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The Muslims popularized the use of the true arch India

Updated on March 6, 2016

Hindu and Muslim styles of architecture


the Mughal architecture


Akbar tomb


Hindu and Muslim styles of architecture

Minars and minarets

Minarets, in the beginning, were constructed for muazzin to call the Muslims for prayers but later on minarets assumed a more architectural character.

Arches, value and domes

The Muslims popularized the use of the true arch India. An arch is a curved structure formed of wedge – shaped blocks of bricks or stone held together by mutual pressure and supported only at the sides. The introduction of the arches replaced flat lintels or corbelled ceilings. The pyramidal roof spire came to be replaced by a dome. A dome is a complex covering, usually hemispherical or semi elliptical, over a circular or polygonal space.

Buland Darwaza is a colossal triumphal arch which was built in 1575 on the southern wall of the courtyard. It celebrates Akbar's conquest of Gujarat. The towering portal has he height of 176 feet from ground level and 134 feet over the top step.. the grand recessed central arch is the most magnificent of its kind in the entire range of Mughal architecture in India. Besides, the building known as Jodha Bais palace is also one of the interesting buildings of Fatehpur Sikri. It was the residence of the princes of Amber who was Jahangir's mother. It has very richly carved interior walls and the structures within incorporate some features of pre – Islamic buildings.


The Muslim custom of the burial of the dead, as district from cremation practised by the Hindus, introduced the tomb. A tomb is usually a domed chamber with a `mihrab' in the western wall and the real grave in an underground chamber. However, bigger tombs had a mosque also and the whole structure was laid the middle of a sprawling lawn, as in the case of Humayun's tomb.

Mode and theme of ornamentation

Ornamentation decoration was common to both Hindu and Muslim styles of architecture. But there were vital differences in the modes and themes of ornamentation.

The Hindu style of ornamentation was largely naturalistic, showing human and animal forms and luxuriant vegetation. For the Muslims, the representation of living beings was too. So they introduced geometrical patterns, ornamental writing (calligraphy), inlay work, glazed tiles, carved screens and formal representation of plant and floral life. They also made extensive use of gilding and painting in varied colours and designs.

Indo-Islamic Architecture


Indo – Islamic schools of architecture


The Indo – Islamic schools of architecture

The coming of Muslims had a profound impact on India architecture. The style of architecture during this period evolved from the synthesis of the styles and techniques of Central Asia, Persia and Pre – Islamic India. This new style is generally described as the Indo – Islamic architecture. The new styles of architecture that came to be evolved incorporated not only certain new modes and principles but also reflected the religious and social needs of the Muslims. The Muslims religious practices require the gathering of a large number of believers at one place to offer collective prayers or namaz. Therefore, Muslims mosques have large open quadrangles for the purpose. As the Muslims bury their dead, it led to the evolution of a form of funerary architecture known as the tomb or mausoleum.

Some of the prominent new elements of architecture introduced by the Muslims were -

The Muslims made structures which were open, airy and spacious. The differences become clear on examination of the general layout and construction of a Hindu temple and a Muslims mosque. The prayer chamber of the temple is small, dark and closed. A cell to house the image of the deity (Garbhagriha) and often small halls in the front for the worshippers were regarded adequate for a Hindu temple. This was natural because in the Hindu form of worship each individual makes his offerings and says prayers to the deity individually. The Islamic form of worship, on the other hand, with its emphasis on collective prayer by large numbers of people, required a spacious place.

The main features of a mosque are-

1) A large courtyard or sehan. 2) An alcove or recess called mihrab in the western wall of the hall. 3) a pulpit or mimbar to the right of the mihrab for the Imam. 4) A minar (tower) for the muazzin to give out the call for prayer. 5) Hauz or tank of water for washing.

Minars and minarets

Minarets, in the beginning, were constructed for the muazzin to call the Muslims for prayers but later on minarets assume a more architectural character.


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