Impact of Islamic arrival on Indian architecture

Impact of Islamic arrival on Indian architecture

Question - How has Indian architecture changed with the arrival of Islamic rule?
Large scale building activity was seen in the 13th century CE after the Turkish conquest of north India. By the 12th century CE, India though was familiar with monumental constructions and the grandeur.

Beginning of Islamic architecture- The onslaught of the Ghurids close to 12th century CE introduces the Indo-Islamic architecture in India. Muslims have inherited architectural patterns from Sassanian and Byzantine empires and are also known to have a good taste for buildings. Despite this, they have also adapted to the indigenous architecture.

Blend of two styles of architecture- Along with Islamic architecture came the arches and domes. Although these did exist earlier in India, the achieved their full form only during the Sultanate. The art of Delhi Sultanate showed the process of absorption and assimilation of the techniques of art and architecture brought from the west Thus a blend of structural techniques, styles and decoration came about as a new architectural style known as the Indo Islamic. Along with the obvious Persian, Turkish and Indian influences a lot depended on the availability and limitation of resources, skills and a sense of aesthetics among the patrons.
The different religious beliefs of the two religions ie Islam and Hindu, are reflected in the architectural style which gave rise to an amalgamation of the two styles. Alai Darwaza is the best example of Indian and Islamic blend.

Patterns of Islamic art- Since Islam does not allow the use of human or animal motifs as decoration, their panels were filled with floral patterns along with verses from the Quran and geometrical and arabesque designs. Motifs like swastika and lotus were incorporated by the indigenous masons. These designs were carved on stone in low relief, cut on plaster, painted or inlaid. Indian Islamic architecture would reach the summit in the era of the Mughal dynasty from the 16th to 17th centuries.

Features of Indo Islamic architecture- Some of the distinguishing features of Indo Islamic architecture are the decorative brackets, balconies, chhatris, minars. The use of mortar was also a major introduction distinct from the traditional building style.

Mughal influence- The coming of the Mughals brought with it a different elaborate and ornamented art. The Mughals were great patrons of art and architecture and enhanced the country with their beautiful architecture.

The tomb architecture which was another feature of the Islamic architecture was further enhanced by the Mughals by introducing gardens all around the tomb. The Mughals are also credited to have brought in the double architecture and the pietra-dura style of inlay decorations. The influence of Mughal style of architecture was seen at the capitals of Hindu rulers as well. The palaces at Amber are quite similar to the palaces of Shahjahabad and Agra. The Mughal style was followed in the construction of the temples. Specially, its influence on Jain temples is quite evident.


• The Quwwat-ul-Islam is best known for its tower of victory, celebrating the Muslim conquest of India, and is the first mosque of India. Among the older remains it has the "Pillar of the Law" built during the Mauryan dynasty.
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