Mughal Architecture


Mughal rulers , with the exception of Aurangazeb, were naturally gifted with the art of raising architecturally memorable structures, who had constructed a number of edifices, which include mausoleums, forts, mosques, gardens and cities, the buildings of uniform structure and pattern, mostly influenced by Persian architecture.

As one goes through the main characteristic features of the Mughal architecture, one will find most of them having bulbous domes, minarets which are slender having cupolas in all the four corners, , massive vaulted gateways , large halls and delicately ornamented fixtures.

Mughal architecture is a combination of Islamic, Turkish, Persian and Indian styles, bearing the distinctive pattern developed by Mughals during 16th, 17th and 18th centuries in the region. This has come to stay in India, Bangladesh ,Pakistan and Afghanistan, with is symmetric and decorative appearance.

After the victory in Panipat war in 1526, Babur established the Mughal dynasty and during the five years of his reign, Babur erected a number of buildings, although only few of them have survived over a period of time, while these structures reveal the Mughal architecture in the Afghan, Pakistani, Iranian and Indian art works decorating them.


Emperor Akbar focussed on large tombs and edifices, such as a Tomb for his father Humayun and the Tomb for Akbar himself at Sikandra. Emperor Akbar also created the expansive Fort at Fatehpur Sikri , a wall city encompassing building stuctures such as Diwan-i-am, Panch Mahal, Diwan-i-khas, Buland Darwaja and hundreds of similar buildings.


Hindu features of architecture vanished during Emperor Jahangir’s time and his great mosque at Lahore was constructed in Persian style with a covering of enamelled tiles. The tomb of Itmad-ud-Daula at Agra was constructed in 1628 in white marble structure , covered in mosaic of pietra dura.

Jahangir also created Shalimar Gardens with its accompanying pavilions in the beautiful backdrop of Dal Lake at Kashmir, besides his remarkable monument erected in memory of his pet deer, Hiran Minar in Sheikhupura, now at Pakistan and few other architectural wonders at Lahore go to his credit.

Shah Jahan

While his predecessors focussed on building huge monuments, Shah Jahan laid his attention on elegant edifices, not exhibiting wealth and power but with the beauties of architecture’s delicate elegance concentrating on refinement with details. The finer aspects of this architecture are reflected in the palaces erected during his days at Agra and Delhi. The remarkable examples of these are the Taj Mahal at Agra which is the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, the Shah Jahan’s beloved wife, the Moti Masjid , also known as Pearl Mosque in Agra Fort and famous Jama Masjid situated at Delhi , all these monumental constructions prove the aesthetic sense of Emperor Shah Jahan and his commitment to excellence.

Aurangzeb and Later Mughal Architecture

The beauties of Mughal architecture started waning during Aurangzeb's reign (1658–1707) who replaced squared stones and marbles with bricks or rubbles with stucco ornamentation, taking of the original architectural excellence, the constructions and installations at Srirangapatna and Lucknow proving acceptable examples of Indo-Muslim architecture during his time. Emperor Auranzeb made such additions Lahore Fort ,also building a thirteen gate Alamgir which is normally not coming under good architecture, while his Badshahi Mosque constructed in 1674 is the climax of his attitude to architecture which work is done in red sandstone, closely modelled similar to Shah Jahan’s building at Shahjahanabad, red sandstone of the walls not matching with the white marble of the domes.


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