Islamic India
Mughal Empires
16th cent - 17th cent AD

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Mughal India

Delhi and Agra-Barbur's Capitals

Barbur the Chagatay Sultan
Photo mughals123

Babur (Persian Tiger), Al-Sultan al-'Azam wal Khaqan al-Mukarram Zahir ud-din Muhammad Jalal ud-din Babur Padishah Ghazi (1483 – 1531) was a Turko-Mongol (Chaghatay-Turk), a direct descendant of Timur Tamerlane through his father, and a descendant of Genghis Khan through his mother. His birth in Andijan, Fergana Valley, his milieu, training, and culture were Persian. Notwithstanding Babur was, like other Timurids, an orthodox Sunni Muslim.
Babur was a great strategist but a poor politician. He spent a large part of his life shelterless and in exile, aided only by friends and peasants. In 1497, Babur succeeded in capturing Samarkand. By 1501 Samarkand, his lifelong obsession, was lost again. Escaping with a small band of followers to Fergana. Building up a strong army, he was able to cross the snowy Hindu Kush and capture Kabul In 1504 and Herat in 1506.
Unable to capture Samarkand or hold Ferghana Babur following Tamerlane's example set his eyes on the riches of Delhi. After a series of battles he defeated Ibrahim Lodhi in 1526 and quickly took possession of both Delhi and Agra.
In the following four years Barbur succeeded to lay the foundation of the long-lasting Indian Moghul Empire.

Delhi Mausoleum of Humayun
1562 - 1572

Humayun's tomb is the first example of the monumental architecture that would characterize the subsequent Mughal imperial style. Commissioned by Humayun's senior widow, Haji Begam the tomb is the first grave of a Mughal emperor. Humayun's father Babur, who founded the dynasty, had requested out of piety that he be buried in a garden. Humayun's Tomb is now one of the best-preserved Mughal monuments in Delhi.

The tomb's design is attributed to Sayyid Muhammad and his father, Mirak Sayyid Ghiyath (Mirak Mirza Ghiyas), Persian architects and poets active at the Timurid and later the Mughal courts.
Text and Photos from

Sikander Akbar's Empire

hunting with tigers. Miniature from the Akbarnameh

Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar the Great (1542 – 1605) was the son of Nasiruddin Humayun whom he succeeded as ruler of the Mughal Empire from 1556 to 1605.
Akbar was a polymath: an architect, artisan, artist, armorer, blacksmith, carpenter, construction worker, emperor, engineer, general, inventor, animal trainer (reputedly keeping thousands of hunting cheetahs during his reign and training many himself), lacemaker, technologist and theologian. His most lasting contributions were to the arts

Akbar's Tomb

The South Gate of Akbar's mausoleum was designed by the emperor, and modified by his son Jahangir after Akbar's death in 1605. It exhibits the transition in Mughal style from 16th century sandstone to 17th century white marble. The minaretted South Gate, shown here, is the main entrance to the complex. Its placement conceals the view of the mausoleum behind it, a feature also found at the Taj Mahal. Other characteristic features include the bracketing of the large central arch by a smaller pair on either side, and the chamfering at the corners of the gate. Click here for a closeup of the central arch.
Photo and text

Shah Jahan's Capital
1627 - 1658

Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal for whom he built the Taj Mahal
Photo lover's

Shah Jahan (1592 – 1666) was the fifth Mughal ruler after Babur, Humayun, Akbar, and Jahangir. While young, he was a favourite of Akbar. The period of his reign was the golden age of Mughal architecture. Shah Jahan erected many splendid monuments, the most famous of which is the Taj Mahal at Agra built as a tomb for his wife Mumtaz Mahal (birth name Arjumand Banu Begum).

Mumtaz Mahal had 14 children. Despite her frequent pregnancies, she travelled with Shah Jahan's entourage throughout his earlier military campaigns and the subsequent rebellion against his father. Mumtaz Mahal was utterly devoted — she was his constant companion and trusted confidante and their relationship was intense. She is portrayed by Shah Jahan's chroniclers as the perfect wife with no aspirations to political power.
Shah Jahan has left behind a grand legacy of structures constructed during his reign. The most famous of these is the Taj Mahal in Agra built to hold the tomb for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Upon his death, his son Aurangazeb had him interred in it next to Mumtaz Mahal. Among his other constructions are Delhi Fort also called the Red Fort or Lal Qila (Urdu) in Delhi, large sections of Agra Fort, the Jama Masjid (Grand Mosque), Delhi, the Wazir Khan Mosque, Lahore, Pakistan, the Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque), Lahore, the Shalimar Gardens in Lahore, sections of the Lahore Fort, Lahore, the Jahangir mausoleum — his father's tomb, the construction of which was overseen by his stepmother Nur Jahan and the Shahjahan Mosque, Thatta, Pakistan.

Wazir Khan Mosque
1634 - 1635

The mosque was founded by Hakim Ilmud Din Ansari, a distinguished physician from Chiniot who received the Ministerial title of 'Wazir Khan' under the reign of Shah Jahan, and was later promoted to the position of Viceroy of the Punjab.

Interior before the latest restauration In 1977 using local craftsmen and revived ancient techniques. Text and photos from

Bijapur Gol Gumbaz

Gol Gumbaz is the mausoleum of Muhammad Adil Shah II (1627-57) of the Adil Shahi dynasty. Indian sultans, who ruled the Sultanate of Bijapur from 1490 to 1686. It was built by the architect Yaqut of Dabul with a 37.9-m diameter single-walled dome. - For comparison: Pantheon in Rome, single-walled: 43.2 m (126 AD), Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, single-walled: 31.24 m (537 -562 AD), Brunelleschi's dome in Florence, double-walled: 44 m (1436).
Photo Wikipedia

Lahore Badshahi Mosque
1673 - 1674

Badishahi Mosque completed between 1673 and 1674.

recently refaced with red sandstone, Photos

Fatehpur Sikri
Shayk Salim Chishti Tomb
1571 - 1580

Fatehpur Sikri, Shayk Salim Chishti's Tomb in the Friday Mosque Complex

Fatephur Sikri, the abandoned city of Emperor Akhbar's dreams, is the most magnificent complex of Moghul India. It has an unusual foundation history
Shaikh Salim, a Chishti Sufi who lived in the village of Sikri came to imperial notice when he correctly predicted the birth of Akbar's son Jahangir. It was to honor this saint that Akbar, in 1571, established the palatial-religious complex of Fatehpur Sikri on the site of Shaikh Salim's village, making it his capital. The tomb of Shaikh Salim is of white marble, and sits in an enclosure with a pool. The entrance porch is held up by unusual, serpant-like supports. A verandah enclosed by a finely carved perforated screen surrounds the main tomb hall. At its center is the cenotaph, sheltered by a canopy decorated with mother-of-pearl. A wide marble dome covers the structure.

Text and photos from

Fatehpur Sikri
Jami Masjid
1571 - 1574

The mosque, known as the 'Glory of Fatehpur Sikri', on the western side of the religious and palatial complex of the city, was built by Akbar to honor Shaikh Salim, the Chishti saint. It was the largest mosque of the Mughal Empire in its time. The main entrance into its large courtyard is through the Buland Darwaza, an enormous monumental gate. A large pistaq, a type of high arched gate of Timurid origins, leads into the main prayer hall, which is finished in red sandstone and white inlay. Paint and gilt add to the intricate ornamentation. Flanking the main hall are large, pillared side wings.

Fatehpur Sikri, Rajasthan, Jami Masjid,
Exerior view from the east showing the arched entryway and colonnade.

Detail of a marble screen
Text and photos from

Fatephur Sikri
Jodh Bai Palace
16th cent

The Jodh Bai Palace is also known as "Shabistan-I-Iqbal" (Principal Haram Sarai), it is the largest and most important zenana, or palace for the imperial women. Baths and latrines project to the south, a viaduct and splendid balcony, to the north. It has but one entrance facing east across a wide paved courtyard. It used to be connected to the Emperor's Daulat Khana, which was destroyed.

The center of the royal palace.
Photos and text

Jama Masjid – the Great Mosque
1644 - 1658

Old Delhi, India, Jama Masjid, Great Mosque
Photo Panoramio

The Jama Mosque is the principal mosque of Shahjahanabad, or "Old Delhi", the seventh Muslim city on the Delhi site. The mosque, like the city, was founded by Shah Jahan, its building supervised by 'Allami Said Khan and Fazl Khan. It is one of the largest in India.

Photo Panoramio

Old Dehli from the minaret
Photo Panoramio

Taj Mahal
1632 - 1648

The Taj Mahal mausoleum was built by Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife Arjumand Banu Begam, better known by her title Mumtaz Mahal (d.1631), from which the name of the monument is taken.
Widely recognized as the pinnacle of classical Indo-Islamic architecture, the Taj Mahal is representative of Shah Jahan's interest in building and aesthetic innovation. The new architectural style includes aspects that were to influence much of subsequent Indian architecture:
Symmetry along two sides of a central axis, new columnar styles, curvilinear forms, and symbolic decorations based on naturalistic plant motifs are all characteristics of the Shahjahani style that can be found in the Taj Mahal Complex.
To the mausoleum's west stands a triple-domed red sandstone mosque, and to its east the mosque's jawab or compositional echo.
It seems silly to add new photographs of the fabled building to the hundreds of Panoramios already on GE.

Here is a moody photo from across the Yamuna River.
Photo Panoramio

This photo shows the architecturally interesting mosque on the left of the Taj Mahal to balance its symmetry, which is usually left out of the standard pictures.
Photo Panoramio

And finally a photo of the superb ornamental detail of the Taj Mahal
Photo Panoramio

Bibi ka Maqbara
1660 - 1679

Bibi Ka Maqbara built by Aurangzeb’s son, Azam Shah, in 1660-1679 AD as a loving tribute to his mother, Rabia-ud-Durrani . The ambience is overwhelmingly that of an imitation of the Taj. On close encounter, however, one realizes that the walls of the Maqbara are finished with a kind of high quality plaster which has a marble-like look. For that reason it is referred to as the 'poor man’s Taj'.

Photo Panoramio

Initially his father Aurangzeb was not in favour of building a monument as lavish as his Taj. He blocked the movement of marble from Rajasthan, but his son Alam Shah prevailed. Only the dome was built with marble.

Mughal Emperors




1530-39, 1555-56





Shah Jahan




And less illustrious ones, see Wikipedia