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Delhi architecture carries a rich cultural heritage including the majestic Mughal architecture and gothic fashion of architecture inoculated by the British rulers.  Acting as the capital city, it has been the region of power for several dynasties and hence witnessed a fusion of various traditions and cultures at several phases in the history which resulted in diverse fashion of architecture in Delhi.  Even after Independence there is few exemplary architecture structures designed in Delhi like the brand new and unique Akshardham temple constructed on perfect banks of Yamuna River.

Architectural history of Delhi carries a mythological belief that dates back to Mahabharata, the great Indian epic.  The city has been noted in this epic by the name of Indraprastha. This epic clearly describes the amazing architecture that surrounds the entire city.The city holds a complicated and grandiose architecture in reality too. This city consists of both the sacred and secular architectural style in a noble array of towering temples, Mughal forts and various other monuments depicting gothic architectural style. Majority of architectural structures in this city got initiated after the invention of Muslim rulers.

Sultanate Architecture

In the year 1206 A.D, the first and foremost Muslim building was built in Delhi in the name of Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque by Qutub-Ud-Din Aibak who initiated the Slave Dynasty. He built this mosque using the Islamic architecture style but professional and conventional Muslim architectural techniques can be observed in Illtutmish’s tomb and Alai Darwaza. An outstanding example of the Indo-Islamic architectural style is the Qutub Complex. These buildings were built after demolishing the Jain and Hindu temples as the image of human and animal figures were not permitted in their Islam tradition. There is no major decorative works inside the Mosques apart from their sturdy pillars, true support gigantic arches which deliver archaic and almost closer picture of the professional Islamic architecture. A significant architectural specimen in Delhi is the Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq tomb.

Mughal Architecture

Except Aurangazeb, all the earlier Mughal emperors were great builders. After the invasion of Mughals, Persian style architecture greatly influenced the Indian architecture. Mughals built outstanding mosques, mausoleums, cities, gardens and forts. One can observe a uniform pattern of character and structure in allMughal structures.
The significant characteristic feature of all  Mughal architecture are their tiny minarets with four cupolas at corners, globular domes, gigantic gateways, huge walls along with fine ornamentation.

Mughal architecture is a perfect fusion of all Persian, Islamic, Indian and Turkish architecture with a distinctive style designed by various Mughals during 16th, 17th and 18th centuries which now exist in India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan. These structures are highly symmetrical and completely decorative.
Following the victory of Babur in Panipat (Panipat battle) during the year 1526, the Mughal dynasty originated. During their tenure of 5 years, Babur showed keen interest in constructing novel buildings but only few exist today.

Lutyens Architecture

Lutyens designed the central administrative region of this city. At the heart of Delhi was the amazing Rashtrapati Bhawan, which was earlier referred as Viceroy’s House, situated on Raisina Hill top. There is Rajpath, also referred as King’s way that links Rashtrapati Bhawan to India Gate. Whereas Janpath, which divided the road in right angle links the South end road(currently Rajesh Pilot Marg) with the Connaught Place.

Herbert Baker designed the Secretariat Building that consists of several Government Ministries of India including the Prime Minister of India Office (PMO), lying next to the Rashtrapati Bhawan. He also drew the sketch for the Parliament House, situated on Sansad Marg almost parallel to the Rajpath. Several architects constructed various structures like Catholic and Anglican cathedrals.


After Independence, several buildings were built in Delhi supplementing the architectural style of this place. Buildings and architectural monuments following Independence still influenced by Architecture of British rulers but also inculcated specific indigenous features. The tall Jeevan Bharti structure is an illustration for magnificent construction with metal, stone and glass. The State Trading Corporation edifice was constructed with the touch of conventional Indian architecture.  It also carries a fusion of yellow and red sandstone which was inspired from the architecture of Mughals. The Scope Office complex was built on a huge area carrying unique characteristic buildings, which otherwise stand uniformly comprising of a whole composite.

Modern Architecture

Right from 1970, architects were drawing inspiration from conventional urban style building. They clearly observed the style of massing, light and sitting procedures, their decorative specimens which comprised of a larger portion of architecture, the construction procedure and materials employed.

During 2005, they constructed Akshardham temple on banks of river Yamuna which carries both conventional Hindu and Indian architecture.

The Lotus temple, which is the Bahai house of Worship, is a design of a blooming lotus flower that is sacred to several Indian people. This structure comprises three rows of 9 petals each and employs light and water as their decorative pieces. The structure also holds a reflecting pool to effectively tackle the scorching heat in New Delhi.

IFCI, Delhi is an exclusive edifice with 22 upper and ground floors delivering column-less office arena on every floor. This is one among the First Intelligent Buildings in India.

Thus, Delhi represents a sumptuous garland of cultural heritage right from the mythological past to current scenario. Their architectural influence widely differs from the Mughal forts, temples to the colonial style buildings. Even the after independence era, it is quite outstanding which makes Delhi a significant region for architectural splendour on Indian map.


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