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The following are exerts taken from Encyclopedia of Indian Architecture

(Jami Masjid of sikhri)


As is not a few of the large mosques of India the fine open sweep of the flagged quadrangle leading
up to the main interior faade produces at once an effect of great dignity and spaciousness. In this
instance the faade consists of a large rectangular front on in the centre consisting a spacious alcove,
with a pillared arcade extending on each wing, with ranges of pillared kiosks, along all the parapets
to break the skyline.
The nave which is entered through an arched portico , is a square hall containing on its western side
the principle mihrab, and is covered by the main dome. Leading out of this central hall though
archways are the aisles, each with a chapel towards the middle of its length, with the side domes
forming their roofs.
The pillars in the wings are exceptionally well grouped and appointed so that from any angle an
elegant vista is observable. Added to this is the admirable combination of beams and arches,
disposed in such a manner that the balance of the two constructional systems is well maintained
throughout, the arches providing attractive passage of perspective and the lintels with their pendant
brackets enriching the intervals between.
Reference should also be made to the mural decoration, which is distributed over most surfaces of
the interior especially in the nave and in its adjacent compartments. All the technical resources that
the craftsmen concerned had at their command were used for this embellishment so that the carved
, painted, and inlaid ornamentation is unsurpassed in any other building of Akbars reign.
(Buland Drwaza)
Some twenty five years after completion of this mosque , Akbar returned from his victorious
campaign in the Deccan and was considering a site on which he could erect a great triumphal
archway commemorative of his conquest , He finally decided on the southern entrance of the Jami
masjid at Fathepur Sikhri as being a suitable position for this monument, and he accordingly
proceeded to demolish the existing doorway and raise the Buland Darwaza or Gate of
Magnificance in its place.
There is little doubt that of all the architectural productions of the Mughals , their gateways were
the most successful achievements, whetehr these were the bold entrances to fortresses, the more
humble doorways to sarais, the elegant portals to tombs, the porticos to palaces or the civic
archways, of the cities, they were invariably not only satisfying examples of the building art, but each
one admirably fulfilled its purpose.
The Bulan Darwaza is a work of great force , especially when viewed from the ground below, as then
it presents an appearance of aspiring and overwhelming strength without being viewed weighty or
pretencious. Its position, it is true , is open to criticism as the ine of approach up an accent through
what were service quarters and past hammams, was not ideal , and even more significant from the
architectural point of view is that owing to its size it dominates everything in its vicinity and thus
throws out of balance the scheme of the mosque to which it is attached ; the eye is first attracted
and then deflected by its great bulk instead of being drawn naturally towards the edifice of which it
should logically form a subordinate part .

(Tomb of Salim Chisti)

The tomb of Salim Chisti situated within its cloistered quadrangle, compared with the forgoing the
spectator is confronted with a complete change of aesthetic and architectural values. On the one
hand the Buland Darwaza represents the building art in a grandiose mood, massive and proposeful ,
the tomb on the other hand is an architectural cameo, its chaste marble forms being aerial in their
delicacy, so that it appears as a chiselled , polished and fretted (in) exquisiteness.
When first constructed, at a time relatively contemporary with the foundation on the mosque , it
was most probably a sandstone conception in the style of that period . Its present appearance is due
to a later development , possibly that which prevailed at the end of Jahangirs reign or the beginning
of that of Shah Jahan, when authorities were inspired to transform its sandstone fabric into the
mpre refined and costly marble , but retaining its previous shape and character.
The tomb building itself is of sipe parts as if consists of a square exterior of 24 feet side and
containing a mortuary chamber of 16 feet diameter, the whole being covered by a low dome .
Around the outside a wide veranda is carried , its roof supported on pillars with the interspaces filled
by perforated screens, the total exterior measuring 48 feet in diameter, On the southern face a
porch is projected , also on pillars , and there are carved brackets all round to sustain the extremely
wide eaves. In general appearance this building is low and somewhat unimpressive, its effect
depending notso much on its proportions or manner in which this material has been handled.
Ref: ( as stated in the book itself)
Smith E.W. Akbars Tomb, Sikandarah ( ASI , Vol XXXV) Allahabad, 1909
Smith E.W. Moghul Colour Decoration of Agra . Allahabad , 1901
Smith E.W. Moghul Architecture of Fathepur- Sikhri A.S vol 18 Allahabad, 1896



Exert for Satish Grover,

Jami masjid of Sikhri

The interiors of the central dome , decorated on the inside to give an appearance of a stone version
of a timber ribbed dome, evokes the spirit of the rest of Sikri. The parapets of the cloisters and liwan
are marked by a row of exquisitely designed domed chattris that served the purpose of lighting
torches at night during festival seasons.
The Mighty Buland Darwaza
The Buland Darwaza is not a triumph of merely engineering and structural skill . Is is also a unique
design solution of an inevitable problem of such ceremonial gateways- that of not merely impressing
the viewer with its gigantic size, but at the same time evoking in him sensations of momentary
shelter as he passes beneath it.
Thus, the problem lies in meaningfully installing an opening of a modest size within a frame of
intentionally immense proportions and yet maintain a fluid relationship between the crescendo of
the great alcove above and the diminuendo of the man height doorway at the base.
The huge almost 50 ft
wide and 100 ft high arch
resplendent like the
browed morning is
backed by a scalloped
semidome portal that
guides ones vision fluidly
down the modest two
storey rows of archesand
balconies set in
pentagonal fashion onto
the courtyard of the
mosque through a
domed passage with
attendants rooms on
either side. It is thus that
the transition from
awesome monumentality
to a humble and
shetered passageway
from wide open spaces
to the sequestered
courtyard , is smoothly
and satisfactoriy
concluded.