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Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. How did the existing architecture in India evolve with the arrival of Islamic rule in India? (250 words)

    12 Jun, 2023 GS Paper 1 Indian Heritage & Culture


    • Introduction: Start your answer with introducing Indo-Islamic Architecture.
    • Body: Mention briefly the features of existing Indian architecture and Features of architecture after arrival of Islamic rule.
    • Conclusion: Summarize the main points.


    The arrival of Islamic rule in India (in 13th century) had a profound impact on the existing architectural landscape. It brought forth a fusion of indigenous Indian architectural traditions with new influences from the Islamic world. This led to the development of a distinct architectural style that reflected the cultural and religious syncretism of the time in form of Indo- Islamic Architecture.


    Existing Indian architecture:

    • Majorly used Trabeate structure consisting of Columns and beams.
    • Material used was Stone.
    • Buildings contained Shikhara/Vimanas as top structure.
    • Supporting structures like Gopuram, Torana etc.

    After arrival of Islamic Rule in India:

    • Influence of Islamic Architecture:
      • Introduction of New Construction Techniques:
        • Use of arches, domes, and vaults in architectural designs. For example, grand arches of Buland Darwaza.
        • Introduction of Brick and lime mortar as materials.
      • Incorporation of New Artistic Elements:
        • Intricate calligraphy and geometric patterns.
        • Floral motifs and arabesque designs.
        • Use of Pietra dura technique for inlay of precious metals and stones. For example, peitra dura in Taj Mahal.
      • Construction of Islamic Religious Structures:
        • Development of mosques with distinctive features like minarets and mihrabs. For example, Quwwat ul islam Mosque.
        • Construction of tombs and mausoleums for Islamic rulers and saints.
    • Fusion with Indigenous Indian Architecture:
      • Integration of Hindu and Islamic Elements:
        • Utilization of local materials and construction techniques.
        • Blending of Hindu and Islamic decorative elements in architectural designs.
      • Synthesis of Architectural Styles:
        • Creation of hybrid structures like Indo-Islamic palaces and forts.
        • Development of Indo-Islamic gardens in Charbagh style and water structures. For example. Lodhi garden, Aram bagh etc.
    • Impact on Urban Planning:
      • Introduction of Islamic City Layouts:
        • Establishment of planned cities with central mosques and bazaars.
        • For example, Creation of cities like Fatehpur Sikri and Tughlaqabad.


    Islamic architecture started to give existing Indian architecture, massiveness, spaciousness and breadth. The advent of Islamic rule in India resulted in a significant evolution of architectural styles and urban planning.

    The fusion of indigenous Indian traditions with Islamic influences led to the emergence of a unique architectural identity that showcased the cultural and religious diversity of the time. The integration of Hindu and Islamic elements created a harmonious coexistence, evident in structures like the Qutub Minar and Jama Masjid. This architectural evolution not only transformed the physical landscape but also played a crucial role in shaping the cultural and social fabric of India and gave rise to Ganga Jamuni Tehzeeb.

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