Architecture during Mughal Empire

By Naveen Singh|Updated : September 9th, 2020

Mughal dynasty was established after the battle of Panipat in 1526. And after Babur, every emperor took great considerable interest in the architecture field. The Mughals were a staunch supporter of art and architecture. They developed Indo-Islamic architecture in the Indian subcontinent.

They developed or improve the style of earlier dynasties like Lodhi’s and it was a combination of Islamic, Persian, Turkish and Indian Architecture. During this reign, architecture touched its zenith, many new buildings and tombs were built with great artistic vision and inspiration.

Mughal Architecture Period


  • Babur undertook the construction of a mosque in Panipat and Rohilkhand in 1526 A.D.
  • His reign was too small for any new style and design but he was fond of formal gardens.


  • He succeeded Babur but the reign was filled with constant struggle and war with Sher Shah Suri.
  • He led the foundation of a city named Dinpanah but he couldn’t finish it.
  • The first proper Mughal architecture was Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi, built by his widow Hamida Bhanu Begum. Also known as a precursor of Taj Mahal in Agra and provided the prototype for Mausoleum of Jahangir at Shahdara, Lahore.
  • Persian style was prominent during this period.
  • Sikandar Lodhi’s Tomb was the first garden-tomb built in India but it was the Humayun’s Tomb which gave new vision to art.
  • Some of the designing features were:
    • The tomb stands on a raised vast platform in the centre of a square garden.
    • Garden is divided into 4 parts by Charbagh (causeways), in the centre of which run shallow water-channels.
    • For the first time, red sandstone was used along with white (the white is used cleverly to emphasize, surround & underline doors and windows, strengthening the design).
    • On similar lines, square, red, sandstone; the double storeyed structure of the mausoleum rises over a high square terrace; raised over a series of cells; etc. were also introduced.
  • Note: The mausoleum is a synthesis of Indian traditions and Persian architecture, in the arched alcoves, corridors and a high double dome as well as the kiosks (chhatris) which gave a pyramidal shape from a distance.


  • His period is the transition from Lodhi style to the Mughal style of architecture.
  • He built the Quila-e-Quanah (Mosque of the Old Fort) in Delhi.
  • He built the famous Rohtas Fort in Pakistan.
  • Constructed the Sher Shah Suri Masjid in Patna in Afghan style.
  • He undertook the reconstruction and extension of an old Mauryan route and renamed it as Sadak-e-Azam which was later called as Grand Trunk Road. He ensured sarais and trees for travellers.
  • His tomb was built at his birthplace Sasaram, Bihar, made up of red sandstone and situated inside a lake. Each side pierced by arches and halls mounted by a large dome.
  • They made use of red and grey sandstone latticed screens, painted ceilings and coloured tiles.


  • He occupied the throne of Delhi in 1556, the golden period of Mughal art and architecture.
  • Use of red sandstone was principle feature and he introduced the use of Tudor arch (four-centred arches).
  • Some of the prominent construction under his reign are:
  • Agra Fort-
    • One of the first constructions during Akbar’s reign.
    • Made of red stone on the bank of river Yamuna.
    • Some buildings inside are-
      • Moti Masjid, made by Shah Jahan
      • Diwan-i-aam (hall of public audience) by Shah Jahan
      • Diwan-i-Khas (hall of private audience) by Shah Jahan
      • Jahangiri Mahal
      • Sheesh Mahal (Turkish Bath)

Note: Charbagh style- the gardens inside the fort were built according to this style.

  • Fatehpur Sikri-
    • This was the new capital city made by Akbar and was a new era of Indo-Islamic architecture.
    • Described as ‘frozen moment in history’ as the buildings represented a unique combination of Hindu and Persian style.
    • Some of the monuments here are:
      • Buland Darwaza (1576 A.D.)-built to commerate Akbar’s victory over Gujrat. It is a 40 meters red sandstone structure and largest gateway of the world.
      • Salim Chisti’s tomb (1581 A.D.)-jaali work in white marble and inscription of Quranic verses on the walls.
      • Panch Mahal-five storied structure inspired by Persian badger (wind-catcher)
      • Jodha Bai’s palace or Mariam-uz-Zamani’s palace
      • Ibadat Khana-meeting with leaders of different religion for discussions.
      • Pachisi Court- courtyard where Akbar is said to have played chess.
      • Hiran Minar- built in the memory of Akbar’s favorite elephant. Served as lighthouse for travelers.
  • He built Temple of Govind dev in Vrindavan.


  • He focused more on paintings and other art forms.
  • Some of his noteworthy monuments were-
  • Akbar’s tomb in Sikandra
  • His own tomb at Lahore
  • Shalimar Bagh in Kashmir
  • Moti Masjid at Lahore
  • Tomb of Itmad-Ud-daulah, father of Nur Jahan is an excellent example- it was first work during Mughal period which was made completely of white marble. Also with world's finest Pietra –dura works.


  • During his reign, architecture reached its height and some of the principle works were:
  • Taj Mahal-
    • The finest example of architecture and mark of Love.
    • Constructed in the memory of his beloved wife Arzuman Bano Begum or Mumtaz Mahal.
    • The features include calligraphy, pietra dura works (beautiful inlay work with precious multicolour stones), Charbagh style gardens, use of water in premises for decoration and foresightening technique.
    • Jaali work is lace-like and carvings on marble were finely done.
  • Red Fort in Delhi-
    • He shifted his capital city from Agra to Delhi.
    • He laid the foundation of seventh city Shahjahanabad, which had its famous citadel Red fort (begun in 1639 A.D.).
    • Red Fort is an irregular octagon with its walls, gates, and a few other structures constructed in red sandstone, and marble used for the palaces.
    • It consisted of Diwan-i-aam and Diwan-i-khas.
  • Jama Masjid in Delhi
  • Shalimar bagh at Lahore-also on the UNESCO world heritage list.
  • Peacock throne is one of the finest examples of metal work.


  • Mughal architecture started declining during his period.
  • He didn’t take any active interest in the pursuit of art and architecture.
  • Some of his works were:
    • Alamgiri gate in Lahore fort, Lahore
    • Badshahi Masjid, Lahore- 3rd largest in Pakistan and 7th largest in the world. Architecture plan is similar to Jama Masjid at Delhi.


  • Last Mughal to undertake architectural constructions
  • Biwi-ka-Maqbara-poor imitation of Taj Mahal in memory of his mother Begum Rabia Durani wife of Aurangzeb situated in Aurangabad.
  • Zinat Mahal, Delhi- in memory of his wife.

Other two prominent styles during this period were:

Sikh style:

  • Developed in Punjab and influenced by the Mughal architecture.
  • Use of multiple Chhatris on the top of the construction.
  • Use of shallow cornices.
  • Fluted domes covered with brass and copper guilds and arches were decorated.
  • Golden temple initiated in 1585 and completed by Arjan Dev in 1604.

Rajput style:

  • Influenced by Mughals but unique in size and scope of construction.
  • It includes the building of palaces and forts.
  • Some of the unique features are:
    • Concept of hanging balcony with all shapes and sizes.
    • Cornices were built in the shape of an arch such that shadow took shape of a bow.

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Posted by:

Naveen SinghNaveen SinghMember since Jan 2019
Recommended twice for Indian Army in 2011 & 2017. Cleared NDA, CDSE, AFCAT, CAPF Exams.
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Anjali Bharti
Sir I would like to ask you a question won't these vedios be in English? cause sometimes its difficult for me to understand some hindi words
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Pavan Pal

Pavan PalNov 2, 2019

Hindi me bhi ho ye sir
Sonu Kumar Maurya
Sir after registering on join Indian ssb dates etc didn't come on my email Id please help@Naveen Singh
Suvon Paul

Suvon PaulJan 1, 2020

Happy new year  Naveen sir
Shah Mohd

Shah MohdFeb 8, 2020

Very nice

AparnaSep 7, 2020

The golden period of Mughal architecture is that of shah jahan not akbar

SonamSep 9, 2020

Thanks sir📝📝📝
Aditya Dighe

Aditya DigheSep 20, 2020

Marathas even were known for their fort building skills but not even a single sentence about them...

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