Indian History :Islamic And The Mughal Architecture

 

With the advent of Islam, the erstwhile Indian architecture was slightly adapted to allow the traditions of the new religion, but it remained strongly Indian at its heart and character. Arches and domes began to be used and the mosque or masjid too began to form part of the landscape, adding to a new experience in form and space. The fundamental difference lay in the fact that Islam prohibited idol worship and therefore a concentrated point of focus such as the garbhagriha was unnecessary. However, the mihrab on the Western wall of the sanctuary articulating the Qibla or the direction towards Mecca offered a notional focus. As idolatory was prohibited, the main means of adornment was surface decoration through the use of geometry, arabesque and calligraphy. Later, mosques began to be built with original material. The Jami masjid at Delhi is a representative example of an Indian mosque. Islamic architecture was also represented by distinct regional styles that drew a lot of inspiration from the local context. 

The most famous Islamic buildings in India emerged during the Mughal period. Mughal architecture built on the traditional  Hindu architecture with influences from the  Persian world. Over time, Hindu and Islamic architecture produced a synthesis that is exemplified in the glorious production of Akbar- the city of Fatehpur Sikri, considered by many to be superior to the Taj Mahal (often seen as representing India) in terms of what it has to teach to civilisation- syncretism, tolerance and the best of different worlds, and the Taj itself, renowned for its beauty in white marble, its intricate engravings, its minarets and its setting.

The most popular Islamic building type in India is the tomb or the mausoleum which evolved from the basic cube and  hemisphere vocabulary of  the early phase into a more elaborate form during the Mughal period where multiple chambers are present and tombs were set in a garden known as the charbagh. The tomb chamber houses the ceno taph below which is the grave. Well known examples are the Gol Gumbaz, Bijapur and the Taj Mahal, Agra.

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