Mughal architecture is the distinctive style developed by the Mughals. It is a combination of Islamic, Persian and Indian architecture. Babur (1526-1530 CE), the founder of the Mughal dynasty in India, made a beginning of the architectural style which was later developed on a massive scale by his grandson Akbar (1556-1605 CE) and Akbar’s grandson Shah Jehan (1628-1658 CE).
What marvellous line of Emperors these Mughals were, six of the greatest directly desecended sovereigns in the history of the world. Two at least, were men of genius of the very first rank. Babar, soldier and artist, conqueror of Afghanistan and India, prince of autobiographies and gardeners and his grandson Akbar, dreamer and statesman, are the noblest and most fascinating characters in all eastern history.
For the rest of them, Humayun certainly lost ground, but he passed on the kingdom to his son the Great Akbar. Jahangir, Akbar’s son, the great emperors greatest disappointment, still lives in his country’s song and legend in the strength of his romantic life-long love for Nur Mahal, his queen. Shah Jahan, the Great administrator, ranks high, as must any king who inspires and builds a nation masterpiece and no less for that even greater scheme, the dream of the second Taj, whose realisation fate and the emperor’s bigot son frustrated. But in spite of his fanaticism he extended the empire and held it together for fifty years. Then as his iron nerve and hand relaxed in death the great empires of the Mughal fell and with its downfall passed the greatest of the arts and crafts it fostered.
With constructional and instrumental techniques, norms and concepts, Mughal architecture grown from historical-culture, geo-physical background and a transparent evolutionary process that none was prior to it in medieval India. It had a duration for about 132 years practically from 1526 to 1658 in which Fatehpur Sikri in Agra, Lahore, Kashmir, Kabul, Delhi, Allahabad, Ajmer, Ahmedabad, Mandu and Burhanpur are its major centres. About 400 monuments of this style have survived including city-walls and gates, forts, palaces, tombs, masjids, hammams, gardens, minarets, tanks, bridges and the Taj Mahal.
Mughal’s architecture reflect a love for perfection, magnificent, ornamentation, dignity and luxury. At the time of Babur, the Indo-Saracens architecture had developed a distinct style of its own which could be called as primarily Indian. Babur brought Persian influence to India which continued under Humayun and Akbar.
The Emperor Akbar
The emperor Akbar (1556-1605 CE) built largely in which there is a combination of Muslim and Hindu features in his work. He constructed the royal city of Fatehpur Sikri at the west of Agra in the late 1500s. He built impressive tombs, which includes the tomb of Akbar’s father Humayun and Akbar’s tomb at Sikandra which has a unique structure.
Akbar’s architectural activity began with the palace fort at Agra, where more than five hundreds buildings of red stone were constructed. He collected artisans from all over parts of his dominions to fulfil his own self-expression. But, unfortunately, Shah Jahan did not think the red sandstone structures good enough for the imperial palace and he replaced most of them with buildings of his own choice.
Akbar, who having handed down political unity and stability to the country from his father, Humayun, could provide to devote both time and energy to the magnitude of the art of building. His love for universal tolerance was equally reflected in his buildings, where he allowed the Persian and the Indian to freely operate. The group of buildings at Fatehpur Sikri is the best examples of his regime’s architecture. The buildings equally reflect a harmonious blending of Persian and Indian styles. Its best examples are the Jama Masjid and the Buland Darwaza which is described as the most perfect architectural achievements of India. Akbar’s architecture used extensively red sandstone, construction of better doms, arches and portals, greater ornamentation and massive forts.
Under Jahangir (1605-1627 CE) the Hindu features vanished from the style. His great masjid at Lahore is in the Persian style. At Agra, accross the river Jumna, the tomb of Itmadu ad-Daula (the Lord High Treasurer) built entirely of white marble. It is the first example of marble work in a style which directly evolved from pietra-dura mosaic (the Persian tile-mosaics). It was raised by Nur Jahan to the memory of her father, Mirza Ghiyas Beg, and as testimony of her love for precision ornamentation. He also built the Shalimar gardens accompanied by pavilions on the shore of Dal lake in Kashmir. And due to his great love to his wife, after his death his wife went on to build his mausoleum in Lahore.
Akbar’s mausoleum was built in Jehangir’s time, though Jehangir’s main interests were painting and garden architecture. Verinag and Chasma’i Shahi are gardens built around the spring. The Jehangiri Mahal is a large complex of living appartments and represents the adaptation of a Hindu style of architecture to the Muslim style of living. The Delhi Gate, which the ........