(Last Updated on : 21/01/2012)
Mughal Architecture during Babur
demands special attention and understanding of the nascent stage, which had reached its summit status under Akbar
. The type of structures that evolved during Babur's regime was not at all provincial or any kind of regional manifestation. On the contrary, Mughal architecture under Babur was just a beginning of an imperial movement, impressed only by local influences, as it displayed similar uniformity in its architectural character, as well as in its structural principles in whichever part of the empire it was inaugurated. These elegant styles evolved gradually due to the presence of exceedingly skilled local artisans in those provinces possessing potential indigenous cultures. Mughal architecture in India thus began to comprehend the flourishing in the true sense during 16th century, in the regime of the first Mughal emperor, Babur.
Mughal architecture during Babur was indeed that redefined phase, which saw the most able chiselling of gardens, fondly referred to as Baghs in Urdu. Babur constructed several mosques around India, mostly taken from the desecrated Hindu temples. He constructed a series of buildings which mixed the pre-existing Hindu particulars with the influence of traditional Muslim designs which was practiced in Turks and Persian culture. In spite of his admiration for Indian craftsmen, Babur was quite concerned that the overall design of his structures in India should be modelled upon Khurasani, that is, Timurid illustrations. Such models, were in all probability, followed in the design of one structure in the Agra
Hasht Behisht garden. Although it is only acknowledged now from textual explanation, it seems to have had a large Pishtaq on each of four sides, connecting galleries and four small interior chambers.
Babur had constructed several mosques around India, mostly taken from the desecrated Hindu temples. Babur had created umpteen fine Tombs, Mosques, Madrassas and numerous beautiful Gardens in every palace and province, which still bear the glory of Mughal architecture during Babur's reign. The Jama Masjid
at Sambhal, and Babri Mosque
, built by Babur, still bears the testimony of the development of architecture during Babur. The style represents the creativity of Islamic architecture and was the founding base of Mughal architecture with the amalgamation of Persian culture with Hindu culture.
Among the Mughal architectures of Babur's time that survive to this date are- one imperially sponsored mosque and two others constructed by nobles under Babur's orders. These were all built during the final years of his reign.
The mosque that Babur himself provided is located in Panipat
, presently placed in Karnal District
State. Inscriptions indicate that the mosque was well set into motion, if not finished, by the end of 1527 and its gate, well and garden were completed by 1528. But the location of the mosque is known as the garden eventually eroded. However, the building's colossal size suggests that the mosque, rather than the garden, dominated the complex.
One of the mosques constructed by nobles under Babur's orders is at Sambhal, approximately 140 km east of Delhi. It was constructed in 1526 by Mir Hindu Beg, a key noble in the court of both Babur and Humayun
. Built a year before Babur's Kabuli Bagh mosque
in Panipat, the Sambhal mosque is the first surviving Mughal building in India. The complex is entered through a gate on the east that opens to a huge walled courtyard. The prayer chamber, resembling the one of the Panipat mosque, is rectangular with a large square central bay. Its entrance is set into a high Pishtaq. The chamber is flanked on both sides by three-bayed double-aisled side wings. A single dome surmounts the central bay and a small flat dome surmounts each bay of the side wings. The mosque's Pishtaq and other features resembling 15th century Sharqi structures, intimates a potential dependence on local artisans and designers.
A second mosque possibly built in response to Babur's general orders, stands at Ayodhya, today in Faizabad district
, on the banks of the Ghaghara River
. This very Mughal architecture during Babur is however the most arresting of the illustrations present in India in contemporary times, acknowledged as the Babri Masjid. Unlike the other mosques built under Babur's aegis, this one at Ayodhya is a single-aisled three-bayed kind. It is also however considerably smaller than the other two. The central bay's Pishtaq is much higher than the flanking side bays, but all three bays incorporate arched entrances. Most of the Babri Mosque is stucco-covered, over a rubble or brick core, but carved black stone columns from a pre-12th century temple are embedded onto both sides of the central entrance porch. The mosque is surmounted by three prominent domes. Babri Mosque, amidst its colossal existence, breathes the sighs of history, whilst reflecting the development of Mughal architecture during Babur's regime.
It was constructed in an enclosed courtyard in the traditional Western Asia hypostyle plan and was an amalgamation of the Hindu architecture with that of Western Asian style. Central courtyard of the mosque is surrounded by lavishly arched columns overlaid to increase the height of the ceilings. The amazing architecture of their craftsmanship is noticeable in the design of vegetal scrolls and lotus patterns.
Babur ruled India for less than 5 years before his unfortunate death in December, 1530. Although he had reigned for only a short time, he was the man to have introduced Timurid architectural concepts and most importantly, the rationally organised four-part paradise garden, a factor which was to forever be omnipresent in Mughal architecture, not only during Babur, but also his successors. Four rulers of this dynasty after Babur - Humayun
and Shah Jahan
played a major role in the further development of Mughal architecture.