The mughal empire : Art and Architecture
The architecture of the Mughals includes the magnificent forts, palaces, public buildings, mosques and mausoleums. The Mughals were fond of laying gardens with running water. Some of the Mughal gardens such as the Nishat Bagh in Kashmir, the Shalimar Bagh at Lahore and the Pinjore garden in the Punjab have survived even today. During the reign of Sher Shah, the mausoleum at Sasaram in Bihar and the Purana Qila near Delhi were built. These two monuments are considered as the architectural marvels of medieval India.
Large scale construction of buildings started with the advent of Akbar. He built many forts and the most famous one was the Agra Fort. It was built in red sandstone. His other forts are at Lahore and Allahabad. The climax of fort-building reached its climax during the reign of Shah Jahan. The famous Red Fort at Delhi with its Rang Mahal, Diwan-i-Am and Diwan-i-Khas was his creation.
Akbar also built a palace-cum-fort complex at Fatepur Sikri (City of Victory), 36 kilometres from Agra. Many buildings in Gujarathi and Bengali styles are found in this complex. Gujarathi style buildings were probably built for his Rajput wives. The most magnificent building in it is the Jama Masjid and the gateway to it called Buland Darwaza or the Lofty Gate. The height of the gateway is 176 feet. It was built to commemorate Akbar's victory over Gujarat. Other important buildings at Fatepur Sikri are Jodh Bai's palace and Panch Mahal with five storeys.
During Akbar's reign, the Humayun's tomb was built at Delhi and it had a massive dome of marble. It may be considered the Taj Mahal. Akbar's tomb at Sikandara near Agra was completed by Jahangir. Nur Jahan built the tomb of Itimaddaulah at Agra. It was constructed wholly of white marble with floral designs made of semi-precious stones on the walls. This type of decoration was called pietra dura. This method became more popular during the reign of Shah Jahan. The pietra dura method was used on a large scale in the Taj Mahal by Shah Jahan. Taj Mahal is considered a jewel of the builder's art. It contains all the architectural forms developed by the Mughals. The chief glory of the Taj is the massive dome and the four slender minarets.
The decorations are kept to the minimum.
Mosque building had reached its peak during Shah Jahan's reign. The Moti Masjid at Agra was built entirely in white marble. The Jama Masjid at Delhi was built in red stone.
The Mughal architectural traditions continued in
the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Their influence in the provincial
kingdoms is clearly visible. Many features of Mughal tradition can be seen in
the Golden Temple at Amritsar.
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