Architecture during Mughal Period of Akbar
Mughal Architecture was the combination of the Hindu and Muslim style of Architecture. Mughal Emperors, particularly Akbar, made conscious effort to amalgamate the two styles and lay the foundation of the national Indian architecture.
Islamic architecture during Mughal Period, when introduced into India, was greatly influenced by the indigenous art which had held the field and reached a remarkable level of excellence. The employment of Hindu masons and architects who unconsciously introduced in the Muslim buildings their own ideas of art.
Akbar had his own conception of architecture and planned many buildings, such as palaces, mosques, tombs and forts. He established a public works department and his plans were carried out by his able architects and engineers.
The Agra Fort
The Agra fort is an excellent example of rich architecture during the Mughal Period. Its circumference is nearly one and a half miles and it has two main gateways, namely, the Delhi gate and the Amar Singh gate. Inside the Agra fort, Akbar built about five hundred buildings of red sandstone. Some of the buildings of Mughal Period are still in existence. The most important of these are the Akbari Mahal and the Jahangiri Mahal. These two palaces are built after the same pattern. The Jahangiri Mahal abounds in beautifully carved stone brackets which support the stone beams, wide caves and flat ceilings.
The Lahore Fort
The buildings inside the Lahore fort were similar to Jahangiri Mahal at Agra.
The Allahabad Fort
Many of the buildings, including its inner wall, of the Allahabad Fort have disappeared. The Zanana palace, which is still intact, shows that one of the special features of the buildings in this fort was “the number of distribution of its pillars with their superstructures.”
The greatest architectural achievement of Akbar, however, was his new capital at Fatehpur Sikri. On a ridge, two miles long and one mile broad, Akbar built a remarkable city, three sides of which were surrounded by a wall and the fourth side by an artificial lake. The walls had nine gates. The principal entrance was the Agra gate which lay opposite to that city.
Outside the enclosure, stands the Jami mosque with its lofty portal known as the Buland Darwaza. Inside the enclosure of the mosque lies the tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti which is built of white marble. Most of these buildings reveal a mixed style of Muslim and Hindu cultures. The critics consider Diwan-i-Khas to be one of the most remarkable buildings. The Buland Darwaza, which is built of marble and sandstone, is a great work of architecture.
Fatehpur Sikri took about eleven years to complete (1569-80) and, though it is a deserted place, “it still forms a most impressive revelation of a mighty personality.
Akbar built many sarais and excavated many tanks and wells for the benefit of the poor people. He also erected many schools and places of worship. Schools and places of worship were constructed.
Even Hindu buildings of Rajut at Amber and Jodhpur were influenced by the Mughal style of Architecture. Not only civil buildings, but even the Hindu temples could not escape the nationalizing effects of Akbar’s architecture. While Akbar had freely borrowed from indigenous temple architecture, Hindu temples erected during his reign did not fail to borrow some of the features of the new eclectic style evolved at Agra and Fatehpur Sikri. Hindu temples at Vrindaban show clearly that certain of their features are borrowed from the contemporary style of the Mughals.
Decorative carving was an important feature of Mughal architecture. Carving in Turkish Sultana’s palace at Fatehpur Sikri and Akbar’s tomb at Sikandra include representations of plants, flowers, butterflies and the conventional vase designs. Perforated lattice work was equally highly prized. Mosaic and ebony decoration, in which our craftsmen of the Mughal age were proficient, was also lavishly used in the buildings of the time. Glazed tiles and decorative carvings form another special feature of the Mughal architecture. The Turkish Sultana’s palace at Fatehpur Sikri is one of the finest specimens of glazed tile work.