In their rule of about three hundred years, they have left a remarkable impact on the Indian Subcontinent. Starting from cuisine, clothes, art, architecture the Mughals has played a very important role in constructing the rich culture of the sub-continent. One of the most influencing reflections of their rule is their architecture. Therefore, we are emphasizing on some of the most remarkable architectural landmarks built during the Mughal Rule.
Involvement of 22, 000 workers including masons, stonecutters, inlayers, carvers, painters, calligraphers, dome-builders and other artisans called on from all over the central Asia and Iran, and some 22 years later when a monument with a unique blend of Persian, Islamic, and Indian architectural styles came into its own, it was a sight to behold! The grandeur of the structure then created was such that even decades after its creation, it is still regarded as one of the most arresting and attention-grabbing manmade monuments of the world. Not just Taj, even structures alongside it add to the architectural beauty and artistic wonder of the place. The entire Taj complex consists of five major constituents, namely Darwaza (main gateway), Bageecha (gardens), Masjid (mosque), Naqqar Khana (rest house) and Rauza (main mausoleum).
Completed between 1612 and 1614 as per inscriptions on its south gate, the construction of the mausoleum is said to have commenced during emperor Akbar’s (1556-1605) lifetime in 1604 but concluded during his son, Jehangir’s reign (1605-1627). This is perhaps accurate, as the Akbarnama states nothing about the description of the monument except for noting Behistan or Behistabad(Abode of Paradise) in Sikandra as the burial place of the emperor. Recorded references to the tomb are mostly from Jehangir’s rule; they mention his discontent with the initial progress on the mausoleum and outline his active involvement in its design, modification and embellishment. The mausoleum complex is square in plan and aligned on the cardinal axis, with the tomb at its center and four gates, one along each wall. Based on acharbagh, or walled square garden composition much like his father Humayun’s (1530-1540, 1555-1556) tomb, the tomb of Akbar has a tall sandstone clad gate with ornate marble inlay carvings and inscriptions. It consists of a colossal arched niche flanked on either side by double-stacked balconies. Surmounting the gate pavilion are four towering white marble minarets, one at each corner. Its inscriptions were written and designed by Abd al- Haqq Shirazi (later known as Amanat Khan), famed calligrapher of Mughal monuments including Taj Mahal. While the inscriptions on the north elevation facing the tomb eulogize the deceased emperor, those above the entrance praise Jehangir, the patron of the tomb. Beyond the lofty gate lies the Charbagh divided into quadrants by watercourses designed to evoke the rivers of paradise. Hence, the mausoleum itself is physically and metaphorically located at the center of a heavenly garden, Behistan. A paved causeway leads from the gate to the mausoleum. It is a five-tiered structure much like a truncated pyramid enveloped by low galleries. The domed and vaulted galleries are a hundred and five meters long serving as a large square plinth for the four square stories located at their center, each of which steps in as the structure rises. The gallery space is rhythmically arranged with massive pillars supporting arches roughly 6.7 meters apart. The central bay of each side is marked by a high pishtaq surmounted by a rectangular chattri, or roof kiosks. Only the southern pishtaq gives access to the burial chamber, a small square room at the end of long corridor at the heart of the building domed at eighteen meters. Of the vaulted bays behind the four pishtaqs, the southern one is the most elaborate in ornamentation. The burial chamber also houses the tombs of the emperor’s daughters, Shakrul Nisha Begam and Aram Bano.
The royal city at Fatehpur Sikri, situated 26 miles west of Agra, was built at the orders of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. While Akbar himself was illiterate, he took a keen interest in literature, architecture, and the arts. He is also reputed to be a very tolerant ruler, and the buildings at Fatehpur Sikri blended both Islamic and Hindu elements in their architectural style. One of the buildings even reflects the new sycretistic faith founded by Akbar, Din-e-ilahi, which though very short-lived remains a matter of controversy.
Humayun’s tomb is known as the first example of the monumental scale that would characterize subsequent Mughal imperial architecture. Commissioned, it is believed, by Humayun’s senior widow, Haji Begam, or by her son Akbar, the tomb is the first to mark the grave of a Mughal emperor; Humayun’s father Babur, who founded the dynasty, had requested out of piety that he be buried in a garden. Humayun’s Tomb is now one of the best-preserved Mughal monuments in Delhi.
Near the gardens of Taj Mahal stands the important 16th-century Mughal monument known as the Red Fort of Agra. This powerful fortress of red sandstone encompasses within its 2.5-km-long enclosure walls, the imperial city of the Mughal rulers. The forbidding exteriors of this fort hide an inner paradise. There are a number of exquisite buildings like Moti Masjid – a white marble mosque akin to a perfect pearl; Diwan-E-Am, Diwan-E-Khaas, Musamman Burj – where Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan died in 1666 A.D., Jahangir’s Palace, Khaas Mahal and Sheesh Mahal. Agra Fort, an excellent example of Mughal architecture, is one of the few UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.
Sheesh Mahal or the Glass Palace is the finest example of decorative water engineering in the hammams. It is believed to have been the harem or the dressing room, and its walls are inlaid with tiny mirrors which are the best specimens of the glass-mosaic decoration in India. To the right of Sheesh Mahal is Diwan-I-Khaas, the hall of Private Audience. The marble pillars are inlaid with semi-precious stones in delightful floral patterns. Adjacent to this, is the Mammam-E-Shahi or the Shah Burj, used as the summer retreat.