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Old April 19th, 2011, 09:03 AM   #41
rahim.katchi
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Purana Qil'a

Known as the 'Old Fort' of Delhi, the Purana Qil'a, the first Mughal capital city, is situated on the eastern edge of Delhi, along the river Jumna. Humayun, the second Mughal emperor (r. 1530-56) began constructing a walled city and fortress on this site in 1533, and named it 'Din-Panah', or 'Refuge of Religion'. The chosen site was an ancient area known as 'Indraprastha', associated with the Hindu epic Mahabarata. The original name for the fortress was 'Dinpannah', or 'asylum of the faith'. The project was not interrupted when he was temporarily deposed by Sher Shah Sur (r. 1540-55), for Sher Shah completed the fortress walls and built two important structures that were used by Humayun when he took back his throne and the city.

The fort walls are over one mile long, and contain three gates. The buildings that survive from the time of Sher Shah were built close to the western gate. They include the Qala-i-Kuhna Masjid, and the Sher Mandal, a three-storeyed, octagonal pavilion. The simple geometric plans, elegant massing, and red and white color scheme are characteristic of Mughal precedents, and like other Indo-Islamic buildings, they display some Hindu forms and decorations within an Islamic style. Although it is believed that the fort contained many more buildings by Humayun, none of them have survived.

Source:
Tillotson, G.H.R. 1990. Mughal India. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 37-42.
Koch, Ebba. 1991. Mughal Architecture. Munich: Prestel, 38.

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Old April 19th, 2011, 04:25 PM   #42
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Firuz Shah Tughlaq Tomb

Firuz Shah (r. 1351-88) of the Delhi-based Tughlaq dynasty was a sultan interested in architecture. He is known for having built various schools, religious establishments, and earthworks.

His tomb is in the middle of a madrasa he commissioned, overlooking a tank of water known as Hauz Khas. The tomb's plain style is faithful to the austerity of much of Tughlaq building. The simple 15 foot square structure is built of ashlar walls finished with lime plaster with arched entrances and merlons along the parapet. Above the parapet rises an octagonal drum, which supports a shallow and slightly pointed dome. The north and west of the tomb are contiguous with one of the wings of the madrasa. To the east are several chattris, small domed structures supported by pillars, which house tombs of saints and religious teachers. The tomb has a low platform to the south that is enclosed by a graceful stone railing.


Internally the tomb measures 29 feet (8.74 meters) and is paved with gray stone slabs. The intrados and ceiling of the dome are embellished with colored bands that intersect each other. The squinches are decorated with plasterwork including incised calligraphy. The designs have been incised and gorgeously painted in dark red, green and turquoise. The medallions, Quranic verses, and floral designs combine to describe paradise.


The tomb contains four unmarked graves; three are made of marble and the fourth, near the east door, is of rubble and plaster. The central grave is that of Firuz Khan. It measures nine by six feet and over two feet in height (three by one and a half meters and over half a meter in height). The other two marble graves, which are similar to the central one, are ascribed to the son and grandson of Firuz Shah, Nasiru'd-Din Muhammad Shah and Alau'd-Din Sikandar Shah.

Sources:
Alfieri, Bianca Maria. 2000. Islamic Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent. London: Laurence King Publishing, 43.
Rani, Abha. 1991. Tughluq Architecture of Delhi. Delhi: Bharati Prakashan, 49,50.
Asher, Catherine. 1992. The New Cambridge History of India: Architecture of Mughal India. Cambridge University Press, 8-9.
Nath, R. 1979. Monuments of Delhi. New Delhi: Ambika Publications, 41.

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Old April 27th, 2011, 02:09 PM   #43
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Fatehpur Sikri Palace Complex: Anup Talao Pavilion

Northeast of the Anup Talao is a profusely ornamented chamber popularly referred to as the "Pavilion of the Turkish Sultana," and now more simply referred to as the Anup Talao pavilion. According to some, Akbar used this pavilion to receive visitors and honored guests. However, its function within a semi-public court has been the subject of much scholarly debate: some argue that it was a zenana residence, the bedroom of one of Akbar’s wives, the daughter of the Turkish Sultan. Others maintain that it was an extension of the imperial library, Akbar’s private study, or a reception space.

Square in plan, the pavilion measures 3.96 per side on the interior, and features a khaprel ceiling. Along its west elevation is a rectangular portico, 2.64 by 4.07 meters, with the same floor-ceiling height as the main chamber and supported on piers that are square in section and octagonal columns.


Carved in floral and geometric patterns, the main chamber is one of the most richly ornamented structures of the entire complex. Opulent carvings adorn dado panels, columns, pilasters, double columns, brackets, and friezes. Every square meters of the interior dado panel is covered with vegetable and animal motifs with distinctive borders of hexagons and swastikas. These panels depict scenes from forests, orchards, and gardens, ingeniously crafted. The pavilion has three windows, each of which are filled with exquisite white marble tracery.


Two colonnades were added to the pavilion, one at the northwest corner and the other at the southeast, connect to the Khwabgah (imperial apartments) and the structure known as the Girl’s School / Abdarkhana (storage area for fruit & water).

Sources:

Brand, Michael and Glenn D. Lowry, Glenn (eds). 1985. Fatehpur-Sikri: A Sourcebook. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 187-188.

Kulbhushan, Jain. 2003. Fatehpur Sikri: Where Spaces Touch Perfection. Weimar: VDG, 52-53.

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Old April 27th, 2011, 02:12 PM   #44
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Fatehpur Sikri Palace Complex: Anup Talao Pavilion

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Old April 27th, 2011, 02:14 PM   #45
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Fatehpur Sikri Palace Complex: Anup Talao

The Anup Talao, or "peerless pool," was completed in 1576 on a wide platform (chabutara) to the north of the Khwabgah (imperial apartments) in the Mahal-i Khass courtyard. The Mahal-i Khass measures 64.3 by 46.73 meters, and is located to the south of the Pachisi Court. Enclosed by a complex of halls, pavilions, and wide covered colonnaded passageways (dalans), the Mahal-i Khass was formerly entirely screened off from the Pachisi Court. At the south of the Mahal-i Khass are the imperial apartments (Daulat Khana), and on its northeast corner is the Anup Talao pavilion (the pavilion of the Turkish Sultana).

Abul Fadl, Akbar’s court historian, records a 1578 order to fill the Anup Talao with copper, silver and gold coins; these were later distributed by the Emperor himself. Akbar’s son Jehangir confirms the event, although he refers to the pool as the "Kapur Talao." The Anup Talao is a red sandstone masonry tank, square in plan and bilaterally symmetrical. A square island platform stands in its centre. Stone bridges, 0.61 meters wide and supported by stone columns with bracket capitals, span 10.06 meters from the center of each side of the platform to the side of the tank. Another name for the Anup Talao, the "Char-Chamad," refers to these four bridges.


The tank served to cool the air near the Khwabgah. It formed part of a system of mini-tanks and canals built on the eastern platform of the Khwabgah. The tank measures 29.26 meters per side and is 3.66 meters deep. The island platform (9.14 m2) is flanked by a jaali balustrade, and has a raised seat (chabutra, 3.66 m2) in its center. A 1905 photograph showing the presence of a corner pillar confirms the original placement of a pavilion (barahdari) over this chabutra. The island platform is supported on columns with exquisitely carved relief capitals, designed to be seen above the water, that form a corridor encircling a closed central volume below the water. This volume might contain a chamber, formerly accessible by a stair from the pavilion atop the platform. A second puzzling stone masonry structure stands in the northeastern quadrant of the tank, closed on all sides except for a slanted vent in its roof.


Two consecutive series of six broad stairs step down from the sides of the tank to the original water level (0.96 meters, or just below the twelfth step). The tank was originally filled via one water channel from the waterworks near the Elephant Gate to the west: the water was carried via a stone duct north of Birbal’s Place, Miriam’s Garden, and the Kothi. A second channel came from the eastern waterworks. Overflow was diverted to the tank found north of the building with a central column (Ekastambha-Prasada), to keep the level of water in the Anup Talao constant.


Later, the drains of the tank were blocked by debris, and the water level rose. Various incidents of drowning were reported in the Anup Talao. At one point, the tank was filled with debris, rubble stone, mortar, and mud up to the level of the sixth step, and a new layer of stone slabs laid down. More recently, this intervention was reversed, and the original level of the tank restored.


The masonry work of the Anup Talao, including its stone railings, was restored under Lord Cruzon (1859-1925) in the early twentieth century.

Sources:
Brand, Michael and Glenn D.Lowry, Glenn (eds). 1985. Fatehpur-Sikri: A Sourcebook. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 75-79.

Nath, R. 2000. Fatehpur Sikri and its Monuments. Agra: The Historical Research Documentation Programme, 15-17.

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Old April 27th, 2011, 03:15 PM   #46
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Fatehpur Sikri Palace Complex: Panch Mahal

The Panj Mahal is a rectangular colonnaded structure open on all sides and built from local red sandstone. It is positioned to act as a "transition" building between the semi-public spaces that surround the Daulat Khana courtyard and the more private spaces of the Royal Harem. Its function is unknown: some assumptions hold that it served as a pleasure resort for the Emperor or that it was used exclusively by the ladies and children of the court. For others, its interconnection with the imperial apartments (the Khwabgah complex) as well as the relation of the building’s main fašade to the public court and its eastern orientation suggest that it might have been used for the Emperor’s daily ritual of Jharokha-Darsana, where Akbar displayed himself to the public assembled in the Pachisi court to worship him and receive his blessings.

As its name implies, the building is comprised of five levels, with the ground floor measuring 22.05 meters north–south by 17.65 meters east–west, and the upper floors decreasing in their horizontal dimensions as they rise, forming an asymmetrical pyramid stacked over the southeast corner. The final, fifth level is a domed chhatri. The total height of the structure equals the total length of its ground floor; however, the building appears vertically dominant, perhaps due to its being raised on a plinth approximately .75 meters above the level of the public court. With the exception of the chhatri dome, the building is a trabeated structure. On the east elevation, double and quadruple series of columns facilitate the transfer of load. The emphasis is visual as well as structural: the east elevation is the building’s principal elevation, overlooking the Pachisi Court.


The Panj Mahal has many entrances: it can be entered on the ground floor via a door from the courtyard of the Sonahra Makan to the south, via a small private entrance in the direction of the building with a central column, via a private entrance at its southeast corner to the Mahal-i Khass, and through an L-shaped passageway. One branch of this passageway connects the Panj Mahal with the Khwabgah; the other runs along the south side of the building and accesses the garden behind it. A staircase at the building’s southwest corner connects the ground level with the first floor terrace. A modern staircase, also on the southwest corner, leads to the upper floors.


The ground floor is laid out in 8 aisles running east-west and 6 running north-south, with a total of 84 columns. Given Akbar’s syncretic approach, it may not be coincidence that the number 84 is regarded as highly auspicious by Hindus. Double columns appear in the outer row along the east elevation; they are also used in the interior rows that align (in plan) with the location of the upper floor. The ground-floor columns are octagonal in section, with the exception of four circular ones. Originally, stone screens were installed between the columns to form a series of small cubicles. Two fragments of these screens are still extant, one near the private entrance and the other at the northeast corner. Evidence of others is still visible in the form of markings on the floor pavement. Several ceiling bays are roughly decorated (white upon a red ground) and many of the stone beams carrying the first floor are carved. The ground floor has a carved jaali balustrade, and no projecting chhajja.


The first floor above ground level is 6 aisles deep east-west and 4 aisles deep north-south, with a total of 56 columns. On this floor the external columns are doubled not only along the east elevation, but along the west and north as well. The corner columns form four-fold arrangements: the columns are round and each one of them bears a unique design. This floor is the most ornate and details in its carvings. A deep chhajja projects from the ceiling of the first floor outwards.


The second floor above ground continues to recede to the southeast, with 4 aisles east-west and 2 aisles north-south. As with the first floor, it has double columns on the eastern external side and a projecting chhajja with a carved frieze. The third floor contains 12 columns, doubled and bracketed along the exteriors. Instead of a projecting chhajja, it has a characteristic jaali balustrade. On its fourth floor above ground, the building is crowned by a square chhatri with a cupola roof. The pavilion is aligned with the second and third rows of columns of the floors below.


The Panj Mahal underwent a series of restorations between 1869-1927, interventions which significantly altered its appearance. No exact records were kept, but it is possible that the stone jaali screens that once divided the ground floor into cubicles, as well as the screens that fit between the columns on the upper floors, were removed at this time. The Panj Mahal may have been conceived of as a version of the Persian bagdir, or wind tower, intended to mediate the high temperatures of the Agra plains.

Sources:

Brand, Michael and Glenn D.Lowry (eds). 1985. Fatehpur-Sikri: A Sourcebook. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 184.

Kulbhushan, Jain. 2003. Fatehpur Sikri: Where Spaces Touch Perfection. Weimar: VDG, 49-50.
Nath, R. 2000. Fatehpur Sikri and its Monuments. Agra: The Historical Research Documentation Programme, 66-69.

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Old April 27th, 2011, 03:51 PM   #47
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Fatehpur Sikri Palace Complex: Astrologer's Seat

To the southeast of the Ankh Michauli is a red sandstone domed pavilion, a typical element of Indian architecture that was widely adopted by the Mughals. Called a "chhatri," literally meaning umbrella, the function of this specific chhatri is unknown. Popular legend calls it the "Astrologer’s Seat;" although records state that Akbar used to consult a group of astrologers, philosophers and yogis, there is no surviving source that verifies the assignment of a seat to one of them. It is more likely that this pavilion served as an architectural element, perhaps for the Emperor to use in relation to the distribution of copper coins.

The pavilion is square in plan, 2.74 meters per side, and is situated on an extension of the same plinth (1.07 meters high) that supports the Ankh Michauli. Traces of a stone railing, which once enclosed it, still remain. At each corner is a column, square at the base, with a carved floral motif on all sides. The column shaft is divided into two sections: the lower section is square in section and transitions via a floral design into the upper section, which is shaped into an octagonal section. Serpentine struts (toranas) emerge at a 45 degree angle from a carved stone monster’s head (makara) on the octagonal shaft, rising to meet under the center of each lintel.

Toranas derive from Jain architecture, and are widely used in Hindu architecture to indicate the ceremonial entrances into temples. Although toranas appear to have a structural function, passing the load from the lintel to the columns, they are actually ornamental. Via small pendentives, the lintels carry a pyramidal roof topped with an ornamental carved frieze of interlocking tulips at its base and a sheath of lotus petals (mahapadma). The mahapadma supports a characteristic Mughal kalash finial, which was restored in the 20th century.

Sources:

Brand, Michael and Glenn D. Lowry (eds). 1985. Fatehpur-Sikri: A Sourcebook. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 190.

Nath, R. 2000. Fatehpur Sikri and its Monuments. Agra: The Historical Research Documentation Programme, 83.

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Old April 27th, 2011, 04:10 PM   #48
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Fatehpur Sikri Palace Complex: Sonahra Makan

The plateau running along the west side of the Anup Talao and the Pachisi Court was the area dedicated to the imperial harem (zenana). It was originally fully enclosed by a stone wall.

West of the Anup Talao court and placed in the center of its own courtyard is a red sandstone building known as the Sonahra Makan (Golden House), on account of its rich interior murals. It is also popularly named "Miriam's Kothi" (residence), after the legend that it housed one of Akbar's wives, a Portuguese Christian named Miriam. However, Akbar's chroniclers make no reference to Bibi Miriam, and it is more likely that this name is linked to Maryam uz-Zamani (d. 1623), the daughter of Rajah Bihari Mall and mother of Prince Salim, Akbar's first-born son. In terms of function, this structure, with its open and formal character, profuse ornamentation, and lack of bathroom facilities, was likely not used as a residence but rather as a drawing room (baithak) where Akbar would receive his court artists.


The Sonahra Makan stands on a platform (two treads up from the ground paving) and an additional plinth (another three treads up from the platform). The plinth and platform are decorated with a cornice carved in an inverted leaf pattern. Steps access the platform from the center of each side. On the north, east, and west, additional steps up the plinth lead into the portico and then into doorways entering into the central hall. The steps on the south side of the plinth lead directly into the central room/bay of the southern elevation.


Measuring 18.24 by 14.75 meters on the exterior, it is bilaterally symmetrical along its long (north-south) axis. Divided into 5 bays along the north-south axis, the building has two main parts. The southern elevation houses two stories, each with three small rooms, 2.90 meters in height. These rooms are divided on the southern elevation into five exterior bays by pilasters. On the ground floor, lintel-topped doorways open into the outer two southern and into the central bay. The two blind bays each feature a small niche set into their centers.


The interior partitioning walls are approximately 1.2 meters thick. The remaining 9 bays contain a central oblong hall with a niche at its northern end. The hall is 5.18 meters in height and surrounded on its east, north, and west by a high colonnaded portico that fills the outer 7 bays. From the outside, the entire building appears to be single-storied; however, while the central hall and porticos are single-height, the southern rooms occupy two stories.


A continuous stone chhajja (restored ca. 1952) runs along each elevation, supported on carved brackets. The carvings depict Hindu deities, symbols, and motifs such as rows of elephants, swans, and kirttimukhas (monsters, lit., "faces of glory"). Above the chhajja is a parapet divided by a horizontal stone detail, a continuous line. The zone below the line is plain, with only two small openings for rainwater discharge on each side; the upper zone is carved into a continuous pattern of outlines of pointed arches.


The building has a flat roof, with a rectangular chhatri over its northern section. This chhattri is composed of eight columns with bracket capitals, carrying lintels that support a projecting horizontal eave. A projecting stone "seat" runs along the lower part of the chhatri's exterior elevations, excepting its entrance. The chhatri has a modified hip roof supported on a tall rectangular base. Along this base is a carved frieze; the ridge is also carved in a leaf pattern and decorated with two molded finials.


Both the interior and exterior walls of the building were entirely painted, mostly in a figurative style, directly on the surface of the stone. These paintings resembled Akbarian miniatures, and depicted elephant fights, hunts, battle scenes, tournaments, and architectural subjects. Within the color scheme, deep blue, red, and gold predominated. Indian flora and fauna, as well as typical clothing, was worked into the design.

Sources:

Brand, Michael and Glenn D. Lowry (eds). 1985. Fatehpur-Sikri: A Sourcebook. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 185-186.

Kulbhushan, Jain. 2003. Fatehpur Sikri: Where Spaces Touch Perfection. Weimar: VDG, 60-62.

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Old April 28th, 2011, 04:15 PM   #49
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Really nice pictures

Ibrahim Roza and Akbar's Tomb are my favourites so far
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Old July 6th, 2011, 12:28 PM   #50
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Fathepur Sikri :Salim Chishti Tomb

The tomb of Salim Chishti is located within the Friday Mosque complex at Fatehpur Sikri, which is located at the southern end of the Fatehpur Sikri palace complex. It occupies a prominent position within the mosque courtyard, facing its main entrance, the Buland Darwaza. The original sepulchre was built by Akbar between 1571 and 1580 to honor the Sufi saint Salim Chishti, the descendent of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, whose tomb is in Ajmer. Legend has it that Akbar, who lacked an heir, sought assistance from Salim Chisti. The son then born to Akbar was named Salim, after the saint, and later became known as Jehangir.

Today, the tomb is a white marble structure raised on a plinth. Its ornamentation and construction are largely inspired by Gujarati tomb architecture, and include Hindu, Jain and Islamic elements. The original building commissioned by Akbar is believed to have been a smaller, red sandstone structure, consisting of today's inner tomb chamber. Jehangir later introduced the verandah, the southern porch and the extensive marble cladding.
On the south, an ablution tank and a raised white marble plinth precede an entrance porch notable for its (nonstructural) serpentine brackets which traverse between the columns and the porch roof. The building, comprising the tomb chamber and a circumambulatory verandah, is square in plan and measures 14.63 meters per side. It is clad completely in white makrana marble. The inner tomb chamber, which contains the cenotaph of the saint, is also square in plan and measures 4.88 meters per side.

The verandah features finely carved stone jali panels between its columns and pilasters. The jali panels take the shape of a rectangular frame with an inset ogee arch. At the corners of the verandah, three small vertical jali panels form side lights flanking the arch on either side; a horizontal band at the springline of the arch divides it into two sections, and its tymphanum above creates a third. Each panel is filled with intricate geometric patterns; the fine detailing gives the marble the appearance of ivory. On the interior, the opaque surfaces of the verandah contain inlaid Arabic inscriptions in black marble from the Quran and the Hadith.

A very broad chajja (eave) encircling the building's elevations, including the porch, is supported on S-shaped Gujarati-type struts, with the space between the curves of the ‘S’ filled with intricate jali work in geometrical and floral designs. These nonstructural struts are further articulated with a molded pendant at the lower end and a half chakra (a circular medallion) at the crown. Similar serpentine struts can also be found on the small Stonecutter’s Mosque. They are entirely decorative; the load from the chajja is transferred to a system of bracket supports that project from the capitals of the columns. The roof over the verandah is corbelled ( a "lantern" roof), and the tomb chamber is surmounted by a single central marble hemispherical dome supported on squinches within and crowned by a modest lotus finial without.

The cenotaph is located in the centre of the inner tomb chamber and is covered by a canopy made of ebony and inlaid with mother of pearl. The interior of the tomb is decorated profusely with paintings, covering almost all surfaces from the skirting to the dome. Created on plaster applied to the stone walls, these paintings contain a combination of organic and geometric motifs, a style which would date them to the reign of Shah Jahan (reg. 1628-1657).

The materials of the tomb indicate that its current form is the product of a renovation by Jehangir, one undertaken approximately 20 years after Akbar built the original structure. The rich marble veneer of the verandah and the external surfaces do not belong to Akbar’s period, when marble was used quite sparingly in the form of inlay and ornament, and most buildings were clad in red sandstone; examples include Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi and the Jehangiri Mahal in Agra, both built by Akbar. In addition, the burial chamber has a brick skeleton, with stone used only in the skirting; this forms the basis of the conjecture that the original site was limited to the internal tomb chamber, which would have been clad in red sandstone.

Jehangir’s memoirs include references to additions made to the Salim Chisti tomb during his reign which were carried out under the supervision of Qutb Al Din Kukaltash Kuban, the grandson of Salim Chisti. In 1605-1607, the verandah and porch were added along with their corbelled roof and the jali screens, and the external surfaces were clad with marble. It is probable that the continuous chajja and serpentine struts existed in the original structure, but in red sand stone, as present in the Stonecutter’s Mosque in the Fatehpur Sikri complex. The entire composition of chajja and struts would have been redone in marble and added to the new exterior of the tomb during Jehangir's renovation.

Decorative details in the structure include the repeating patterns of straight lines, six-sided stars and the Hindu swastika found within the jali panels of the verandah. The padma (lotus) motif is found in the spandrels of the arches, and chakra motifs are found on the struts, along with more traditional Islamic motifs and Arabic inscriptions.

The tomb of Saint Salim Chishti continues to be an important pilgrimage destination for Hindus and Muslims alike, particularly for would-be mothers.

Sources:

Alfieri, Bianca Maria. 2000. Islamic Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent. London: Calmann and King Ltd., 220-221.

Nath, R. 1985. History of Mughal Architecture, Vol. II: Akbar-The Age of Personality Architecture. New Delhi: Abhinav Publications, 201-210.

Peck, Lucy. 2008. Agra: The Architectural Heritage. New Delhi: Lotus Collection, 170.

Tillotson, G.H.R. 1990. Architectural Guides for Travelers: Mughal India. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 121-123.

"Salim Chisti Tomb". World Monuments Fund Panographies. http://www.world-heritage-tour.org/a...iTomb_out.html. [Accessed February 2, 2006]

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Old July 10th, 2011, 03:14 PM   #51
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Panch Mahal is so nice!
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Old July 11th, 2011, 10:24 PM   #52
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Rahim.Katchi...

you have done a tremendous job so far for this thread! Your efforts deserve great praise.

This thread is far from being complete yet. The sub-continent is full of monuments dating from the time of Muslim empires. Fatehpur Sikri has some other notable monuments - the Buland Darwaza and the Jama Mosque.

Also, other key centers of Indo-Islamic architecture (pre-British) are Agra, Delhi (Mughal era), Lahore, Lukhnow, Kashmir, and Sheikhupura (non-exclusive). It would be great to include pictures of remaining monuments from these places.
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Old July 13th, 2011, 10:03 AM   #53
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I hope I can visit one of those place and experience its historic feeling.
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Old September 7th, 2011, 01:47 PM   #54
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Hyderabad darshan

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Charminar, Hyderabad (built by Qutub Shahi dynasty in 1591)



I got the darshan of hyderabad
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Old September 9th, 2011, 09:47 AM   #55
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Agra Fort Complex

The Agra Fort lies along the Jamuna River in Agra, northwest of the Taj Mahal. The fortress that Akbar began in 1565 was constructed atop the foundations of a mud-brick fortress attributed to Sikander Lodi; since Akbar's time, the Agra Fort has been added to, renovated and restored many times. However, Akbar is responsible for the use of red sandstone veneer, which gives the complex its characteristic hue. More than five hundred masonry buildings, a microcosm of the city, may have originally been held within the fort complex. These buildings, inspired by the architecture of Gujarat and Bengal, featured trabeated construction and Hindu decorative motifs.

After Akbar, his grandson Shah Jahan carried out the most extensive building projects within the complex, including the Diwan-i 'Am. Between 1628-1637, Shah Jehan rebuilt the three main palace courtyards and introduced white marble and polished stucco to the fort's red sandstone material palette. The fort remained the main imperial residence until 1648, when Shah Jahan shifted his court to Delhi; however, its place in Mughal history continued when Aurangzeb took the throne from Shah Jehan in 1658, imprisoning his father in the fort, even building an additional wall (1659-1662) to seal Shah Jehan inside.

As the Mughal empire waned over the eighteenth century, the fort was variously occupied by the Jats and the Marathas for short periods, entering British hands in 1803 with the annexation of Agra. The British used the fort for military purposes, including turning the Diwan-i 'Am into an arsenal. Under British occupation, many of the fort's Mughal structures were destroyed and army barracks erected in their place. However, many of the main palace structures near the river survived. From 1876, the upkeep of the fort's historic buildings came under the public works department, and the beginning of the twentieth century saw a renewal of interest in the fort. Lord Curzon initiated major restorations in the fortress, including the removal of many of the British military additions.

In 1923-24, the Archaeological Survey of India made the southern segment of the fort complex, including the residential palaces and the Moti Masjid, accessible to the public through the south gate. After Indian independence in 1947, the fort was taken over by the Indian army; in the early twenty-first century, a large part of the northern segment still remains under military administration. In 1982, the Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal were both designated as World Heritage Sites.

The structures forming today's Agra Fort include the ramparts, the Hathi Pol ("elephant gate"), the Amar Singh Gate and the Akbari Gate, which together form the southern gate, the Diwan-i 'Am (hall of public audience), the Daulat Khana, the Diwan-i Khass (hall of private audience), the Anguri Bagh ("grape garden"), the Shah Burj ("royal tower"), the Aramghar ("sleeping chambers"), the Moti Masjid, and the Akbari Mahal, Janaghiri Mahal, Khass Mahal, and imperial hammam.

The present-day fortification follows the irregular outline of the older Lodi construction: dressed red sandstone walls about 21 meters high with a circumference of 2.5 kilometers, enclose the fort. The walls abut the Yamuna River to the east with a straight line (725 meters in length), then form an irregular arc, protected by a moat, towards the west.

There are two main gate complexes into the fort, both protected by barbicans. Each gate comprises two gates: the inner gate penetrates Akbar’s older wall and the outer gate punctures Aurangzeb’s outer wall. On the west facing the city of Agra, the Delhi gate leads to the inner Hathi Pol, originally the main public entrance to the fort. From just south of the Hathi Pol, a 226-meter long market street extends east toward the large Diwan-i 'Am courtyard. At the present (2010), the western gate is used mainly by the Indian army, which still occupies parts of the fort located north of the market street. With the exception of the Moti Masjid, most of the structures open to the public are located to the south of the market street.

The southern gate, which includes the outer Amar Singh Gate followed by the Akbari gate, was originally used by the imperial family and is now the main public entrance into the fort complex. A ramp ascends northwards from the southern gate to the courtyard of the Diwan-i 'Am. This north-south path forms the residential axis of the fort, with a succession of courtyards and palaces running to its east along the river’s edge. In the original layout of the fort, the east-west axis defined the public route, while the north-south axis formed the imperial or residential route, and both routes converged at the courtyard of the Diwan-i 'Am.

Along the residential axis, the southernmost courtyard complexes have survived from Akbar’s reign. These include the (partly preserved) Akbari Mahal and Jahangiri Mahal. To the north of the Jahangiri Mahal are the palace structures known as the Anguri Bagh, the Khass Mahal, and the Diwan-i Khass. In 1628 and 1637 Shah Jahan reconstructed all these palaces, as well as the courtyard of the Diwan-i 'Am. All the courtyards are organized then-contemporary principles of riverfront garden design: they are enclosed on three sides by narrow wings of one or two storeys, while the riverside along the east holds pavilions reserved for royal ceremonies and leisure.

The southern gate, originally called the Akbari Darwaza, was renamed the Amar Singh Gate by the British after an episode at the fort involving the Rajput Rao Amar Singh. It has three consecutive entrance gateways built at right angles to each other. This awkward approach was designed to confuse any attacking force and create tight spaces, too restricted for the use of a battering ram. A simple ogee arched outer gate at the end of the drawbridge punctures Aurangzeb’s wall; a second one within (perpendicular to the first) is also taller than the first and is clad primarily in red sandstone with intricate tile work. This gate leads to a courtyard, about 45 meters east-west and 25 meters north-south, where the third and final gate punctures through the northern wall. Tall bastions articulated by arched niches flank the ogee arch gateway here. Remnants of geometric multicolored tile patterns are visible on the lower portions of the bastions, while the unornamented upper niches are clad in red sandstone. These bastions are capped by trabeated pavilions with sandstone piers (rectangular in plan) that connect with an open gallery above the gate. The pavilions are roofed by hemispherical cupolas and protected by projecting stone eaves (chajjas).

A straight ramp, flanked by shear walls for the defensive military advantage, leads north to the Diwan-i 'Am through a gateway in the southern gallery. The courtyard of the Diwan-i 'Am measures 120 meters north-south and approximately 155 meters east-west and is surrounded by narrow single-storey galleries (dalans). The courtyard elevations of these dalans are red sandstone multi-cusped arches supported on rectangular pillars. Their other elevations are enclosed (blind) and currently plastered white. The north and south dalans include red sandstone gateways approximately twice the height of the single-storey galleries. The northern gateway leads to the Moti Masjid; the southern gateway connects to the entrance ramp.

Projecting into the courtyard on its eastern side is the great audience hall, the Daulat-Khana-i-Khas-i-u-Am. This hall, measuring 65 meters north-south and 24 meters east-west, is built on a grid of slender fluted stone columns supporting multi-cusped arches in both directions. The outer colonnades have double arches and columns and are protected by projecting chajjas supported on stone brackets. The Daulat Khana is flat-roofed, and the entire structure is plastered white. The building is open and accessible in all directions from the courtyard, with the exception of its eastern wall, which is shared with the Diwan-i Khass. This wall holds a jharokha, or balcony, from which the emperor would address his courtiers and administrators. This niche-like jharokha is located in the centre of the eastern wall, approximately two meters above floor level. It has three cusped arches on slender columns flush with the eastern wall of the hall, while its inner walls are covered with small arched niches ("chini khana" niches). The walls and pillars of the jharokha are decorated profusely with colorful floral pattern inlays. Generally, the Diwan-i 'Am is organized like a Mughal courtyard mosque, with the mihrab niche in the qibla wall replaced by the emperor’s jharokha, reinforcing his dual status as political and spiritual leader.

The series of palaces and courtyards that form the residential axis of the fort is located southeast of the Diwan-i 'Am along the river. While the Diwan-i 'Am was widely accessible, the degree of privacy increased as one moved toward the river, and the riverfront itself was reserved exclusively for the imperial circle. Abutting the Diwan-i 'Am hall towards the east is the Diwan-i Khass, a semi-official palace, while the Anguri Bagh to its south marked the most private area, that reserved for the emperor's court and his family. All of these buildings were constructed by Shah Jahan, while the Jahangiri Mahal and the Akbari Mahal, south of the Anguri Bagh, are the original palaces from Akbar’s reign.

The Diwan-i Khass, now called the Machchhi Bhavan ("fish house"), includes a courtyard measuring 40 meters east-west and 45 meters north-south and surrounded by two-storied colonnades of Shahjahani columns supporting multi-cusped arches. Along the eastern (Yamuna) edge, the upper story of the colonnade breaks to form a river-facing terrace flanked by the Diwan-i Khass pavilion to the south and the Hammam (royal bathhouse) to the north. The Diwan-i Khass pavilion is a two bay structure clad in white marble. Of its bays, the first, called the "iwan," is a pillared hall facing the terrace with multi-cusped arches on slender marble columns. The inner bay, referred to as the "Tanabi Khana," can be entered through five equally spaced ogee arched openings supported on rectangular columns. The surfaces of the columns are articulated with shallow niches, while each archway is topped with an opening covered with an intricate stone jali screen. The roof of the building is flat, and includes a particular detail inspired by the traditional Bengali roof: the roof-wall intersections are slightly rounded and plastered.

To the east of the Diwan-i Khass, the Shah Burj (royal tower) projects towards the river from one of Akbar’s red sandstone bastions. A white marble structure with an arcaded front towards the river and more solid edges, it is decorated with small shallow niches facing west and crowned by an octagonal pavilion ( chattri) with a copper-gilded domed roof. The chattri features alternating red sandstone and white marble panels with openings and jalis, and it was here that the emperor would have his most private meetings with the highest dignitaries, family members, and historians.

To the south of the Shah Burj is the Anguri Bagh ("grape garden"), built by Shah Jahan in 1636. The garden measures 40 meters east-west and 45 meters north-south. Narrow double-storied buildings border it on the north, south and west, and its eastern edge contains the three marble structures of the Khass Mahal (special imperial palace). Designed as a traditional rectangular chahar bagh, the garden is divided by marble walkways which intersect in the centre to form a marble pool. The four cultivated quadrants have interlocking dividers made of slender red sandstone sections laid out is repetitive geometric patterns. The double storied buildings are a succession of open pillared verandahs and small-enclosed rooms (hujra). The upper story has a continuous balcony supported on stone brackets and protected by a red sandstone jali parapet. These buildings, considered to have been the zenana, or residences of the imperial women, have undergone several alterations over time.

The Khass Mahal consists of the central Aramghar (sleeping chambers) of the emperor. It is flanked on either side by identical buildings with curved Bengal roofs; both are also enclosed by walls, designating them as highly private. The southern building was the personal pavilion of Shah Jahan’s daughter Jahanara, while the Bangla-i-Darshan (imperial viewing pavilion) on the north was used by the emperor: his subjects would gather below the fort in order to view him in the pavilion above.

South of the Anguri Bagh is the Akbari Mahal, built by its namesake, and of which very little survives. The better-preserved Jahangiri Mahal is located to its south. Built by Akbar in 1570, the Jahangiri is the only one of Akbar's palace constructions to survive completely intact. One theory holds that the building was so titled after Akbar’s heir, and there is some conjecture that Jahangir used the palace as a residence. However, Jahangir adopted his title only after his accession to the throne. The very private elevation of the building, which lacks openings in the front, and the internal spatial arrangement support the building's use as a zenana, or residence for the imperial women.

The Jahangiri Mahal is faced in red sandstone. Its western elevation contains a central entrance archway set in a deep iwan, flanked by shallow blind arches. Atop this story is a continuous open gallery. Rounded bastions, each with its own domed chattri, are set on either side of the building. The entrance archway leads to a square domed chamber, and then proceeds through an offset private entrance to the central courtyard, around which the spaces of the palace are organized in consecutive bands. The building has a trabeated system of construction with corbelled arches supported on rectangular columns forming colonnaded galleries around the central courtyard. Intricate carvings, which combine Islamic geometric patterns and Hindu motifs such as circular medallions, lotus flowers, and birds, decorate the building.

Some decorative inlay work is present in the buildings from Akbar’s time, particularly in the gate structures. However, it is the Shahjahani architecture within the complex that displays a profusion of pietra dura inlay work set into the white marble structures. This articulation is very similar to that found in the Taj Mahal, and it is possible that the same craftsmen were employed in both projects.

The original aesthetic of the fortress as defined by Akbar was Indo-Islamic, influenced by the architectures of Gujarat and Bengal, provinces at the extreme ends of the Mughal empire. The result was a truly Mughal architecture, a hybrid of Islamic geometric decoration and Hindu motifs over predominantly (Hindu) trabeated structures with small domes present in the chattris.


Sources:

Koch, Ebba. 2006. The Complete Taj Mahal. London: Thames and Hudson, 66-72.

Nath, R. 1997. Agra and its Monuments. Agra: Historical Research Documentation Programme, 35-72.

Koch, Ebba. 1991. Mughal Architecture: An Outline of its History and Development (1526-1858). Munich: Prestel, 53-56.

Peck, Lucy. 2008. Agra: The Architectural Heritage. New Delhi: Lotus Collection, 49-52.

Tillotson, G.H.R. 1990. Architectural Guides for Travelers: Mughal India. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 71-83.

"Agra Red Fort". World Monuments Fund Panographies. http://www.world-heritage-tour.org/a...dFort/map.html. [Accessed February 2, 2006]

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Old September 9th, 2011, 11:23 AM   #56
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wow
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Old September 9th, 2011, 12:53 PM   #57
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Agra Fort Complex

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Old September 9th, 2011, 01:24 PM   #58
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Agra Fort Complex: Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience) - was used to speak to the people and listen to petitioners and once housed the Peacock Throne

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Old September 9th, 2011, 01:34 PM   #59
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Agra Fort Complex: Musamman Burj

Musamman Burj was built by Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is said that at first a small marble palace built by Akbar was situated at this site, which was later demolished by Jehangir to erect new buildings. Shah Jahan in his turn chose this site to erect the multi-storied marble tower inlaid with precious stones for Mumtaz Mahal. It was built between 1631-40 and offers exotic views of the famous Taj Mahal.

The Musamman Burj is made of delicate marble lattices with ornamental niches so that the ladies of the court could gaze out unseen. The decoration of the walls is pietra dura. The chamber has a marble dome on top and is surrounded by a verandah with a beautiful carved fountain in the center.

The tower looks out over the River Yamuna and is traditionally considered to have one of the most poignant views of the Taj Mahal. It is here that Shah Jahan along with his favorite daughter Jahanara Begum had spent his last few years as a captive of his son Aurangzeb. He lay here on his death bed while gazing at the Taj Mahal in Agra.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musamman_Burj

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Old October 15th, 2011, 09:14 AM   #60
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Jama Masjid, Ahmedabad

Constructed in the year 1423 A.D, the Ahmedabad Jama Masjid was established by Sultan Ahmed Shah, the founder of the Ahmedabad city.



http://www.flickr.com/photos/harivad...ry/5111421101/



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