(Last Updated on : 29/07/2013)
The features of Mughal architecture includes perfect or near perfect radial or bilateral symmetry, red sandstone with white marble inlays, later pure white marble surfaces, geometric ornament, domes which are slightly pointed instead of hemispherical ones and garden surroundings. In addition to the fine-cut stone masonry used for facades coursed rubble stone construction was used for the majority of walls. For the construction of domes and arches baked brick was also used although this was usually covered with plaster or facing stones. The design of gardens is one of the most important aspects of Mughal architecture which provided the setting for tombs and palaces and also helped for relaxation.
The decoration of the buildings was basically done with ceramic tilework, pietra dura inlay with coloured and semi-precious stones, carved and inlaid stonework. Carved stonework is another interesting feature in the Mughal architecture, ranging from shallow relief depictions of flowers to intricate pierced-marble screens known as jalis. The stone quite often associated with the Mughal architecture is white marble, which can be seen in the magnificence of the Taj Mahal.
There is the existence of various influences of the Persian and Hindu architecture in the Mughal architecture. The trabeate stone construction, shallow arches made out of corbels rather than voussoirs and richly ornamented carved piers and columns are some typical Hindu features that have been incorporated in the Mughal architecture. Other constructions like the chhatris- a domed kiosk resting on pillars, chajjas and jarokhas- a projecting balcony supported on corbels with a hood resting on columns became a part of the Mughal characteristics. Extensive use of tilework, the iwan as a central feature in mosques, the charbagh or garden, divided into four and the four-centre point arch and the use of domes are the features borrowed from the Persian architecture.
Mughal Architecture that flourished in medieval India can also be termed as the Indo-Islamic architecture. Hindu architecture was modified and elements of spaciousness, immensity and extent were incorporated by the Mughal architecture. The kalash on top of the Hindu temple was borrowed and replaced by a dome and also the Hindu style of decoration used by them for the decoration of their arches. Mughal architecture no doubts occupies a grand position in the history of Indian architecture. Exquisite monuments like the Taj Mahal, Qutub Minar, Alai Darwaza, Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque, Vithala temple, Tughlaqabad Fort, Kirti Stambha, FatehpuSikri, Agra Fort, Red Fort etc have glorified India.
The Mughal dynasty has gifted India with the premium and the most extravagant architecture and works of art in the overall history of Muslim dynasties. Traces of Mughal architecture can be found in Indian buildings even at present. These buildings have domes and indentures. The empire provided a protected framework or structure for the flourishing of artistic pursuit and the rulers supplied mammoth wealth in these arenas. Even the Mughal rulers were themselves patrons of art and they overpowered all architectural legacies in India. They overawed the people with their power, wealth and charisma. The whole Mughal architecture is a fine combination of so many local and foreign characteristics, which associates it universally with many distinct forms of architecture. These are also a source of inspiration to many other forms of architecture with different cultural background. Prevalence of Mughal architecture has placed India on a global podium making it identifiable to people far and wide.