ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Mughal Architecture

Updated on August 2, 2017
varsha bang profile image

Varsha is an enthusiast writer and loves to share informational content. She loves to write about Indian History.

The Mughals were great builders. Architecture reached the pinnacle of its glory in the Mughal period. The Mughal architecture is a mixture of the Islamic architecture of Central Asia and Hindu architecture of India. Architectural styles were borrowed from Persia but Hindu ideas were adopted so their style of architecture is known as the Indo-Persian style. Akbar was responsible for its origin and development.

Some of the basic features of Mughal architecture were the construction of round domes, high minarets, mihrabs, pillars of varied types, open courtyards, gardens, baolis, etc. During the early period, red sandstone was used for the construction of buildings and attempt was made to make them large and strong but during the later period, white marble replaced red stone and emphasis was laid on beautifying buildings with the help of colored designs, gold and silver plating and minute carvings.

Architecture Under Babur and Humayun

Babur was fond of constructing buildings. However, he constructed only small buildings like fountains, bathrooms, wells, etc. Most of them were destroyed. Only three mosques have been traced which were constructed by him. One of them is in Panipat, the second is in Sambhal and the third in Ayodhya. But none of these mosques have been regarded as a fine specimen of architecture. Humayun also could not contribute anything towards the growth of this art.

The mausoleum of Sher Shah which he himself got constructed at Sasaram in Bihar is a fine specimen of the architecture of this period.

Buland Darwaza
Buland Darwaza | Source

Architecture Under Akbar

Akbar built many forts and palaces. He employed designers and architects and gave them complete freedom to construct his buildings on the model of Hindu, Muslim or mixed art. The first building which was constructed during the reign of Akbar was the mausoleum of Humayun at Delhi. It was constructed by Humayun’s widow, Haji Begum. It clearly exhibits the influence of Persian art. The rest of the buildings constructed during his time were under the patronage of Akbar. He constructed the forts of Agra, Allahabad and Lahore and many buildings within these forts. His finest buildings were constructed at Fatehpur Sikri, the city which he himself established near Agra. Red stone was used for the construction of these buildings and Hindu and Islamic styles have been freely combined in their construction.

Diwan-i-aam, Diwan-i-khas, Panch Mahal, Khas Mahal, Jodha Bai Mahal, Hiran Mahal, Jami Masjid, Buland Darwaza, Ibadat Khana and Mausoleum of Shaikh Salim Chishti are a few buildings raised by Akbar at Fatehpur Sikri.

Agra Fort
Agra Fort
Fatehpur Sikri, Agra
Fatehpur Sikri, Agra

The Panch Mahal is a pyramidal structure of five storeys, each storey designed as an open pavilion supported on a cluster of pillars. The Jodha Bai Mahal gives us a hint concerning the life styles of the members of the royal household. The Jami Masjid at Fatehpur Sikri occupies a place among the most renowned mosques constructed in India. The Buland Darwaza was constructed to commemorate the victory of Akbar in Gujarat.

Thus, all buildings in Fatehpur Sikri are among the best buildings of the Mughal period in grandeur, beauty and art.

Itmad-ud-daulah's Tomb, Agra
Itmad-ud-daulah's Tomb, Agra | Source

Architecture Under Jahangir

Jahangir was more interested in painting than architecture. Therefore, he did not do much in this field. He completed the mausoleum of Akbar at Sikandra. He also built Moti Masjid and his own mausoleum at Lahore. The most important building constructed during the reign of Jahangir was the Tomb of Itmad-ud-daulah at Agra, father of Nur Jahan. It was made of white marble and has beautiful carvings which have been extensively done in every part. It is a double storey building and has an extensive garden around it. Jahangir was fond of gardens. He laid some very beautiful gardens in Kashmir such as Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh.

Red Fort, Delhi
Red Fort, Delhi | Source

Architecture Under Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb

Mughal architecture reached its perfection during the reign of Shah Jahan. Its style and spirit also changed which is clearly reflected in the striking contrast offered by their respective buildings. The manly vigor, simplicity and varied originality of Akbar’s buildings stand wide apart from the extreme grace and sumptuous appearance that characterize the pretty creations of Shah Jahan. Besides, red sandstone was substituted by white marble and other precious stones, maximum carvings were attempted and costly colors were used to beautify buildings.

Shah Jahan built Moti Masjid in Agra Fort. It is made of white marble and is as beautiful as a pearl. He also constructed the Red Fort at Delhi which is made of Red sandstone and other buildings namely Diwan-i-aam, Diwan-i-khas, Moti Mahal, Rang Mahal inside the Red Fort. He founded a new city called Shahjahanabad and constructed Jami Masjid at Delhi. But among all the buildings constructed by him, the best one is the Taj Mahal at Agra. He constructed this mausoleum on the grave of his beloved queen, Mumtaz Mahal. Its dome and four minarets are the chief glories of the beautiful mausoleum. The building is on the bank of river Yamuna and is surrounded by gardens. Designs in pietra dura are made on the outer walls. The main building has been constructed in pure white marble. Unesco writes the following about Taj Mahal," it is the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage." Shah Jahan also got built monuments in Kabul, Ajmer, Kandhar, Kashmir, Ahmedabad and other places as well. All these buildings have been regarded as fine specimens of Mughal architecture.

Aurangzeb had no interest in artistic skills. He only built a few mosques namely Moti Masjid in the Red Fort and Badshahi Masjid in Lahore. Bibi Ka Makbara was constructed during his reign which is the tomb of his wife Rabbia-ud-Daura in Aurangabad.

Taj Mahal, Agra
Taj Mahal, Agra | Source

Thus, architecture progressed well during the rule of the Mughals as a large number of mosques, mausoleums and other monuments were constructed. Mughal Architecture occupies a significant place in the history of Indian architecture and it also influenced the provincial architecture of its times. It was a mixture of Indian and foreign elements and produced a number of finest buildings in India.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)