Art & Culture Notes Part 6 – Provincial, Mughal and Colonial Architecture

Provincial Style of Architecture

  • JAUNPUR: Under the Sharqi dynasty Jaunpur became a great centre of art, culture and architectural activity.
  • During the rule of Shamsuddin Ibrahim (1402-1436 AD), Atala Masjid was built in 1378.
  • GUJARAT: Gujarat witnessed significant architectural activity for over 250 years starting from Muzaffar Shah’s declaration of independence from Delhi and the formation of the Sultanate of Gujarat in 1307 AD until the conquest of Gujarat by the Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1500 AD.
  • Ahmedabad is a city full of architectural Tomb of Ahmed Shah (1440), Rani-ka-Hujra (1440), the Jami Masjid (built by the city ‘s founder Sultan Ahmed Shah in 1423), Qutubuddin’s mosque (1454), Rani Sipri Mosque (1505), Sidi Bashir’s Mosque (1510), which is famous for its ―shaking minarets‖, Rani Rupmati Masjid at Mirzapur (built between 1430 and 1440) and the Kankaria Lake, constructed in 1451 by Sultan Qutb-ud-Din.


  • The earliest period of architectural development started in 1347 when Allauddin Bahman Shah constructed the Gulbarga Fort and the Jami Masjid at Gulbarga.
  • The second phase is represented by the architecture of Bidar initiated by Ahmed Shah (1422-1436), which includes the Bidar Fort, Mahmud Gawan’s Madrassa and the Ali Barid’s Tomb.


  • Qutub Shahi and Nizam Shahi dynasties contributed greatly towards the development of the Deccan style of architecture.
  • Charminar (1591) – Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah.
  • Mecca Masjid- started in 1614 by Abdullah Qutub Shah and completed in 1687 by Aurangzeb.
  • Golconda Fort (1525)- Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, was an impregnable fort of great strategic importance to most of the rulers.
  • Falaknuma Palace (1870) by Nawab Vikar-Ul-Ulmara, is a rare blend of Italian and Tudor architecture.


  • Sasaram in Bihar – Sher Shah’s Tomb
  • Tomb of his father, Hasan Sur Khan built in 1535, the tomb of his son Salim Shah and tomb of Alwal Khan, the chief architect of Sher Shah.
  • Completion of the sixth city of Delhi called the Shergarh or Dilli Sher Shai around the Purana Qila area in the 1540s.
  • Purana Qila has three main gates – the Humayun darwaza, Talaqi darwaza and Baradarwaza. Qila-i-kuhna masjid built by Sher Shah Suri in 1541 AD in the Purana Qila.

Mughal Style of Architecture


  • Mosque at Kabuli Bagh at Panipat and Jami Masjid at Sambhal near Delhi, both constructed in 1526, are the surviving monuments of Babar.


  • Persian influence – the result of Humayun’s observance at the court of Shah Tahmasp during the period of his exile.
  • Humayun’s Tomb at Delhi, (1564) by his widow Haji Begum as a mark of devotion, eight years after his death.


  • Use of red sandstone
  • Construction of a huge fort at Agra
  • Massive sandstone ramparts of the Red Fort, New Delhi.
  • Buildings at Fatehpur Sikri blended both Islamic and Hindu elements in their architectural style. Buland Darwaza and Dargah of Saleem Chisti are the most imposing of all the buildings of Fatehpur Sikri. Diwan-e-Khas in the complex which was designed for private audiences.


  • Shalimar Bagh on the banks of Lake Dal in Kashmir.
  • Akbar’s Tomb at Sikandra near Agra, which


  • Substitution of marble for the red sandstone.
  • Marbleized Diwan-i-Am and Diwan-i-Khas build by Akbar at Red Fort, Delhi.
  • Shah Jahan built the Jami Masjid at Agra in 1648 in honour of his daughter Jahanara Begum & Wazir Khan’s mosque in Lahore,1634.
  • Taj Mahal – a memorial to his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal.


  • Bibi-ka-Maqbara, the tomb of Aurangzeb’s wife Begum Rabia Durani, a  poor replica of the famous Taj Mahal
  • A fine example of Mughal architecture in the Deccan region.

Post – Mughal Style of Architecture


  • Safdar Jung’s tomb, built in the honour of Safdar Jung (1739-1753), who was the nephew of the first Nawab of Oudh.
  • Bara Imambara built by the Nawab of Oudh in 1784. The absence of pillars in the main hall and simplicity of style and symmetry are its unique features.
  • Chattar Manzil – main attractions are the underground rooms and a beautiful dome surrounded by a gilt umbrella.
  • Kaiser Bagh is a quadrangular park with a baradari (pavilion) and yellow coloured buildings on three sides.
  • Roshanwali Koti and Begum Koti at Hazratgunj – Italian style are more prominent.


  • Developed under the influence of the Mughal style.
  • Characterised by certain indigenous features like the multiplicity of chattris /kiosks, use of fluted dome generally covered with copper or brass-gilt and enrichment of arches by numerous foliations.
  • Golden Temple at Amritsar (1764) built by the fourth Sikh Guru Ramdas.

Colonial Architecture


  • Portuguese adapted to India the climatically appropriate Iberian galleried
  • Patio house and the Baroque churches of Goa.
  • Se Cathedral and Arch of Conception of Goa were built in the typical Portuguese-Gothic style.
  • Francis Church at Cochin (1510) is believed to be the first church built by the Europeans in India.
  • Fort of Castella de Aguanda near Mumbai and added fortifications to the Bassein fort built by Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat, in 1532 AD.
  • Bassein Fort is famous for the Matriz (Cathedral of St Joseph), the Corinthian pillared hall and the Porte da Mer (sea gate).


  • French gave a distinct urban design to its settlement in Pondicherry by applying the Cartesian grid plans and classical architectural patterns.
  • Church of Sacred Heart of Jesus (Eglise De Sacre Coeur De Jesus), Eglise de Notre Dame de Angesand, Eglise de Notre Dame de Lourdes at Pondicherry have a distinct French influence.


  • British followed various architectural styles – Gothic, Imperial, Christian, English Renaissance and Victorian being the essentials.
  • Church of St. John at Calcutta (1787) inspired by St. Stephens Church at
  • Mary’s Church in Fort St. George in Chennai.
  • Law Courts, Presidency College and Senate House of Chennai.
  • Victoria Memorial Hall-Calcutta (1921), designed by Sir William Emerson.
  • Gateway of India in Mumbai, Maharaja’s Palace at Mysore and S.University and Lakshmi Villas Palace at Baroda.
  • New Delhi – systematically planned city after made capital in 1911
  • Sir Edward Lutyens made responsible for the plan of Delhi and constructed India Gate and Rashtrapati Bhawan.
  • Herbert Baker added South Block and North Block, which flank the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

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