Explore The Unique Architecture!!

MUGHAL ARCHITECTURE

“Mughal architecture, building style that flourished in northern and central India under the patronage of the Mughal emperors from the mid-16th to the late 17th century. The Mughal period marked a striking revival of Islamic architecture in northern India. Under the patronage of the Mughal emperors, Persian, Indian, and various provincial styles were fused to produce works of unusual quality and refinement.”

Source- Encyclopaedia Britannica

Mughal: ART & architecture

Excellent combination of local and foreign characteristics

Mughal architecture is the type of Indo-Islamic architecture developed by the Mughals in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries in the Indian subcontinent. It is characterized by its symmetry, geometrical shapes, and detailed ornamentation. Typical elements include the use of pointed arches, the bulbous domes, magnificent minarets with cupolas at the four corners, large halls, and enormous gateways. It is an amalgam of Islamic, Persian, Turkish and Indian architecture.

 

The Mughal rulers built magnificent gates, forts,gardens, mausoleums, mosques, public buildings and tombs etc. The Mughals gardens were constructed in the Persian charbagh style, divided by walkways or flowing water. The layout is based on the four gardens of Paradise mentioned in the Qur’an. This style is intended to create a representation of an earthly utopia in which humans co-exist in perfect harmony with all elements of nature.

 

One of the important distinguishing features of the Mughal buildings is their ornamentation using costly articles. Mughals extensively used red sandstone and white marble in a perfect  bilateral symmetry. For the construction of domes and arches baked brick was used that was covered with plaster or facing stones. 

Mughal architecture is the type of Indo-Islamic architecture developed by the Mughals in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries in the Indian subcontinent. It is characterized by its symmetry, geometrical shapes, and detailed ornamentation. Typical elements include the use of pointed arches, the bulbous domes, magnificent minarets with cupolas at the four corners, large halls, and enormous gateways. It is an amalgam of Islamic, Persian, Turkish and Indian architecture.

 

The Mughal rulers built magnificent gates, forts,gardens, mausoleums, mosques, public buildings and tombs etc. The Mughals gardens were constructed in the Persian charbagh style, divided by walkways or flowing water. The layout is based on the four gardens of Paradise mentioned in the Qur’an. This style is intended to create a representation of an earthly utopia in which humans co-exist in perfect harmony with all elements of nature.

 

One of the important distinguishing features of the Mughal buildings is their ornamentation using costly articles. Mughals extensively used red sandstone and white marble in a perfect  bilateral symmetry. For the construction of domes and arches baked brick was used that was covered with plaster or facing stones. 

Early Mughal architecture

Babar was the founder of the Mughal dynasty. He ruled over India from 1526 to 1530. During his first campaign in 1519, Babur crossed the Indus river and was struck by the beauty of the Kallar Kahar lake and the Salt Range in the background. The site lies 20 miles (ten kos) north of Bhera and five miles from Malot. It enjoys a good climate, hills, a large lake, peacocks and an abundance of locat trees. Babur described it as a very charming place with good air. He laid out the Bagh-e Safa on the southwest side of the lake. Traces of this garden still exist, including a rock-cut platform (Takht-i Babri) approached by steps, which was used for sitting.
Since Babar was not impressed by Indian architecture and he remained busy in expanding his territory he did not concentrate on constructing buildings of architectural value but he paved the way for a glorious empire known for its architecture. Nevertheless, he sent for the pupils of Sinan the noted Albanian architect to work with Indian craftsmen whose skills he had appreciated. As Babur recorded in his ‘Memories’, he employed 680 workmen and 1491 stone cutters daily on his various buildings in India. He constructed two mosques one after his victory over Ibrahim Lodhi, at Panipat succeeded by another called the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya (India).

Babar was the founder of the Mughal dynasty. He ruled over India from 1526 to 1530. During his first campaign in 1519, Babur crossed the Indus river and was struck by the beauty of the Kallar Kahar lake and the Salt Range in the background. The site lies 20 miles (ten kos) north of Bhera and five miles from Malot. It enjoys a good climate, hills, a large lake, peacocks and an abundance of locat trees. Babur described it as a very charming place with good air. He laid out the Bagh-e Safa on the southwest side of the lake. Traces of this garden still exist, including a rock-cut platform (Takht-i Babri) approached by steps, which was used for sitting.

Since Babar was not impressed by Indian architecture and he remained busy in expanding his territory he did not concentrate on constructing buildings of architectural value but he paved the way for a glorious empire known for its architecture. Nevertheless, he sent for the pupils of Sinan the noted Albanian architect to work with Indian craftsmen whose skills he had appreciated. As Babur recorded in his ‘Memories’, he employed 680 workmen and 1491 stone cutters daily on his various buildings in India. He constructed two mosques one after his victory over Ibrahim Lodhi, at Panipat succeeded by another called the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya (India).

Art & Architecture: during Humayun Reign(1530–1540 and 1555–1556)

Beginning of the Mughal School of Painting

ADVENTURE WITH HAMZA Pictures DISPLAYED AT MAK Museum Vienna

For more details, visit The Mak Museum Vienna

Mughal painting was essentially a court art; it developed under the patronage of the ruling Mughal emperors and began to decline when the rulers lost interest. The subjects treated were generally secular, consisting of illustrations to historical works and Persian and Indian literature, portraits of the emperor and his court, studies of natural life, and genre scenes.

 

Humayun’s troubled reign did not allow him enough opportunity to give full play to his artistic temperament. However, when he was in exile in Tabriz in the Safavid court of Shah Tahmasp I of Persia, he was exposed to Persian miniature painting and commissioned at least one work there (or in Kabul), an unusually large painting on cloth of Princes of the House of Timur, now in the British Museum. When Humayun returned to India, he brought two accomplished Persian artists Abd al-Samad and Mir Sayyid Ali with him. That was the beginnings of Mughal Painting School in India. Humayun’s major known commission was a Khamsa of Nizami with 36 illuminated pages, in which the different styles of the various artists are mostly still apparent. Apart from the London painting, he also commissioned at least two miniatures showing himself with family members, a type of subject that was rare in Persia but common among the Mughals. The earliest and most important undertaking of the school was a series of large miniatures of the Dastan-e Amir កamzah, undertaken during the reign of Akbar (1556–1605), which, when completed, numbered some 1,400 illustrations of an unusually large size (22 by 28 inches [56 by 71 cm]). Of the 200 or so that have survived, the largest number are in the Austrian Museum of Applied Art in Vienna.Even then he constructed the palace of ‘Din-i-Panah’ in Delhi which was probably destroyed by Sher Shah. Humayun constructed some mosques at Agra and Hissar.

ADVENTURE WITH HAMZA Pictures DISPLAYED AT MAK Museum Vienna

For more details, visit The Mak Museum Vienna

Mughal painting was essentially a court art; it developed under the patronage of the ruling Mughal emperors and began to decline when the rulers lost interest. The subjects treated were generally secular, consisting of illustrations to historical works and Persian and Indian literature, portraits of the emperor and his court, studies of natural life, and genre scenes.

 

Humayun’s troubled reign did not allow him enough opportunity to give full play to his artistic temperament. However, when he was in exile in Tabriz in the Safavid court of Shah Tahmasp I of Persia, he was exposed to Persian miniature painting and commissioned at least one work there (or in Kabul), an unusually large painting on cloth of Princes of the House of Timur, now in the British Museum. When Humayun returned to India, he brought two accomplished Persian artists Abd al-Samad and Mir Sayyid Ali with him. That was the beginnings of Mughal Painting School in India. Humayun’s major known commission was a Khamsa of Nizami with 36 illuminated pages, in which the different styles of the various artists are mostly still apparent. Apart from the London painting, he also commissioned at least two miniatures showing himself with family members, a type of subject that was rare in Persia but common among the Mughals. The earliest and most important undertaking of the school was a series of large miniatures of the Dastan-e Amir កamzah, undertaken during the reign of Akbar (1556–1605), which, when completed, numbered some 1,400 illustrations of an unusually large size (22 by 28 inches [56 by 71 cm]). Of the 200 or so that have survived, the largest number are in the Austrian Museum of Applied Art in Vienna.Even then he constructed the palace of ‘Din-i-Panah’ in Delhi which was probably destroyed by Sher Shah. Humayun constructed some mosques at Agra and Hissar.

Mughal architecture: during Akbar`s reign (1556-1605)

Mughal architecture gained prominence during the rule of Akbar. His style was unique. The first major works of Mughal architecture were constructed during the reign of Akbar the Great (1556–1605). He commissioned palaces, gardens, mosques, and mausoleums that were mostly designed by Persian architects. Most of Akbar`s buildings are in red sandstone which is a blend of Muslim and Hindu characteristics of architecture. He constructed octagonal chambers, which is joined by an elegantly facade archway, surmounted by cupolas, kiosks. Akbar’s greatest architectural achievement was the construction of Fatehpur Sikri, his capital city near Agra in India.

 

The Tomb of Salim Chishti is famed as one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture in India, built during the years 1580 and 1581. The mausoleum, constructed by Akbar as a mark of his respect for the Sufi saint, who foretold the birth of his son.

 

It contained some of the most beautiful buildings – both religious and secular which testify to the Emperor’s aim of achieving social, political and religious integration. The main religious buildings were the huge Jama Masjid and small Tomb of Salim Chisti. Buland Darwaza, also known as the Gate of Magnificence, was built by Akbar in 1576 to commemorate his victory over Gujarat and the Deccan.

 

 

The present design and structure of the Lahore Fort traces its origins to 1575, when the Mughal Emperor Akbar occupied the site as a post to guard the northwest frontier of the empire.The strategic location of Lahore, between the Mughal territories and the strongholds of Kabul, Multan, and Kashmir necessitated the dismantling of the old mud-fort and fortification with solid brick masonry. Lofty palaces were built over time, along with lush gardens. Notable Akbar period structures included the Doulat Khana-e-Khas-o-Am, Jharoka-e-Darshan, and Akbari Gate. Many Akbari structures were modified or replaced by subsequent rulers.

Mughal architecture gained prominence during the rule of Akbar. His style was unique. The first major works of Mughal architecture were constructed during the reign of Akbar the Great (1556–1605). He commissioned palaces, gardens, mosques, and mausoleums that were mostly designed by Persian architects. Most of Akbar`s buildings are in red sandstone which is a blend of Muslim and Hindu characteristics of architecture. He constructed octagonal chambers, which is joined by an elegantly facade archway, surmounted by cupolas, kiosks. Akbar’s greatest architectural achievement was the construction of Fatehpur Sikri, his capital city near Agra in India.

The Tomb of Salim Chishti is famed as one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture in India, built during the years 1580 and 1581. The mausoleum, constructed by Akbar as a mark of his respect for the Sufi saint, who foretold the birth of his son.

It contained some of the most beautiful buildings – both religious and secular which testify to the Emperor’s aim of achieving social, political and religious integration. The main religious buildings were the huge Jama Masjid and small Tomb of Salim Chisti. Buland Darwaza, also known as the Gate of Magnificence, was built by Akbar in 1576 to commemorate his victory over Gujarat and the Deccan.

The present design and structure of the Lahore Fort traces its origins to 1575, when the Mughal Emperor Akbar occupied the site as a post to guard the northwest frontier of the empire.The strategic location of Lahore, between the Mughal territories and the strongholds of Kabul, Multan, and Kashmir necessitated the dismantling of the old mud-fort and fortification with solid brick masonry. Lofty palaces were built over time, along with lush gardens. Notable Akbar period structures included the Doulat Khana-e-Khas-o-Am, Jharoka-e-Darshan, and Akbari Gate. Many Akbari structures were modified or replaced by subsequent rulers.

Mughal architecture: during Jahangir`s reign

The age of Mughal Splendor 1605-1627)

Jahangir (1569-1627), the fourth Mughal Emperor of India and patron of the arts, ruled over India for 22 years.

 

Jahangir—an emperor who loved painting, architecture, and the fine arts. His favourite wife Nur Jahan (“Light of the World”) was surrounded by Persian poets, artists, architects, and musicians at Agra.

 

He built the tomb of his chief minister Itimad-ud-daulah in 1628, at Agra which was decorated with white marble, embellished with red sandstone inlaid with marble motifs.He also bulit the Shalimar Gardens at Srinagar distinguished by a series of pavilions on carved pillars, surrounded by pools with seats which can only be reached by stepping stones.

 

Jahangir added the Kala Burj pavilion in Lahore Fort which features European-inspired angels on its vaulted ceiling. British visitors to the fort noted Christian iconography during the Jahangir period, with paintings of the Madonna and Jesus found in the fort complex.

 

He also added the massive Picture Wall, which is exquisitely decorated with a vibrant array of glazed tile, faience mosaics, and frescoes. On the spandrels of the large arched panels below Jahangir’s Khwabgah (the Imperial Bedchamber) are azdahas or winged dragons from ancient Persian mythology, cup-bearing angel figures herons, cranes and other flying birds. Many of the scenes displayed on this ‘Picture Wall’ illustrate the court life of the Mughal sovereigns, their sports and their pastimes. One of the finest panels shows four horsemen playing the noble game of chaughan, nowadays known as polo. Most prominent are those relating to elephant fights, which were one of the favourite recreations of the Mughal court.

 

 

The Hiran Minar at Sheikhupura was built at the site of a game reserve in honour of Mughal Emperor Jahangir’s beloved antelope named Mansraj. The complex includes minaret stands 110 metres tall. The sides of the minar are inscribed with a eulogy to the pet antelope. A massive rectangular water-tank pool measuring 229 metres by 273 metres lies at the heart of the complex. An octagonal pavilion built during the reign of Shah Jahan is at the centre of the pool. Unique features of this particular complex are the antelope’s grave and the distinctive water collection system. At each corner of the tank (approximately 750 by 895 feet (273 m) in size), is a small, square building and a subsurface water collection system which supplied the water tank; only one of these water systems is only extensively exposed today.Mansur and Manohar were among his famous painters. Jahangir, who resided at Lahore, built less than his predecessors but effected the significant change from sandstone to marble in his monuments of architecture.

Jahangir (1569-1627), the fourth Mughal Emperor of India and patron of the arts, ruled over India for 22 years.

Jahangir—an emperor who loved painting, architecture, and the fine arts. His favourite wife Nur Jahan (“Light of the World”) was surrounded by Persian poets, artists, architects, and musicians at Agra.

He built the tomb of his chief minister Itimad-ud-daulah in 1628, at Agra which was decorated with white marble, embellished with red sandstone inlaid with marble motifs.He also bulit the Shalimar Gardens at Srinagar distinguished by a series of pavilions on carved pillars, surrounded by pools with seats which can only be reached by stepping stones.

Jahangir added the Kala Burj pavilion in Lahore Fort which features European-inspired angels on its vaulted ceiling. British visitors to the fort noted Christian iconography during the Jahangir period, with paintings of the Madonna and Jesus found in the fort complex.

He also added the massive Picture Wall, which is exquisitely decorated with a vibrant array of glazed tile, faience mosaics, and frescoes. On the spandrels of the large arched panels below Jahangir’s Khwabgah (the Imperial Bedchamber) are azdahas or winged dragons from ancient Persian mythology, cup-bearing angel figures herons, cranes and other flying birds. Many of the scenes displayed on this ‘Picture Wall’ illustrate the court life of the Mughal sovereigns, their sports and their pastimes. One of the finest panels shows four horsemen playing the noble game of chaughan, nowadays known as polo. Most prominent are those relating to elephant fights, which were one of the favourite recreations of the Mughal court.

The Hiran Minar at Sheikhupura was built at the site of a game reserve in honour of Mughal Emperor Jahangir’s beloved antelope named Mansraj. The complex includes minaret stands 110 metres tall. The sides of the minar are inscribed with a eulogy to the pet antelope. A massive rectangular water-tank pool measuring 229 metres by 273 metres lies at the heart of the complex. An octagonal pavilion built during the reign of Shah Jahan is at the centre of the pool. Unique features of this particular complex are the antelope’s grave and the distinctive water collection system. At each corner of the tank (approximately 750 by 895 feet (273 m) in size), is a small, square building and a subsurface water collection system which supplied the water tank; only one of these water systems is only extensively exposed today.Mansur and Manohar were among his famous painters. Jahangir, who resided at Lahore, built less than his predecessors but effected the significant change from sandstone to marble in his monuments of architecture.

Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur (1483-1530)
Nasir-ud-din Muhammad Humayun (1508-1556)
Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar (1542-1605)
Nur-ud-din Muhammad Salim Jahangir (156901627)
Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Shah Jahan (1592-1666)

SHALAMAR GARDENS (1642)

Constructed during the reign of the fifth Mughal emperor Shahjehan in 1642.  In 1981 the Shalimar Gardens were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Shah Jahan (1628–58) Reign: the ‘Golden Age of Mughal Architecture’

“As it was the proud statement of Augustus that he found Rome built of bricks and left it of marble, similarly Shah Jahan had found the Mughal cities of stones, he left them of marble”.

Percy Brown

Jahangir Tomb built by ShahJahan (1637,)
Shalamar Gardens Lahore
Roof of the recently restored Shahi Hammam.
Masjid Wazir Khan Lahore

“Shah Jahan’s buildings combine firmness and vastness with beauty and delicacy. They possess the lustre of a gem and light of the moon”

Shah Jahan’s period is usually called the ‘Golden Age of Mughal Architecture’ and he is given the titles of ‘Prince among the Builders’ and ‘Engineer King’. His most important and impressive buildings are the Taj Mahal, Jama Masjid, Shalamar Gardens and Jahangir Tomb Lahore. Shah Jahan mostly made use of marble in place of red stone. The Shalamar Gardens World Heritage Site was built in the form of form of a rectangle aligned along a north–south axis. The square shaped terraces were both divided into four equivalent smaller squares by long fountains (140) flanked by brick khayaban walkways designed to be elevated in order to provide better views of the garden.

 

Shah Jahan also renovated buildings such as the Moti Masjid, Sheesh Mahal and Naulakha pavilion, which are all enclosed in the Lahore Fort. He also built a mosque in Lahore called Wazir Khan Mosque, by Shaikh Ilm-ud-din Ansari who was the physician to the emperor. It is famous for its rich embellishment which covers almost every interior surface. Nearby Shahi Hammam was constructed. Shah Jahan also built the mausoleum 10 years after his father’s death. The tomb has state of the art architecture and is the finest ornament of historical Lahore. Red sand stone and marble is extensively used with its facade adorned in fine-looking marble motifs and floral patterns. The interior is embellished with floral frescos. The ninety nine attributes of Allah are also engraved here.

TOURS THROUGH THE ARCHITECTURE OF LAHORE

TDCP offers the best opportunity to explore the treasure of  Mughal architectural in Lahore and nearby cities. Visit iconic Lahore Fort and beautiful Shalamar Gardens, listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Diverse geography, rulers, religions, culture jointly represent into a fascinating mosaic of architecture. The Mughal emperors Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan have  contributed to the monumental architecture. Number of forts, havelis, mosques, and tombs are worth seeing. In addition to that you may witness the dazzling specimens of Colonial and Sikh heritage. Our tours with architects are private and customized for each client.