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The trade of Delhi sultanates and their wonderful architectures

Updated on March 20, 2016

Handicrafts in period


Produce of Cheppals


Mughal handicrafts


The trade of Delhi Sultans

The establishment of the Delhi Sultanate accelerated the process of urbanization, increased the volume of India's trade with Central and West Asia and boosted handicrafts production. The Turko – Afghan immigrants into the country were in the habit of wearing more clothes than was the practice in large parts of India. The demand created by them led to increased cloth production and skilled weavers migrate from villages to settle in towns. The development of cities also encouraged brick production and professions like those of stone carvers, bricklayers and stone masons. Blacksmiths were required in large number to make weapons as well as tools used by other craftsmen. Swords made in India became famous in Central and West Asia during this period. The expansion of overseas and overland trade during the period also led to increased demand for precious and semi – precious stones, fine cloth and jewellery made in India.

The sultan used to set up huge workshops known as karkhanis (industries) for production of luxury items which they required for their courts and harems, slaves were employed in large numbers in such karkhanis.


Extensive trade was carried out over land and sea during the sultanate period. The main centres of trade were Delhi, Lahore, Daulatabad, Lakhnauti, etc. Moreover, it also traded with countries like China, Malaya archipelago, Indonesia and east Africa, etc. The conquest of India by the Turks opened the caravan routes between India and Central Asia. Hoards of coins of the Delhi Sultans have been found in excavations not only in central Asia also from places in Russia. Caravan trade between India and Central Asia declined after the Mongol conquest and destruction of many Central and West Asian cities but the sea – trade continued to flourish. Gujarat and Golconda became the richest states of the period mainly due to their overseas trade.

Mahmud Ghazni


indo islamic architecture


Art and architecture

The establishment of Muslim rule in the greater part of India began with the invasion of the country by Mahmud Ghaznavi, the Turkish ruler of Ghazni (Afghanistan) about two centuries after the Arab conquest of Sindh.

The Arab were a nomadic people had their folk-tales but not a memorable literary heritage or building tradition. But, with the rise of Muslim, Arabic became a literary language. Initially, it was used for writing commentaries on the Quran, biographies of the Prophet and works on Muslim law. With the expansion of the Arabic empire, they came in contact with two of the most advanced civilizations of the medieval world - the Byzantine and the Persian. Arab literary activity as well as their art and architecture was deeply influenced by both those civilization.

Art and architecture

The Arabs learnt the technology and the use of arches, domes and pillars from the Byzantines. From the Persians they learnt the use of intricate geometric designs and the use of colour as decorative features in buildings. These features were then used in the building of mosques, mausoleums, palaces, schools and hospitals. The Arabs were quite receptive to new ideas and forms of art that were prevalent in the different regions that they had conquered. This led to a combination of different regional elements with the basic forms of Muslim architecture and resulted in the development of many regional styles like the Persian, Central Asian. Spanish and Indo – Islamic. Subsequently, medieval European art and architecture was also influenced by Arab forms and decorative features.

The use of geometrical or non – natural designs in decoration in medieval European art is known as `arabesque' and richly decorated building styles are known as `baroque', both words being associated with Arab influence. Thus the lasting impact of Islam on art and architecture consisted in a synthesis of different regional styles which then spread to Central and West Asia, Africa, Europe and India.

indo islamic architecture



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