The Info List - Indo-Islamic Architecture

Indo- Islamic architecture
Islamic architecture
is the architecture of the Indian subcontinent produced for Islamic patrons and purposes. Despite an earlier Muslim presence in Sindh
in modern Pakistan, its main history begins when Muhammad of Ghor
Muhammad of Ghor
made Delhi
a Muslim capital in 1193. Both the Delhi
Sultans and the Mughal dynasty
Mughal dynasty
that succeeded them came from Central Asia
Central Asia
via Afghanistan, and were used to a Central Asian style of Islamic architecture
Islamic architecture
that largely derived from Iran.[1] The types and forms of large buildings required by Muslim elites, with mosques and tombs much the most common, were very different from those previously built in India. The exteriors of both were very often topped by large domes, and made extensive use of arches. Both of these features were hardly used in Hindu temple architecture
Hindu temple architecture
and other native Indian styles. Both types of building essentially consisted of a single large space under a high dome, and completely avoided the figurative sculpture so important to Hindu temples.[2] Islamic buildings initially had to adapt the skills of a workforce trained in earlier Indian traditions to their own designs. Unlike most of the Islamic world, where brick tended to predominate, India had highly skilled builders very well used to producing stone masonry of extremely high quality.[3] As well as the main style developed in Delhi
and later Mughal centres, a variety of regional styles grew up, especially where there were local Muslim rulers. By the Mughal period, generally agreed to represent the peak of the style, aspects of Islamic style began to influence architecture made for Hindus, with even temples using scalloped arches, and later domes. This was especially the case in palace architecture. Indo- Islamic architecture
Islamic architecture
has left influences on modern Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi architecture, and was the main influence on the so-called Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture
Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture
introduced in the last century of the British Raj. Both secular and religious buildings are influenced by Indo- Islamic architecture
Islamic architecture
which exhibit Indian, Islamic, Persian, Central Asian, Arabic and Ottoman Turkish influences.


1 Architecture of the Delhi

1.1 Tughlaq architecture

2 Regional Muslim states before the Mughals

2.1 Bahmanids of the Deccan 2.2 Bengal

3 Mughal Architecture

3.1 Taj Mahal 3.2 Red Fort

4 See also 5 Notes 6 References 7 External links

Architecture of the Delhi

The Qutb Minar
Qutb Minar
(left, begun c. 1200) next to the Alai Darwaza gatehouse (1311); Qutb Complex
Qutb Complex
in Delhi

The best-preserved example of a mosque from the days of infancy of Islam
in South Asia
South Asia
is the ruined mosque at Banbhore
in Sindh, Pakistan, from the year 727, from which only the plan can be deduced.[4] The start of the Delhi
Sultanate in 1206 under Qutb al-Din Aibak introduced a large Islamic state to India, using Central Asian styles.[5] The important Qutb Complex
Qutb Complex
in Delhi
was begun under Muhammad of Ghor, by 1199, and continued under Qutb al-Din Aibakand and later sultans. The Quwwat-ul- Islam
Mosque, now a ruin, was the first structure. Like other early Islamic buildings it re-used elements such as columns from destroyed Hindu and Jain
temples, including one on the same site whose platform was reused. The style was Iranian, but the arches were still corbelled in the traditional Indian way.[6] Beside it is the extremely tall Qutb Minar, a minaret or victory column, whose original four stages reach 73 meters (with a final stage added later). Its closest comparator is the 62-metre all-brick Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan, of around 1190, a decade or so before the probable start of the Delhi
tower.[7] The surfaces of both are elaborately decorated with inscriptions and geometric patterns; in Delhi
the shaft is fluted with "superb stalactite bracketing under the balconies" at the top of each stage.[8] The Tomb of Iltutmish
was added by 1236; its dome, the squinches again corbelled, is now missing, and the intricate carving has been described as having an "angular harshness", from carvers working in an unfamiliar tradition.[9] Other elements were added to the complex over the next two centuries. Another very early mosque, begun in the 1190s, is the Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra in Ajmer, Rajasthan, built for the same Delhi
rulers, again with corbelled arches and domes. Here Hindu temple
Hindu temple
columns (and possibly some new ones) are piled up in threes to achieve extra height. Both mosques had large detached screens with pointed corbelled arches added in front of them, probably under Iltutmish
a couple of decades later. In these the central arch is taller, in imitation of an iwan. At Ajmer
the smaller screen arches are tentatively cusped, for the first time in India.[10]

Tomb of Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq
Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq
(d. 1325), Delhi

By around 1300 true domes and arches with voussoirs were being built; the ruined Tomb of Balban
Tomb of Balban
(d. 1287) in Delhi
may be the earliest survival.[11] The Alai Darwaza gatehouse at the Qutb complex, from 1311, still shows a cautious approach to the new technology, with very thick walls and a shallow dome, only visible from a certain distance or height. Bold contrasting colours of masonry, with red sandstone and white marble, introduce what was to become a common feature of Indo-Islamic architecture, substituting for the polychrome tiles used in Persia and Central Asia. The pointed arches come together slightly at their base, giving a mild horseshoe arch effect, and their internal edges are not cusped but lined with conventionalized "spearhead" projections, possibly representing lotus buds. Jali, stone openwork screens, are introduced here; they already had been long used in temples.[12] Tughlaq architecture[edit] The tomb of Shah Rukn-e-Alam (built 1320 to 1324) in Multan, Pakistan is a large octagonal brick-built mausoleum with polychrome glazed decoration that remains much closer to the styles of Iran
and Afghanistan. Timber is also used internally. This was the earliest major monument of the (Tughluq or) Tughlaq dynasty
Tughlaq dynasty
(1320–1413), built during the initial huge expansion of its territory, which could not be maintained. It was built for a Sufi saint
Sufi saint
rather than sultan, and most of the many Tughlaq tombs
Tughlaq tombs
are much less exuberant. The tomb of the founder of the dynasty, Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq
Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq
(d. 1325) is more austere, but impressive; like a Hindu temple, it is topped with a small amalaka and a round finial like a kalasha. Unlike the earlier buildings mentioned above, it completely lacks carved texts, and sits in a compound with high walls and battlements. Both these tombs have external walls sloping slightly inwards, by 25° in the Delhi
tomb, like many fortifications including the ruined Tughlaqabad Fort opposite the tomb, intended as the new capital.[13] The Tughlaqs had a corps of government architects and builders, and in this and other roles employed many Hindus. They left many buildings, and a standardized dynastic style.[14] The third sultan, Firuz Shah (r. 1351-88) is said to have designed buildings himself, and was the longest ruler and greatest builder of the dynasty. His Firoz Shah Palace Complex (started 1354) at Hisar, Haryana
is a ruin, but parts are in fair condition.[15] Some buildings from his reign take forms that had been rare or unknown in Islamic buildings.[16] He was buried in the large Hauz Khas Complex
Hauz Khas Complex
in Delhi, with many other buildings from his period and the later Sultanate, including several small domed pavilions supported only by columns.[17] By this time Islamic architecture
Islamic architecture
in India had adopted some features of earlier Indian architecture, such as the use of a high plinth,[18] and often mouldings around its edges, as well as columns and brackets and hypostyle halls.[19] After the death of Firoz the Tughlaqs declined, and the following Delhi
dynasties were weak. Most of the monumental buildings constructed were tombs. The architecture of other regional Muslim states was often more impressive.[20]

Screen of the Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra
Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra
mosque, Ajmer, c. 1229; Corbel arches, some cusped.

of Iltutmish, Delhi, by 1236, with corbel arches

Possibly the first "true" arches in India; Tomb of Balban
Tomb of Balban
(d. 1287) in Delhi

Pavilions in the Hauz Khas Complex, Delhi

Regional Muslim states before the Mughals[edit]

Arches in the main mosque at Gulbarga, 1367

Many regional styles were mainly developed during the Mughal period. The most significant pre-Mughal developments are covered here. Bahmanids of the Deccan[edit] The Bahmani Sultanate
Bahmani Sultanate
in the Deccan
broke away from the Tughlaqs in 1347, and ruled from Gulbarga, Karnataka
and then Bidar
until overrun by the Mughals in 1527. The main mosque (1367) in the large Gulbarga Fort or citadel is unusual in having no courtyard. There are a total of 75 domes, all small and shallow and small except for a large one above the mihrab and four lesser ones at the corners. The large interior has a central hypostyle space, and wide aisles with "transverse" arches springing from unusually low down (illustrated). This distinctive feature is found in other Bahmanid buildings, and probably reflects Iranian influence, which is seen in other features such as a four-iwan plan and glazed tiles, some actually imported from Iran, used elsewhere. The architect of the mosque is said to have been Persian.[21] Some later Bahminid royal tombs are double, with two units of the usual rectangle-with-dome form combined, one for the ruler and the other for his family,[22] as at the Haft Dombad ("Seven Domes") group of royal tombs outside Gulbarga. The Mahmud Gawan Madrasa
Mahmud Gawan Madrasa
(begun 1460s) is a large ruined madrasa "of wholly Iranian design" in Bidar founded by a chief minister, with parts decorated in glazed tiles imported by sea from Iran.[23] Outside the city the Ashtur tombs are a group of eight large domed royal tombs. These have domes which are slightly pulled in at the base,[24] looking forward to the onion domes of Mughal architecture.

Mahmud Gawan Madrasa
Mahmud Gawan Madrasa
(begun 1460s)

Jama Mosque
(1367), in 1880

"Double" tomb of Taj ud-Din Firuz Shah
Taj ud-Din Firuz Shah
(d. 1422), in Gulbarga

A row of Bahminid tombs at Ashtur, Bidar


Choto Sona Mosque
(around 1500)

The Bengal Sultanate
Bengal Sultanate
(1352–1576) normally used brick, as pre-Islamic buildings had done. Stone had to be imported to most of Bengal, whereas clay for bricks is plentiful. But stone was used for columns and prominent details, often re-used from Hindu or Buddhist temples. The Eklakhi Mausoleum
at Pandua, Malda
Pandua, Malda
or Adina, is often taken to be the earliest surviving Islamic building in Bengal, although there is a small mosque at Molla Simla, Hooghly district, that is probably from 1375, earlier than the mausoleum. The Eklakhi Mausoleum
is large and has several features that were to become common in the Bengal
style, including a slightly curved cornice, large round decorative buttresses and decoration in carved terracotta brick.[25] These features are also seen in the Choto Sona Mosque
(around 1500), which is in stone, unusually for Bengal, but shares the style and mixes domes and a curving "paddy" roof based on village house roofs made of vegetable thatch. Such roofs feature even more strongly in later Bengal
Hindu temple architecture, with types such as the do-chala, jor-bangla, and char-chala. Other buildings in the style are the Nine Dome
and the Sixty Dome
(completed 1459) and several other buildings in the Mosque City of Bagerhat, an abandoned city in Bangladesh that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These show other distinctive features, such as a multiplicity of doors and mihrabs; the Sixty Dome
has 26 doors (11 at the front, 7 on each side, and one in the rear). These increased the light and ventilation. The ruined Adina Mosque
(1374–75) is very large, which is unusual in Bengal, with a barrel vaulted central hall flanked by hypostyle areas. The heavy rainfall in Bengal
necessitated large roofed spaces, and the nine-domed mosque, which allowed a large area to be covered, was more popular there than anywhere else. Mughal Architecture[edit]

Badshahi mosque
Badshahi mosque
in Lahore, Pakistan, late Mughal, built 1673-1674.

Main article: Mughal Architecture The Mughal Empire, an Islamic empire that lasted in India from 1526 to 1764 left a mark on Indian architecture
Indian architecture
that was a mix of Islamic, Persian, Turkish, Arabic, Central Asian and native Indian architecture. A major aspect of Mughal architecture
Mughal architecture
is the symmetrical nature of buildings and courtyards. Akbar, who ruled in the 16th century, made major contributions to Mughal architecture. He systematically designed forts and towns in similar symmetrical styles that blended Indian styles with outside influences. The gate of a fort Akbar
designed at Agra
exhibits the Assyrian gryphon, Indian elephants, and birds.[26] During the Mughal era
Mughal era
design elements of Islamic-Persian architecture were fused with and often produced playful forms of the Hindustani art. Lahore, occasional residence of Mughal rulers, exhibits a multiplicity of important buildings from the empire, among them the Badshahi mosque
Badshahi mosque
(built 1673-1674), the fortress of Lahore
(16th and 17th centuries) with the famous Alamgiri Gate, the colourful, the Wazir Khan Mosque,[27] (1634-1635) as well as numerous other mosques and mausoleums. Also the Shahjahan Mosque
of Thatta
in Sindh originates from the epoch of the Mughals. However, it exhibits partially different stylistic characteristics. Singularly, the innumerable Chaukhandi tombs
Chaukhandi tombs
are of eastern influence. Although constructed between 16th and 18th centuries, they do not possess any similarity to Mughal architecture. The stonemason works show rather typical Sindhi workmanship, probably from before Islamic times. The building activity of the Mughals came close to succumbing by the late 18th century. Afterwards hardly any special native architectural projects were undertaken. By this time versions of Mughal style had been widely adopted by the rulers of the princely states and other wealthy people of all religions for their palaces and, where appropriate, tombs. Hindu patrons often mixed aspects of Hindu temple architecture
Hindu temple architecture
and traditional Hindu palace architecture with Mughal elements and, later, Eurpean ones. Major examples of Mughal architecture
Mughal architecture

Tombs, such as Taj Mahal, Akbar's Tomb
Akbar's Tomb
and Humayun's Tomb Forts, such as Red Fort, Lahore
Fort, Agra
Fort and Lalbagh Fort Mosques, such as Jama Masjid and Badshahi Masjid

Taj Mahal[edit]

The Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal
in Agra.

The most well known example of Mughal architecture
Mughal architecture
is the Taj Mahal. It was built for the wife of Shah Jahan, who died in 1631. The main ideas and themes of garden tombs had already been explored by earlier Mughal emperors, and this was the culmination of all those previous works into a national landmark. The 171 meter white tomb rises above a reflecting pool it is dream in marble just a time architect of Islamic culture Red Fort[edit] The Red Fort
Red Fort
is also a brilliant example of Mughal Architecture. It was built during the zenith of the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
under Shah Jahan. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site
UNESCO World Heritage site
in 2007. As one of the largest forts in India, it served as the official residence of the emperor for nearly 200 years.

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in India


Malik bin Deenar Cheraman Perumal Kunhali Marakkar I Cheraman Juma Masjid Ali Raja Mappila Rebellion


Mughal Indo-Islamic Indo-Saracenic Sharqi

Major figures

Malik bin Deenar Moinuddin Chishti Bakhtiar Kaki Nizamuddin Auliya Amir Khusrow Sarkar Waris Pak Ahmad Raza Khan Syed Ahmed Khan Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Allama Iqbal Sayyed Ahmad Saeed Kazmi Shah Ahmad Noorani Siddiqi Sheikh Aboobacker Ahmed Syed Faiz-ul Hassan Shah Asaf Ali Asghar Fyzee


Uttar Pradesh Kashmiri Rajasthani Gujarati Konkani Mappilas
(Kerala) Hyderabadi Khoja Dawoodi Bohras Memons Vora Patel Bihari Oriya Tamil Dakhini Muslims Nawayath Bearys The Saits Meo Sunni Bohras Iraqi Biradari Arabs (India) Kayamkhani Goan Muslims Chaush Siddi Shershahabadia

Religious jurisprudence

Hanafi Shafi`i Hanbali Maliki

Schools of thought

Barelwi Deobandi

Mosques in India

List of mosques in India


Markazu Saqafathi Sunniyya Darul Huda Islamic University Darul Uloom Deoband Al Jamiatul Ashrafia Jamia Nizamia Aliah University

Influential bodies

Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind All India Ulema & Mashaikh Board Ahle Sunnat Movement in South Asia Raza Academy All-India Muslim League Jamaat-e-Islami Hind Indian Union Muslim League All India Shia Personal Law Board All India Muslim Personal Law Board Indian Muslim nationalism Muslim chronicles for Indian history All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen

v t e

See also[edit]

Monuments and Forts of the Deccan
Sultanate Indian architecture Pakistani architecture Bangladeshi architecture History of South Asian domes Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture Architecture of Bengal


^ Yale, 164-165 ^ Harle, 421, 425; Yale, 165; Blair & Bloom, 149 ^ Harle, 424; Yale, 165 ^ Port of Banbhore, UNESCO Tentative list; Yale, 28-29 ^ Harle, 423-424 ^ Yale, 164-165; Harle, 423-424; Blair & Bloom, 149 ^ Also two huge minarets at Ghazni. ^ Yale, 164; Harle, 424 (quoted); Blair & Bloom, 149 ^ Yale, 164 (quoted); Harle, 425 ^ Blair & Bloom, 149-150; Harle, 425 ^ Harle, 425 ^ Blair & Bloom, 151 ^ Blair & Bloom, 151-156; Harle, 425-426 ^ Blair & Bloom, 151 ^ Blair & Bloom, 154; Harle, 425 ^ Blair & Bloom, 154-156 ^ Blair & Bloom, 154-156; Harle, 425 ^ Blair & Bloom, 149 ^ Blair & Bloom, 156 ^ Harle, 426; Blair & Bloom, 156 ^ Blair & Bloom, 156; Harle, 433 ^ Harle, 433 ^ Harle, 433 ^ Harle, 433 ^ Harle, 428 ^ Lewis, Bernard. The World of Islam. Thames and Hudson, Ltd. p. 306. ISBN 0-500-27624-2.  ^ Simon Ross Valentine. ' Islam
and the Ahmadiyya Jama'at: History, Belief, Practice Hurst Publishers, 2008 ISBN 1850659168 p 63


Blair, Sheila, and Bloom, Jonathan M., The Art and Architecture of Islam, 1250-1800, 1995, Yale University Press Pelican History of Art, ISBN 0300064659 Harle, J.C., The Art and Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent, 2nd edn. 1994, Yale University Press Pelican History of Art, ISBN 0300062176 Hasan, Perween, Sultans and Mosques: The Early Muslim Architecture of Bangladesh, 2007, I.B.Tauris, ISBN 1845113810, 9781845113810, google books "Yale":Richard Ettinghausen, Oleg Grabar
Oleg Grabar
and Marilyn Jenkins-Madina, 2001, Islamic Art
Islamic Art
and Architecture: 650-1250, Yale University Press, ISBN 9780300088694

External links[edit]

Characteristics of Indo- Islamic architecture
Islamic architecture
at Archaeological Survey of India Islamic Architecture in India in the Introduction to Islamic Architecture

v t e

Islamic art


Regional styles

Ayyubid Azerbaijani Chinese Indo-Islamic Indonesian Moorish Moroccan Mudéjar Mughal Ottoman Pakistani Persian Somali Sudano-Sahelian Tatar Timurid Umayyad


Ablaq Banna'i Iwan Jali Mashrabiya Mihrab Minaret Mocárabe Muqarnas Yeseria See also Decoration


Regional styles

Persian (Early, Qajar, Safavid) Turkish (Ottoman)


Gul Kilim


Persian Turkish Prayer


Azulejo Fritware Hispano-Moresque İznik Lustreware Persian Chinese influence


Batik Damask Ikat Embroidery Soumak Suzani


Khatam Minbar

Other media

Brass Damascus steel Glass Hardstone carving Ivory carving Stained glass


Arts of the book


Arabic Mughal Ottoman Persian


Arabic Diwani Kufic Muhaqqaq Naskh Nastaʿlīq Persian Sini Taʿlīq Thuluth Tughra

Other arts

Muraqqa Hilya Ottoman illumination


Arabesque Geometric patterns Girih
(tiles) Zellige

The garden

Charbagh Mughal Ottoman Paradise Persian


Berlin Cairo Doha Ghazni Istanbul (Arts, Calligraphy Art) Jerusalem (Islamic Museum, L. A. Mayer Institute) Kuala Lumpur London (British Museum, V&A) Los Angeles Marrakech (Museum, Majorelle Garden) Melbourne Paris (Arab World Institute, Louvre) Singapore Toronto (Aga Khan) Tripoli

Principles, influences

Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World Aniconism in Islam Indo-Saracenic Revival Islamic world
Islamic world
contributions to Medieval Europe Influences on Western art

Grotesque Moresque

Mathematics and architecture Moorish Revival Oriental carpets in Renaissance painting Pseudo-Kufic Stilfragen Top