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Fatehpur Sikri

Akbars greatest architectural achievement was the construction of Fatehpur Sikri, his Capital
City near Agra. The construction pf the walled city was started in 1569 A.D. and completed in
1574 A.D. contained some of the most beautiful buildings both religious and secular which
testify to the Emperors aim of achieving social, political and religious integration. The religious
edifices worth mentioning are the Jami Masjid and Salim Chistis Tomb. The tomb built in 1571
A.D. in the corner of the mosque compound is a square marble chamber with a verandah. The
cenotaph has an exquisitely designed lattice screen around it.

Agra Fort
A greater part of the fort at Agra was constructed by Akbar starting in 1565 AD and completed it
in 1574 A.D. Situated on the bank of the river Jamuna, it is a massive and grand structure. The
special feature of this fort is the 2.5 kms. long and 21 metres high circuitous wall of solid red
sand stone. The stones are linked with iron rings so close that not even a hair can pass through.
The entrance to the fort is through two gateways. The main entrance known as Delhi Gate was
the ceremonial entrance to the fort. The other smaller gateway is called the Hathi Pol or
Elephant Gate because of the two huge elephants on either side of the gate and was meant for
private use.
The Delhi Gate entrance archway is flanked by two double storeyed octagonal bastions crowned
by octagonal domed kiosks. A balcony separates the two storeys. The structure above the
balcony has arched recesses. The gateway is decorated with beautiful panels of coloured tiles
and marble inlay work.
The fort is surrounded by a deep moat. The fort formerly contained numerous buildings of red
sand stone but these were later demolished in the reign of Shah Jehan who constructed marble
pavilions instead. Some of the important buildings inside the fort are the Jahangiri Mahal built
for Jahangir and his family, the Moti Masjid, and Mena Bazaars. The Jehangiri Mahal is an
impressive structure and has a courtyard surrounded by double-storeyed halls and rooms. The
corbel brackets, doorways and the chajja above them are profusely carved.
The elaborate architecture of the brackets seems to be an imitation of wood work. The planning
and construction of the fort show that Rajput architectural styles were freely adopted.

Humayun's Tomb
Humayuns tomb was built by his widow Haji Begum in 1565 A.D. in Delhi in 1569A.D.,
fourteen years after his death. The mausoleum stands in the centre of a square enclosed garden.
The garden is divided and sub-divided into squares, typical of Mughal gardens. The lofty double
storeyed structure is built on a huge high platform terrace which has a row of calls with arched
openings. The central chamber is octagonal in shape and contains the tomb. Each side of the
mausoleum has a large arched alcove in the centre with smaller ones on either side. It has a high
marble double dome in the centre and pillared kiosks with cupolas surrounding it. Built of red
sandstone with an inlay of black, white and yellow marble it presents an imposing picture.
Planned by a Persian architect and constructed by Indian workers, it is a combination of both
Persian and Indian styles of architecture. Entrance to the mausoleum is through two double
storeyed gateways.

Humayun's Tomb

Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal in Agra, a dream in white marble was built by Shah Jehan as a memorial to his
beloved wife Mumtaz Begum. Built on the banks of the river Jumna, it was started in 1632
A.D. and took 22 years to complete. Marble from Makrana and precious stones from different
parts of the world were used in its construction. Planned by Isa, a Persian architect it is a
masterpiece of architecture. The Taj is situated in the centre of a high marble terrace. A marble
minaret of four storeys stands on each of the four corners of the terrace. The minarets are
crowned with domes. The main structure is a square. A huge, vaulted recess with smaller
arched recesses in two storeys on either side make up the facade of the building on all sides. An
octagonal hall with an exquisite perforated marble screen contains the cenotaphs of Mumtaz and
Shah Jehan. The vaulted ceiling is crowned in the centre by a large bulbous dome which tapers
off into a foliated crest. Around the dome are four cupolas. The surface of the walls exterior
and interior and the cenotaphs are beautifully decorated with pietra dura, floral and geometrical
designs. Borders of inscriptions decorate the main archways.
A Mosque on the west and a corresponding structure on the east in red sand-stone complete the
effect of symmetry. Situated in a large enclosed rectangular garden with fountains, ornamental
pools and water-courses, entrance to the Taj is by a majestic gateway.

Sher Shah's tomb, Sasaram

Sher Shah's tomb at Sasaram in Bihar built in 1549 is in the centre of a large square tank and
rises al 46 metres high. It is a two storey construction on a terraced platform. The upper terrace
has pillared domes and the two storeys above have a pillared kiosk at the four corners. The base
of the large central dome has thirty two sides. The tomb is decorated with coloured tiles, very
few of which remain now. Entrance to the tomb is through a domed structure.
Mughal architecture begins with Akbar who showed his passion for building by planning and
constructing splendid edifices. During his reign Mughal architecture took on new forms. Akbar
made free use of both Hindu and Persian styles. The use of red sandstone inlaid with white
marble and painted designs on walls and ceiling are the salient features of Akbar's buildings.
Akbar constructed numerous forts, towers, palaces, mosques, mausoleums and gateways. A
structure of note built during his reign is Humayun's Tomb in Delhi.

Sher Shah's tomb, Sasaram