Home >> Architecture of India >> Provincial Style of Architecture






|| Delhi Style || Mughal Style || Post-Mughal Style ||

  The Provincial Style of Architecture encompasses the architectural trends and developments noticed in different provincial capitals in India, but specifically in Punjab (1150-1325 A.D.), Bengal (1203-1573 A.D.), Gujarat (1300-1572 A.D.), Jaunpur (1376-1479 A.D.), Malwa (1405-1569 A.D.), Deccan (1347-1617 A.D.), Bijapur (1490-1656 A.D.), Khandesh (1425-1650 AD) and Kashmir (1410 onwards). The Pandua and Adina mosques are the earliest architectural examples in Bengal. The tomb of Akhi Surajuddin, the Kotwali Darwaza, the Dakhil Darwaza and the tomb of Sultan Jalaluddin Mohammad Shah (1414-1431 AD), known as the Eklakhi Tomb, served as prototypes for the subsequent Islamic architecture of Bengal. The other important buildings of Bengal include Tantipara Masjid (1475 A.D.), Chamkatti Masjid (1475 A.D.), Lotan Masjid (1480 A.D.), Chota Sona Masjid (1510 A.D.) and the Qadam Rasool Mosque (1530 A.D.).

Under the Sharqi dynasty Jaunpur became a great centre of art, culture and architectural activity. During the rule of Shamsuddin Ibrahim (1402-1436 A.D.) several palaces, mosques, tombs and other buildings came up, the most prominent being the Atala Masjid built in 1378. Later other important buildings were produced that include Khalis Mukhlis Masjid (1430 A.D.), Jhangiri Masjid (1430 A.D.) Lal Darwaza Masjid (1450 A.D.) and the Jami Masjid (1470 A.D.).  Gujarat witnessed significant architectural activity for over 250 years starting from Muzaffar Shah's declaration of independence from Delhi and the formation of the Sultanate of Gujarat in 1307 A.D. until the conquest of Gujarat by the Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1500 AD. The early phase of the architecture belonging to the 14th century is represented by the Tomb of Baba Farid and the Adina Masjid at Pathan, Jama Masjid of Bharuch (1300), Jami Masjid at Cambay (1325) and the Hilal Khan Qazi's mosque in Dholka (1333). Under the rule of Ahmed Shahi (early 15th century) and Mahmud I Begarha (1459-1511) different types of mosques, tombs and gateways were built at Ahmedabad, Dholka and Sarkhej. Ahmedabad is a city full of architectural masterpieces which include Sayyid Alam's mosque (1412), Teen Darwaza (1415), Tomb of Ahmed Shah (1440), Rani-ka-Hujra (1440), the Jami Masjid (built by the city’s founder Sultan Ahmed Shah in 1423), Qutubuddin's mosque (1454), Rani Sipri Mosque (1505), Sidi Bashir's Mosque (1510), which is famous for its “shaking minarets”, Rani Rupmati Masjid at Mirzapur (built between 1430 and 1440) and the Kankaria Lake, constructed in 1451 by Sultan Qutb-ud-Din.

The cities of Dhar and Mandu of the Malwa province provide examples of distinct architectural elements in the form of polychromatic ornamentation of buildings, which was obtained by the use of coloured stones and marble as well as by means of encaustic tiles. The earliest buildings of this period are the Kamal Maula Masjid (1400) and the Lat Masjid (1405) at Dhar and the Dilawar Khan Masjid (1405) and the Malik Mughis mosque (1452) at Mandu. The architectural activity took a new turn with the establishment of the capital at Mandu, especially under the rule of Hoshang Shah (1405-1435). Important buildings in Mandu are the Jahaz Mahal (a 120 meter long 'ship palace' built by Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din-Khilji between two artificial lakes Munj Talao and Kapur Talao), Taveli Mahal with two wells called Ujali and Andheri Baoli, Hindola Mahal, Dilawar Khan's Mosque, Hoshang Shah's Tomb, Ashrafi Mahal and the Jami Masjid built by Mahmud Shah Khilji I. As Mandu or the 'City of Joy' was associated with the romance of the poet-prince Baz Bahadur and Rani Roopmati, many buildings are devoted to them like the Baz Bahadur's Palace and Roopmati's Pavilion. The city also has several gateways like the Delhi Darwaza, the Alamgir and Bhangi Darwaza, Rampol Darwaza, Jehangir Gate and Tarapur Gate.

The architecture of the Deccan is marked by its distinct originality and independence of style, unlike the architectural styles of the other provinces which combined both the temple architecture and the Islamic building ideals. It derived its elements from the architectural styles of the Sultan of Delhi and that of the distant Persia. These aspects are best illustrated by the evolution of tombs in the Deccan. The earliest specimen afforded by the tomb of Allauddin (14th century) was an imitation in toto of the Tughlaq style of Delhi. The tombs of the 15th century built by the Bahmani rulers of Bidar depict distinct Persian elements dexterously combined with those of the Delhi style. Finally, the tombs of the Qutb Shahi dynasties of the 16th and 17th centuries show a fully developed bulbous or "Tartar" dome, indicating its complete evolution by the amalgamation of various differing styles. The earliest period of architectural development started in 1347 when Allauddin Bahman Shah constructed the Gulbarga Fort and the Jami Masjid at Gulbarga. The second phase is represented by the architecture of Bidar initiated by Ahmed Shah (1422-1436), which includes the Bidar Fort, Mahmud Gawan's Madrassa and the Ali Barid's Tomb.

The Qutub Shahi and Nizam Shahi dynasties contributed greatly towards the development of the Deccan style of architecture. The best architectural specimen is the Charminar built in 1591 by Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah. Often called "Arc de triumph of the East", it is a beautiful structure with four intricately carved minarets built with granite and lime-mortar. The Mecca Masjid, located near the Charminar, is another architectural beauty. It was started in 1614 by Abdullah Qutub Shah and completed in 1687 by Aurangzeb. The Golconda Fort built by Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah in 1525 was an impregnable fort of great strategic importance to most of the rulers. The Qutb Shahi Tombs are a cluster of six magnificent tombs situated a kilometer north of Golconda Fort's Banjara Darwaza. These are built in a unique architectural style which is a mixture of Persian, Pathan and Hindu forms. The tomb of the fifth king of the Qutb Shahi dynasty and founder of Hyderabad - Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah is one of the largest and most imposing of these monuments. The Chowmahalla Palalce built in 1750 by Nizam Salabat Jung was designed along the lines of the Shah's palace in Tehran and consists of a group of palaces each used for a specific purpose. It consists of the Khilwat, Aftab Mahal, the Tahniyat Mahal and the Durbar Hall. The Falaknuma Palace built in 1870 by Nawab Vikar-Ul-Ulmara, the Prime Minister of Hyderabad is a rare blend of Italian and Tudor architecture.

The Adil Shahi dynasty of Bijapur constructed several mosques, tombs and palaces. The development of the dome reached its acme during their reign. They also borrowed some elements like the use of symbol of crescent from the Ottoman Empire. The most distinct monument of this period is, undoubtedly, the Gol Gumbaz built by Mohammad Adil Shah, which is largest masonry dome in the world. The dome is 51metres high and has a diameter of 37metres. The dome is an engineering marvel since it stands unsupported by any pillars. It also has an excellent acoustic system. Bijapur is also famous for the Sat Manzil, Ibrahim Roza, Bara Kaman, Mehtar Mahal, Nagar Khana and the Gagan Mahal. Ibrahim Roza is the tomb of Adil Shai Sultan Ibrahim II (1580-1627 A.D).  The Islamic architecture of Kashmir is typified by use of woodwork. The log construction using deodar trees for the construction of wooden bridges called kadals or the wooden shrines called ziarats are the best illustrations of wooden architecture of Kashmir. The mosque of Shah Hamdan in Srinagar and the Jami Masjid at Srinagar built by Sikandar Butshikan (1400 A.D.) are the typical examples of the wooden architecture of Kashmir. The Mughals tried to revive the art of stone building in Kashmir in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Fort of Hari Parbat, the Pattar Masjid (1623) and the Akhun Mulla Shah's mosque (1649) are illustrations of these efforts.

Sher Shah Suri of the Sur dynasty also made noteworthy contribution to the Indo-Islamic architecture. The town of Sasaram in Bihar is an excellent illustration of the Suri monuments, which are in the form of four tombs viz., Sher Shah's Tomb, the tomb of his father, Hasan Sur Khan built in 1535, the tomb of his son Salim Shah and the tomb of Alwal Khan, the chief architect of Sher Shah. The tomb of Sher Shah Suri is an architectural masterpiece that was to have a profound impact on the evolution of Indo-Islamic architecture. Sher Shah's another great contribution was the completion of the sixth city of Delhi called the Shergarh or Dilli Sher Shai around the Purana Qila area in 1540s. The Purana Qila has three main gates – the Humayun darwaza, Talaqi darwaza and Bara darwaza. The Qila-i-kuhna masjid built by Sher Shah Suri in 1541A.D. is one of the most fascinating buildings in the Purana Qila.

© Copyright  All Rights Reserved 2012-2015