Indian architecture is known to incorporate the elements of its influencers and create unique alterations. The result is an evolving range of architectural creations that nonetheless retains a certain amount of continuity across the history of Indian architecture. So, what to wait for? Let’s have a tour of India and its marvellous Indo-Islamic Architecture!
Indian Architecture Via Islamic Culture
The medieval period proved to be the golden period for the field of architecture in India resulting in great developments. With the coming of Muslims to India, many new features, techniques and creative ideas followed to be introduced to buildings. The birth of the Muslim Style of Architecture that occurred in this period can be called Indo-Islamic Architecture or the Indian Architecture via Islamic Art. The Indo-Islamic style was neither strictly Islamic nor strictly Hindu rather carrying a touch of both. It was, in fact, a combination of Islamic architectural elements to those of Indian architecture.
The architecture of the medieval period can be split up into two main groups – The architecture of the Delhi Sultanate and the other one is Imperial Style and Mughal Architecture.
Marvels Of Indo-Islamic Architectures
Some of the great Indo-Islamic architectural wonders include:
Building massive forts with embattlement was a regular feature in medieval times, often symbolizing the seat of power of a king.
Directing heights were utilised to great advantage in the formation of forts. Another feature was concentric circles of outer walls as in Golconda that the enemy had to breach at all stages before getting in.
Some of the remarkable forts are the Fort of Chittor (Rajasthan), Gwalior (MP), Daulatabad-earlier Devgiri (Maharashtra), and Golconda (Hyderabad).
Another marvellous creation, the sthamba or tower was the minar, a common feature in the sub-continent.
The most breathtaking minars of medieval times are indeed the Qutub Minar in Delhi and Chand Minar at Daulatabad.
The everyday use of the minars was for the azaan or call to prayer, basically used for religious purposes. Its phenomenal height, however, was taken as a symbol to represent the might and power of the ruler.
Monumental structures over graves of rulers and royalty were a popular feature of medieval India.
Some well-known tombs across India are those of Ghyasuddin Tughlaq, Humayun, Adur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan, Akbar, and Itmaduddaula.
Beginning with the introduction of Quranic verses on the walls, the tomb was subsequently placed with paradisiacal elements such as a garden or near a water body or both, as in the case of the Taj Mahal.
Eg- Taj Mahal, Gol Gumbad.
Sarais was largely built on a simple square or rectangular plan. Moreover they were meant to provide temporary accommodation for Indian and foreign travellers, pilgrims, merchants, traders, etc.
They were public domains which were filled with people of varied cultural backgrounds.
This led to cross-cultural interaction, influence and syncretic tendencies in the cultural mores of the times and at the level of people.
Structures For Common People
One of the architectural features of medieval India was also combining different styles, techniques, and decorations in public and private spaces. These spaces were not only for non-royal sections but also the common people of the society.
These included buildings for domestic usage, religious places like temples, mosques, Khanqahs and dargahs, commemorative gateways, pavilions and gardens, bazaars, etc.
Eg – Jama Masjid
Indo-Islamic Architecture Blending With Indian Architecture
Islamic patrons, style and purposes produced Indo-Islamic architecture as the architecture of the Indian subcontinent. The designs and forms of large buildings that the Muslim elites needed, with mosques and tombs much the most common along with the others. Further they were very different from those previously existing or built in India giving a new twist to the whole architectural community in India.
The World Representation of Indo-Islamic Architecture
Indo-Islamic architecture has majorly influenced modern Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi architecture. As in the case of its influence on the Indo-Saracenic Revivalism of the late British Raj. Indo-Islamic architecture influenced both secular and religious buildings giving a historic touch to the future.