1. Question for UPSC Mains: Art & Culture
  2. Introduction (Origin)
    1. Body#1: Development of Mughal Architecture
    2. Body#2: WHERE are Hindu elements mingled?
    3. Body#3: Why Hindu Elements mingled?
  3. Conclusion: Yes, Hindu elements mingled, tourist appreciate
  4. Self-Assessment Benchmarks & Common Mistakes

Question for UPSC Mains: Art & Culture

  • Q2.  Trace the development of architecture under the Mughals and point out the mingling of Hindu elements in them. (10m, 150 words)
  • मुघल स्थापत्य/ वास्तुकला का विकास व् उसमे हिंदू तत्वों के मिश्रण को चिन्हित कीजिए.

Ans: Watch my Youtube video to study the model Answer structure & list of common mistakes in this question.
Mughal Architecture : Introduction

Introduction (Origin)

  • The Mughals ruled over large parts of India, Pakistan & Afghanistan during the 16th and 17th century. They were great patrons of literature, art and architecture.
  • This empire was founded by Babur, but his reign lasted for only four years. His successor Humanyun’s reign marked with constant struggle against Sher Shah Suri hence these first two Mughal emperors lacked the time, opportunity and funds to build grand monuments. (OR) their contribution to development of literature is greater than to architecture.

Body#1: Development of Mughal Architecture

  • Large scale construction of buildings started during the reign of Emperor Akbar. He had built Fatehpur Sikri’s palace cum fort, Buland Darwaza, Jodha Bai’s palace, Panch Mahal, Humayun’s tomb.
  • Mughal architecture reached zenith during the time of Shah Jahan, who had built Taj Mahal at Agra, Red Fort at Delhi with Rang Mahal, Diwani-Am and Diwan-i-Khas. Moti Masjid, Jama Masjid.
  • While Mughals used Persian-Islamic elements of architecture such as Geometrical and floral designs, Quranic inscriptions (अभिलेख), Chahar-Bagh style of gardens, at the same time, there was mingling of Hindu elements in the following manner:

Body#2: WHERE are Hindu elements mingled?

Mughal Architecture Red Fort
Mughal Architecture Struts
Mughal Architecture Colonnades
Mughal Architecture : Domes Kalash Taj Mahal

  • Bigger domes with Kalash (Finial) as seen in Humayun’s Tomb and Taj Mahal. They appear similar to the temples in Khajuraho.
  • Person forts are made of compressed muds, don’t have chhatri structures. Whereas, Mughal Red Fort has chhatris as decorative pieces and observation posts, and its built from sandstone- similar to the Gwalior Fort built by Hindu kings before the Mughals.
  • Jodha Bai’s Palace has colonnade (row of columns: स्तंभों की पंक्ति) and overhanging balconies (Jharokha) similar to Rajput forts.
  • Similar to Hindu / Rajput stewells, Jodha Bai’s Palace has decorated pillars & struts supporting roof (छत संभालते हुए अलंकृत स्तंभ)
  • Bell, Lotus, Elephant motifs in Tajmahal.
  • Some historians believe ‘Pietra Dura’ Marbal inlay to be of Hindu origin.

Body#3: Why Hindu Elements mingled?

  • Mughals had to become appealing to non-Muslim population as well. They built Sarai, Khanqahs, Dargahs & other public places with local material, local workers.
  • Cross cultural influence inevitable, if not originally then during repairs and rebuilding by local Jamindars & Merchants.
  • Mughals entered in marriage and alliance with the Hindu & Rajput clans. Akbar was a tolerant and adaptive ruler so architectural designs influenced.

Conclusion: Yes, Hindu elements mingled, tourist appreciate

  • Thus, Mughals brought with them Persian style of architecture, but since these monuments were constructed using Indian workers using Indian material to demonstrate strength over Indian masses – the fusion of Hindu elements was inevitable. OR
  • Thus, Mughal architecture is a fusion of the best design elements from India and Persia. From Red Fort in Delhi to Taj Mahal in Agra, these monuments attract both domestic and foreign tourists in large number and are also included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO

Self-Assessment Benchmarks & Common Mistakes

10M Question= Give yourself no less than 0 marks, and no more than 6 marks
Parameter Marks Benchmarks
Introduction and conclusion 0-1-2
  • 0: if directly started body saying “Notable features of Mughal architecture are as following… …”
  • 1: if only introduction written
  • 2: if both introduction and conclusion written
Body 1 to 4 marks
  • Not more than 2 marks if you’ve not mentioned any specific “WHERE ARE HINDU ELEMENTS”
Logical structure -1 to 0
  • (-1) if only long-winded bol-bachhan about “WHY Hindu elements mingled” without demonstrating where.
Concise expression -1 to 1
  • (+1) if drawn diagrams of Chahar bagh, dome and filial.
  • (-1) if longwinded narration of Akbar-Jodha Prem or even wrote about Sher Shah’s architecture.
Language -1 to 0
  • (-1) if appearing in vernacular medium, and yet used English terms such as “आर्किटेक्चर”, “पिलर”, etc.
Total Marks out of 10 0 to 6
  • Don’t give yourself more than 3 marks: if only mentioned 1) 2 rulers, 3 monuments 2) only listed char-bagh, dome, sandstone.
  • Give yourself upto 6 marks: if mentioned above two, plus diagram, plus minimum 3 “WHERE” Hindu elements including “WHY mingled”.

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