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10 Apr 2022

  • In 13th Century, with the Turkish conquest of Northern India, Islamic rulers started settling in the Northern parts of India.
  • They brought new elements in art and architecture, such as calligraphy, ornamentation etc. Indian architecture underwent a massive change because there was fusion of the new styles of architecture with that of local traditions.
  • That is why, it is known as Indo-Islamic Architecture.

Features of Indo-Islamic Architecture

  • Arcuade form of architecture: The use of arcs and domes. It was introduced to bear the weight of the top structure.
  • Minars: These were built around the mosques and the mausoleums.
  • They did not reproduce living forms i.e. humans or animals on any surface rather consisted of arts of arabesque geometrical patterns and calligraphy.
  • Arbesque Patterns: it means the use of geometrical vegetal ornamentation and was characterised by a continuous stem which spilt regularly and produced a series of counterpoised, leafy and secondary stems.
  • Jali Works: The building had intricate jaali works. Jaali work is found on Jaipur Ajmera Fort.
  • Water fountains: The fountains, pools and small drains were constantly used in the premises.
  • Charbagh Style of Gardening: Here, square block was divided into four adjacent identical gardens.
  • Pietra-dura technique: Precious stones and gems were inlaid into the stone walls. Lapis Lazuli on walls.

Delhi Sultanate Architecture

Slave Dyanasty

  • From 1206 to 1290 A.D, the style of architecture was called Mameluke style.
  • Remodelling of the existing Hindu structures took place.
  • Famous architecture:
    • Qutub Minar: Started by Qutb-ud-din Aibak and completed by Iltutmish and then Feroze Shah Tuglak
    • Arhai-din-ka-Jhopra

Khiliji Dynasty

  • From 1290 to 1320 A.D, Sejluk Style of architecture was established.
  • Red Sandstone was heavily used for construction.
  • Famous Architecture:
    • Alai Darwaza: Built by Ala-ud-din Khilji
    • Siri Fort

Tughlaq Dynasty

  • Batter Style of construction was introduced during this period. In this, sloping walls were used to provide more strength to the buildings.
  • Grey sandstone was used during this period.
  • Arch and Lintel method of entrance was used for construction.
  • Famous architecture:
    • Cities of Tughalaqabaad and Ferozabad.

Lodi Dynasty

  • Double domes style was used during this period to provide extra strength to the buildings.
  • Tombs were made in large numbers during this period.
  • These tombs were hard and bare, no decoration was used.
  • Famous architecture:
    • City of Agra

Provincial Style of Architecture

It is found in the areas of Bengal, Bijapur, Gujarat, Mandu and Jaunpur.

The Indo-Islamic style mixed with the local traditions in these areas.


  • Bricks and Black marble was used for construction.
  • Examples:
    • Adina mosque in Pandua


  • 3 arched façade and bulbous dome were used for constructing mosque, tombs and palaces.
  • Iron clamps and mortar was used to provide strength to the tombs.
  • Examples:
    • Gol Gumbaj


  • It is also called the Pathan School of architecture.
  • Different coloured stones and marbles were used for the construction of the buildings.
  • Large windows are used in the buildings.
  • Artificial reservoirs (Baulis) were constructed in the premises for storage of water.
  • Batter system was used for constructing buildings.
  • Examples:
    • Raani Roopmati pavilion, Jahaz Mahal


  • Sharqi style was popularised by the Sharqi rulers.
  • It avoided the use of minars.
  • Example:
    • Atala mosque

Mughal Architecture

With the arrival of Mughals, the revival of art and architecture started. The Mughals were great patrons of art and architecture. The architectural development under various rulers is given below:


  • Led the foundation of city Dinpanah.

Sher Shah

Some of the monuments build by Sher Shah were:



Qila-e-Quhunah mosque


Rohtas Fort


Sher Shah Suri Masjid


Grand Trunk Road (Sadak-e-Azam)

Calcutta to Kabul


  • The golden period of Mughal art and architecture started under Akbar.
  • Red Sandstone was used for construction under Akbar.
  • Some of the architectural marvels built under Akbar are:
  • Agra Fort: It includes Diwan-i-aam, Diwan-i-khas, Sheesh Mahal and Charbagh style of gardens inside the fort.
  • Akbar built the capital city at Fatehpur Sikri. Some of the building in Fatehpur Sikri are:



Panch Mahal

It was inspired by concept of Persian badger.

Buland Darwaza

It was built to celebrate the victory of Akbar over Gujarat. It is made of red sandstone and is the largest gateway of the world.

Jodha Bai’s Palace

Motifs of bell and flowers are found.

Ibadat Khana

It was a discussion hall for different religious leaders.

Pachisi Court

Here Akbar used to play chess.

Salim Chisti’s tomb

Built in 1581 A.D.


  • He focused more on paintings than on architecture.
  • Use of white marbles became famous during this time period.
  • Some monuments built during his reign are:



Akbar’s tomb


Jahangir’s tomb



Shalimar Bagh


Moti Masid


Shah Jahan

  • Mughal architecture reached its climax.
  • Some of the famous monuments are:



Taj Mahal


Red Fort


Jama Masjid


Shalimar Bagh



Present Old Delhi

Peacock throne

Jeweled throne in Red Fort


Taj Mahal

  • It was built in the memory of Mumtaz Mahal or Arzuman Bano Bagum.
  • Calligraphy, pietra dura work and foresightening technique are used in the construction of the Taj Mahal.
  • The jaali work is seen on the walls.
  • The carvings on the marble are of low relief.
  • It is included in the list of 7 wonders of the World.
  • It is also included in the list of World heritage sites.

Apart from that,

  • Biwi-ka-Maqbara was built by Muhammad Azam Shah in the memory of Begum Rabia Durani.

Did You Know

Minars are present on the four corners of the mosque.

Baulis were constructed in premises for storage of water as artificial reservoirs.