufi saint Qutbuddin Bakthiyar Kaki. The balconies of this tower were projected from the main building and it was the proof of the architectural skills of that period. Later, Alauddin Khalji added an entrance to the Qutub Minar called Alai Darwaza. The dome of this arch was built on scientific lines.
The buildings of the Tughlaq period were constructed by combining arch and dome. They also used the cheaper and easily available grey colour stones. The palace complex called Tughlaqabad with its beautiful lake was built during the period of Ghyasuddin Tughlaq. Muhammad bin Tughlaq built the tomb of Ghyasuddin on a high platform. The Kotla fort at Delhi was the creation of Firoz Tughlaq. The Lodi garden in Delhi was the example for the architecture of the Lodis.
New musical instruments such as sarangi and rabab were introduced during this period. Amir Khusrau introduced many newragas such as ghora and sanam. He evolved a new style of light music known as qwalis by blending the Hindu and Iranian systems. The invention of sitar was also attributed to him. The Indian classical work Ragadarpan was translated into Persian during the reign of Firoz Tughlaq. Pir Bhodan, a Sufi saint was one of the great musicians of this period. Raja Man Singh of Gwalior was a great lover of music. He encouraged the composition of a great musical work called Man Kautuhal.
The Delhi Sultans patronized learning and literature. Many of them had great love for Arabic and Persian literature. Learned men came from Persia and Persian language got encouragement from the rulers. Besides theology and poetry, the writing of history was also encouraged. Some of the Sultans had their own court historians. The most famous historians of this period were Hasan Nizami, Minhaj-us-Siraj, Ziauddin Barani, and Shams-Siraj Afif. Barani's Tarikh-i-Firoz Shahi contains the history of Tughlaq dynasty. Minhaj-us-Siraj wrote Tabaqat-i-Nasari, a general history of Muslim dynasties up to 1260.
Amir Khusrau (1252-1325) was the famous Persian writer of this period. He wrote a number of poems. He experimented with several poetical forms and created a new style of Persian poetry called Sabaq-i-Hind or the Indian style. He also wrote some Hindi verses. Amir Khusrau's Khazain-ul-Futuh speaks about Alauddin's conquests. His famous work Tughlaq Nama deals with the rise of Ghyiasuddin Tughlaq.
Sanskrit and Persian functioned as link languages in the Delhi Sultanate. Zia Nakshabi was the first to translate Sanskrit stories into Persian. The book Tutu Nama or Book of the Parrot became popular and translated into Turkish and later into many European languages. The famous Rajatarangini written by Kalhana belonged to the period of Zain-ul-Abidin, the ruler of Kashmir. Many Sanskrit works on medicine and music were translated into Persian.
In Arabic, Alberuni's Kitab-ul-Hind is the most famous work. Regional languages also developed during this period. Chand Baradi was the famous Hindi poet of this period. Bengali literature had also developed and Nusrat Shah patronized the translation ofMahabaratha into Bengali. The Bakthi cult led to development of Gujarati and Marathi languages. The Vijayanagar Empire patronized Telugu and Kannada literature.