Indo Islamic Architecture

The Ghurid occupation of India at the close of the 12 century A.D has shown the seeds of Indo-Islamic architecture in the Indian Subcontinent . The Muslims having inherited a wealth of varied designs from Sassanian and Byzantine empires and being naturally endowed with good taste for buildings, never failed to adapt to their own requirements the indigenous architecture of almost every foreign country that they conquered.

The most important factors common to both forms of architecture, especially in respect of mosques and temples, were that to both styles, ornamental decoration was very vital and that the open court in many cases was surrounded by colonnades. But the contrast was equally striking: the prayer chamber of the mosque was spacious, whereas the shrine of the temple was comparatively small.

The distinctive features of Indo-Islamic architecture were :-

(a) dome;

(b) lofty towers or minarets;

(c) arch; and

(d) the vault

The tomb architecture is also another feature of the Islamic architecture as the practice of the burial of the dead is adopted. The general pattern of the tomb architecture is consisted of a domed chamber (hujra), a cenotaph in its centre with a mihrab on the western wall and the real grave in the underground chamber.

The pietra dura or coloured stone inlay work on marble became very popular in the days of Shah Jahan

 and the finest examples of this type of work are available in the Red Fort in Delhi and the Taj Mahal at Agra. Besides, the structures within the Fatehpur Sikri complex, the forts at Agra and Lahore and the Shahi mosques in Delhi and Lahore are an important part of our heritage. During this period mosques, tombs of kings and dargahs came to
dominate the landscape.

The first distinct example of proper Mughal architecture inspired by Persian architecture, is the tomb of Humayun, in Delhi, built by his widow, Begha Begum. This tomb is important for a proper study of the development of later Mughal architecture and has provided the prototype, followed by architects who designed the Mausoleum of Jahangir at Shahdara, Lahore, as well as the celebrated Taj Mahal, at Agra.