Rulers and Buildings

Learning Goals:

Sharing of ideas to a large extent began with the increase in the construction activity between the eighth and the eighteenth centuries. These led to adoption of traditions of one region by another. Following are some examples:

Region and Empire

Vijayanagara: The elephant stables at this place were strongly influenced by the architectural styles in the adjoining Sultanates of Bijapur and Golconda.

Vrindavan: Here temples were constructed in architectural styles which were very similar to the Mughal palaces of Fatehpur Sikri.

When different regions were brought under one large empire this cross-fertilisation of artistic forms and architectural styles took place.

The Mughals & architectural style adaptation

They were particularly skilled in adapting architectural styles in their own building construction. For instance, in Bengal the local rulers had developed a roof that was designed to resemble a thatched roof. This ‘Bangla dome’ was liked by the Mughals to such an extent that they used it in their architecture. The impact of other regions was also noticeable. Many buildings in Akbar’s capital Fatehpur Sikri showed the influence of the architectural styles of Gujarat and Malwa.

In spite of the waning of the authority of Mughal rulers in the eighteenth century, the architectural styles developed under their patronage were constantly used and adapted by other rulers whenever they tried to establish their own kingdoms.

Qutub Minar

Qutab Minar is five storeys high. The first floor was constructed by Qutbuddin Aybak and the rest were constructed by Iltutmish around 1229. It was damaged over the years by lighting and earthquakes. It was repaired by: Alauddin Khalji, Muhammad Tughluq Firuz Shah Tughluq and Ibrahim Lodhi.


Do You Know?

Churches – The new skyscrapers

There were attempts in France, twelfth century onwards to build churches that were taller and lighter than earlier buildings. This architectural style, known as Gothic; has the following distinguishing features: High pointed arches, Use of stained glass, often painted with scenes drawn from the Bible, and Flying buttresses.

The church of Notre Dame, Paris, is one of the best examples of this architectural style. It was constructed through several decades in the twelfth and the thirteenth centuries.

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