Old NCERT Textbook (Satish Chandra): Cultural Development in India (1300–1500) Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC

UPSC: Old NCERT Textbook (Satish Chandra): Cultural Development in India (1300–1500) Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC

The document Old NCERT Textbook (Satish Chandra): Cultural Development in India (1300–1500) Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course History for UPSC CSE.
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 Page 1


ELEVEN
Cultural Development in India (1300–1500)
The establishment of the Delhi Sultanat towards the beginning of the
thirteenth century may be said to mark a new phase in the cultural
development of the country. The Turkish invaders who came to India were by
no means rude barbarians. Coming to West Asia during the ninth and tenth
centuries from their Central Asian homelands, they had accepted Islam, just
as the earlier invaders from Central Asia had accepted Buddhism and
Hinduism. They had also assimilated rapidly the culture of the area. The
Arabo-Persian culture, which had embraced the Islamic lands from Morocco
and Spain to Iran and its adjacent area, was at its height at the time. The
people of the region had made many important contributions in the field of
science, navigation and literature, etc. When the Turks came to India, they
not only had a well-defined faith in Islam to which they were deeply attached,
they also had definite ideas of government, art, architecture, etc. The
interaction of the Turks with the Indians who held strong religious beliefs and
had well-developed ideas of art, architecture and literature resulted, in the
long run, in the development of a new enriched culture. But the process was a
long one, of destruction followed or accompanied by periods of construction.
Mutual misunderstanding and strife is always present when the two sides
have strongly-held views. More significant, however, were the efforts at
mutual understanding which ultimately led to a process of assimilation in
many fields, such as art and architecture, music, literature, and even in the
fields of customs and ceremonies, rituals and religious beliefs, science and
technology. However, the elements of confrontation and conflict remained
strongly entrenched in both the communities. The process of assimilation
and convergence, therefore, had many ups and downs, and varied from
region to region, from field to field and from period to period.
ARCHITECTURE
Page 2


ELEVEN
Cultural Development in India (1300–1500)
The establishment of the Delhi Sultanat towards the beginning of the
thirteenth century may be said to mark a new phase in the cultural
development of the country. The Turkish invaders who came to India were by
no means rude barbarians. Coming to West Asia during the ninth and tenth
centuries from their Central Asian homelands, they had accepted Islam, just
as the earlier invaders from Central Asia had accepted Buddhism and
Hinduism. They had also assimilated rapidly the culture of the area. The
Arabo-Persian culture, which had embraced the Islamic lands from Morocco
and Spain to Iran and its adjacent area, was at its height at the time. The
people of the region had made many important contributions in the field of
science, navigation and literature, etc. When the Turks came to India, they
not only had a well-defined faith in Islam to which they were deeply attached,
they also had definite ideas of government, art, architecture, etc. The
interaction of the Turks with the Indians who held strong religious beliefs and
had well-developed ideas of art, architecture and literature resulted, in the
long run, in the development of a new enriched culture. But the process was a
long one, of destruction followed or accompanied by periods of construction.
Mutual misunderstanding and strife is always present when the two sides
have strongly-held views. More significant, however, were the efforts at
mutual understanding which ultimately led to a process of assimilation in
many fields, such as art and architecture, music, literature, and even in the
fields of customs and ceremonies, rituals and religious beliefs, science and
technology. However, the elements of confrontation and conflict remained
strongly entrenched in both the communities. The process of assimilation
and convergence, therefore, had many ups and downs, and varied from
region to region, from field to field and from period to period.
ARCHITECTURE
One of the first requirements of the new rulers was houses to live in, and to
have places of worship. They at first converted some temples and other
existing buildings into mosques while destroying many others, and using
their material for building mosques. Examples of this are the Quwwat-ul-
Islam mosque near the Qutab Minar in Delhi, and the building at Ajmer
called Arhai Din ka Jhonpra. The former had been a temple, the latter had
been a monastery. The only new construction at Delhi was a facade of three
elaborately carved arches in front of garbhagriha which was demolished. The
style of decoration used on these arches is very interesting: no human or
animal figures were used since it was considered to be un-Islamic to do so.
Instead, they used scrolls of flowers and verses of the Quran which were
intertwined in a very artistic manner. Soon, the Turks started constructing
their own buildings. For this purpose they mostly used the indigenous
craftsmen, such as stone-cutters, masons, etc., who were famous for their
skills. Later, some master architects came to India from West Asia. In their
buildings, the Turks used the arch and the dome on a wide scale. Neither the
arch nor the dome was a Turkish or Muslim invention. The Arabs borrowed
them from Rome through the Byzantine empire, developed them and made
them their own.
The use of the arch and the dome had a number of advantages. The dome
provided a pleasing skyline and, as the architects gained more experience and
confidence, the dome rose higher. Many experiments were made in putting a
round dome on a square building, and in raising the dome higher and higher.
In this way, many lofty and impressive buildings were constructed. The arch
and the dome dispensed with the need for a large number of pillars to support
the roof, and enabled the construction of large halls with a clear view. Such
places of assembly were useful in mosques as well as in palaces. However, the
arch and the dome needed a strong cement, otherwise the stones could not be
held in place. The Turks used fine quality light mortar in their buildings.
Thus, new architectural forms and mortar of a superior kind became
widespread in north India, with the arrival of the Turks.
The arch and the dome were known to the Indians earlier, but they were
not used on a large scale. Moreover, the correct scientific method of
constructing the arch was rarely employed. The architectural device generally
used by the Indians consisted of putting one stone over another, narrowing
Page 3


ELEVEN
Cultural Development in India (1300–1500)
The establishment of the Delhi Sultanat towards the beginning of the
thirteenth century may be said to mark a new phase in the cultural
development of the country. The Turkish invaders who came to India were by
no means rude barbarians. Coming to West Asia during the ninth and tenth
centuries from their Central Asian homelands, they had accepted Islam, just
as the earlier invaders from Central Asia had accepted Buddhism and
Hinduism. They had also assimilated rapidly the culture of the area. The
Arabo-Persian culture, which had embraced the Islamic lands from Morocco
and Spain to Iran and its adjacent area, was at its height at the time. The
people of the region had made many important contributions in the field of
science, navigation and literature, etc. When the Turks came to India, they
not only had a well-defined faith in Islam to which they were deeply attached,
they also had definite ideas of government, art, architecture, etc. The
interaction of the Turks with the Indians who held strong religious beliefs and
had well-developed ideas of art, architecture and literature resulted, in the
long run, in the development of a new enriched culture. But the process was a
long one, of destruction followed or accompanied by periods of construction.
Mutual misunderstanding and strife is always present when the two sides
have strongly-held views. More significant, however, were the efforts at
mutual understanding which ultimately led to a process of assimilation in
many fields, such as art and architecture, music, literature, and even in the
fields of customs and ceremonies, rituals and religious beliefs, science and
technology. However, the elements of confrontation and conflict remained
strongly entrenched in both the communities. The process of assimilation
and convergence, therefore, had many ups and downs, and varied from
region to region, from field to field and from period to period.
ARCHITECTURE
One of the first requirements of the new rulers was houses to live in, and to
have places of worship. They at first converted some temples and other
existing buildings into mosques while destroying many others, and using
their material for building mosques. Examples of this are the Quwwat-ul-
Islam mosque near the Qutab Minar in Delhi, and the building at Ajmer
called Arhai Din ka Jhonpra. The former had been a temple, the latter had
been a monastery. The only new construction at Delhi was a facade of three
elaborately carved arches in front of garbhagriha which was demolished. The
style of decoration used on these arches is very interesting: no human or
animal figures were used since it was considered to be un-Islamic to do so.
Instead, they used scrolls of flowers and verses of the Quran which were
intertwined in a very artistic manner. Soon, the Turks started constructing
their own buildings. For this purpose they mostly used the indigenous
craftsmen, such as stone-cutters, masons, etc., who were famous for their
skills. Later, some master architects came to India from West Asia. In their
buildings, the Turks used the arch and the dome on a wide scale. Neither the
arch nor the dome was a Turkish or Muslim invention. The Arabs borrowed
them from Rome through the Byzantine empire, developed them and made
them their own.
The use of the arch and the dome had a number of advantages. The dome
provided a pleasing skyline and, as the architects gained more experience and
confidence, the dome rose higher. Many experiments were made in putting a
round dome on a square building, and in raising the dome higher and higher.
In this way, many lofty and impressive buildings were constructed. The arch
and the dome dispensed with the need for a large number of pillars to support
the roof, and enabled the construction of large halls with a clear view. Such
places of assembly were useful in mosques as well as in palaces. However, the
arch and the dome needed a strong cement, otherwise the stones could not be
held in place. The Turks used fine quality light mortar in their buildings.
Thus, new architectural forms and mortar of a superior kind became
widespread in north India, with the arrival of the Turks.
The arch and the dome were known to the Indians earlier, but they were
not used on a large scale. Moreover, the correct scientific method of
constructing the arch was rarely employed. The architectural device generally
used by the Indians consisted of putting one stone over another, narrowing
the gap till it could be covered by a coping-stone or by putting a beam over a
slab of stones. The Turkish rulers used both the dome and arch method as
well as the slab and beam method in their buildings.
In the sphere of decoration, the Turks eschewed representation of human
and animal figures in their buildings. Instead, they used geometrical and
floral designs, combining them with panels of inscriptions containing verses
from the Quran. Thus, the Arabic script itself became a work of art. The
combination of these decorative devices was called arabesque. They also freely
borrowed Hindu motifs such as the bell motif the bel motif, swastika, lotus,
etc. Thus, like the Indians, the Turks were intensely fond of decoration. The
skill of the Indian stone-cutters was fully used for the purpose. The walls of
the small tomb of Iltutmish (near the Qutab Minar, Delhi) were so intricately
carved that hardly a square inch is left vacant. The Turks also added colour to
their buildings by using red sandstone. Yellow sandstone, or marble was used
in these buildings for decoration and to show off the colour of red sandstone.
The most magnificent building constructed by the Turks in the thirteenth
century was the Qutab Minar. This tapering tower, originally 71.4 metre high,
was begun by Aibak, and completed by Iltutmish. It is wrong to think that it
was dedicated to the Sufi saint, Qutab-ud-Din Bakhtiyar Kaki, the venerated
saint of Delhi, since it was not called at the time as Qutab Minar but the
Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque. Although traditions of building towers are to be
found both in India and West Asia, the Qutab Minar is unique in many ways.
It derives its effect mainly from the skilful manner in which the balconies
have been projected yet linked with the main tower, the use of red and white
sandstone and marble in panels and in the top stages, and the ribbed effect.
The Khalji period saw a lot of building activity. Alauddin built his capital at
Siri, a few kilometres away from the site around the Qutab. Unfortunately,
hardly anything of this city survives now. Alauddin planned a tower twice the
height of the Qutab, but did not live to complete it. But he added an entrance
door to the Qutab. This door, which is called the Alai Darwaza, has arches of
very pleasing proportions. It also contains a dome which, for the first time,
was built on correct scientific lines. Thus, the art of building the arch and the
dome on scientific lines had been mastered by the Indian craftsmen by this
time.
Page 4


ELEVEN
Cultural Development in India (1300–1500)
The establishment of the Delhi Sultanat towards the beginning of the
thirteenth century may be said to mark a new phase in the cultural
development of the country. The Turkish invaders who came to India were by
no means rude barbarians. Coming to West Asia during the ninth and tenth
centuries from their Central Asian homelands, they had accepted Islam, just
as the earlier invaders from Central Asia had accepted Buddhism and
Hinduism. They had also assimilated rapidly the culture of the area. The
Arabo-Persian culture, which had embraced the Islamic lands from Morocco
and Spain to Iran and its adjacent area, was at its height at the time. The
people of the region had made many important contributions in the field of
science, navigation and literature, etc. When the Turks came to India, they
not only had a well-defined faith in Islam to which they were deeply attached,
they also had definite ideas of government, art, architecture, etc. The
interaction of the Turks with the Indians who held strong religious beliefs and
had well-developed ideas of art, architecture and literature resulted, in the
long run, in the development of a new enriched culture. But the process was a
long one, of destruction followed or accompanied by periods of construction.
Mutual misunderstanding and strife is always present when the two sides
have strongly-held views. More significant, however, were the efforts at
mutual understanding which ultimately led to a process of assimilation in
many fields, such as art and architecture, music, literature, and even in the
fields of customs and ceremonies, rituals and religious beliefs, science and
technology. However, the elements of confrontation and conflict remained
strongly entrenched in both the communities. The process of assimilation
and convergence, therefore, had many ups and downs, and varied from
region to region, from field to field and from period to period.
ARCHITECTURE
One of the first requirements of the new rulers was houses to live in, and to
have places of worship. They at first converted some temples and other
existing buildings into mosques while destroying many others, and using
their material for building mosques. Examples of this are the Quwwat-ul-
Islam mosque near the Qutab Minar in Delhi, and the building at Ajmer
called Arhai Din ka Jhonpra. The former had been a temple, the latter had
been a monastery. The only new construction at Delhi was a facade of three
elaborately carved arches in front of garbhagriha which was demolished. The
style of decoration used on these arches is very interesting: no human or
animal figures were used since it was considered to be un-Islamic to do so.
Instead, they used scrolls of flowers and verses of the Quran which were
intertwined in a very artistic manner. Soon, the Turks started constructing
their own buildings. For this purpose they mostly used the indigenous
craftsmen, such as stone-cutters, masons, etc., who were famous for their
skills. Later, some master architects came to India from West Asia. In their
buildings, the Turks used the arch and the dome on a wide scale. Neither the
arch nor the dome was a Turkish or Muslim invention. The Arabs borrowed
them from Rome through the Byzantine empire, developed them and made
them their own.
The use of the arch and the dome had a number of advantages. The dome
provided a pleasing skyline and, as the architects gained more experience and
confidence, the dome rose higher. Many experiments were made in putting a
round dome on a square building, and in raising the dome higher and higher.
In this way, many lofty and impressive buildings were constructed. The arch
and the dome dispensed with the need for a large number of pillars to support
the roof, and enabled the construction of large halls with a clear view. Such
places of assembly were useful in mosques as well as in palaces. However, the
arch and the dome needed a strong cement, otherwise the stones could not be
held in place. The Turks used fine quality light mortar in their buildings.
Thus, new architectural forms and mortar of a superior kind became
widespread in north India, with the arrival of the Turks.
The arch and the dome were known to the Indians earlier, but they were
not used on a large scale. Moreover, the correct scientific method of
constructing the arch was rarely employed. The architectural device generally
used by the Indians consisted of putting one stone over another, narrowing
the gap till it could be covered by a coping-stone or by putting a beam over a
slab of stones. The Turkish rulers used both the dome and arch method as
well as the slab and beam method in their buildings.
In the sphere of decoration, the Turks eschewed representation of human
and animal figures in their buildings. Instead, they used geometrical and
floral designs, combining them with panels of inscriptions containing verses
from the Quran. Thus, the Arabic script itself became a work of art. The
combination of these decorative devices was called arabesque. They also freely
borrowed Hindu motifs such as the bell motif the bel motif, swastika, lotus,
etc. Thus, like the Indians, the Turks were intensely fond of decoration. The
skill of the Indian stone-cutters was fully used for the purpose. The walls of
the small tomb of Iltutmish (near the Qutab Minar, Delhi) were so intricately
carved that hardly a square inch is left vacant. The Turks also added colour to
their buildings by using red sandstone. Yellow sandstone, or marble was used
in these buildings for decoration and to show off the colour of red sandstone.
The most magnificent building constructed by the Turks in the thirteenth
century was the Qutab Minar. This tapering tower, originally 71.4 metre high,
was begun by Aibak, and completed by Iltutmish. It is wrong to think that it
was dedicated to the Sufi saint, Qutab-ud-Din Bakhtiyar Kaki, the venerated
saint of Delhi, since it was not called at the time as Qutab Minar but the
Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque. Although traditions of building towers are to be
found both in India and West Asia, the Qutab Minar is unique in many ways.
It derives its effect mainly from the skilful manner in which the balconies
have been projected yet linked with the main tower, the use of red and white
sandstone and marble in panels and in the top stages, and the ribbed effect.
The Khalji period saw a lot of building activity. Alauddin built his capital at
Siri, a few kilometres away from the site around the Qutab. Unfortunately,
hardly anything of this city survives now. Alauddin planned a tower twice the
height of the Qutab, but did not live to complete it. But he added an entrance
door to the Qutab. This door, which is called the Alai Darwaza, has arches of
very pleasing proportions. It also contains a dome which, for the first time,
was built on correct scientific lines. Thus, the art of building the arch and the
dome on scientific lines had been mastered by the Indian craftsmen by this
time.
There was great building activity in the Tughlaq period which marked the
climax of the Delhi Sultanat as well as the beginning of its decline.
Ghiyasuddin and Muhammad Tughlaq built the huge palace-fortress
complex called Tughlaqabad. By blocking the passage of the Yamuna, a huge
artificial lake was created around it. The tomb of Ghiyasuddin marks a new
trend in architecture. To have a good skyline, the building was put upon a
high platform. Its beauty was heightened by a marble dome.
A striking feature of the Tughlaq architecture was the sloping walls. This is
called ‘batter’and gives the effect of strength and solidity to the building.
However, we do not find any ‘batter’ in the buildings of Firuz Tughlaq. A
second feature of the Tughlaq architecture was the deliberate attempt to
combine the principles of the arch, and the lintel and beam in their buildings.
This is found in a marked manner in the buildings of Firuz Tughlaq. The
Hauz Khas was a pleasure resort and had a huge lake around it. It also had a
Madarsa. The same is to be found in some buildings of Firuz Shah’s new fort
which is now called the Kotla. The Tughlaqs did not generally use the costly
red sandstone in their buildings but the cheaper and more easily available
greystone. Since it was not easy to carve this type of stone, the Tughlaq
buildings have a minimum of decoration. But the decorative device found in
all the buildings of Firuz is the lotus.
Many grand mosques were also built in this period. It is not possible to
describe all of them here. What is worth noting is that, by this time, an
independent style of architecture had emerged in India, combining many of
the new devices brought by the Turks with the indigenous forms. The Lodis
developed this tradition further. Both the arch, and the lintel and beam are
used in their buildings. Balconies, kiosks and eaves of the Rajasthani-Gujarati
style are also used. Another device used by the Lodis was placing their
buildings, especially tombs, on a high platform, thus giving the building a
feeling of size as well as a better skyline. Some of the tombs were placed in the
midst of gardens. The Lodi Garden in Delhi is a fine example of this. Some of
the tombs were of an octagonal shape. Many of these features were adopted
by the Mughals later on, and their culmination is to be found in the Taj
Mahal built by Shah Jahan.
By the time of the break up of the Delhi Sultanat, individual styles of
Page 5


ELEVEN
Cultural Development in India (1300–1500)
The establishment of the Delhi Sultanat towards the beginning of the
thirteenth century may be said to mark a new phase in the cultural
development of the country. The Turkish invaders who came to India were by
no means rude barbarians. Coming to West Asia during the ninth and tenth
centuries from their Central Asian homelands, they had accepted Islam, just
as the earlier invaders from Central Asia had accepted Buddhism and
Hinduism. They had also assimilated rapidly the culture of the area. The
Arabo-Persian culture, which had embraced the Islamic lands from Morocco
and Spain to Iran and its adjacent area, was at its height at the time. The
people of the region had made many important contributions in the field of
science, navigation and literature, etc. When the Turks came to India, they
not only had a well-defined faith in Islam to which they were deeply attached,
they also had definite ideas of government, art, architecture, etc. The
interaction of the Turks with the Indians who held strong religious beliefs and
had well-developed ideas of art, architecture and literature resulted, in the
long run, in the development of a new enriched culture. But the process was a
long one, of destruction followed or accompanied by periods of construction.
Mutual misunderstanding and strife is always present when the two sides
have strongly-held views. More significant, however, were the efforts at
mutual understanding which ultimately led to a process of assimilation in
many fields, such as art and architecture, music, literature, and even in the
fields of customs and ceremonies, rituals and religious beliefs, science and
technology. However, the elements of confrontation and conflict remained
strongly entrenched in both the communities. The process of assimilation
and convergence, therefore, had many ups and downs, and varied from
region to region, from field to field and from period to period.
ARCHITECTURE
One of the first requirements of the new rulers was houses to live in, and to
have places of worship. They at first converted some temples and other
existing buildings into mosques while destroying many others, and using
their material for building mosques. Examples of this are the Quwwat-ul-
Islam mosque near the Qutab Minar in Delhi, and the building at Ajmer
called Arhai Din ka Jhonpra. The former had been a temple, the latter had
been a monastery. The only new construction at Delhi was a facade of three
elaborately carved arches in front of garbhagriha which was demolished. The
style of decoration used on these arches is very interesting: no human or
animal figures were used since it was considered to be un-Islamic to do so.
Instead, they used scrolls of flowers and verses of the Quran which were
intertwined in a very artistic manner. Soon, the Turks started constructing
their own buildings. For this purpose they mostly used the indigenous
craftsmen, such as stone-cutters, masons, etc., who were famous for their
skills. Later, some master architects came to India from West Asia. In their
buildings, the Turks used the arch and the dome on a wide scale. Neither the
arch nor the dome was a Turkish or Muslim invention. The Arabs borrowed
them from Rome through the Byzantine empire, developed them and made
them their own.
The use of the arch and the dome had a number of advantages. The dome
provided a pleasing skyline and, as the architects gained more experience and
confidence, the dome rose higher. Many experiments were made in putting a
round dome on a square building, and in raising the dome higher and higher.
In this way, many lofty and impressive buildings were constructed. The arch
and the dome dispensed with the need for a large number of pillars to support
the roof, and enabled the construction of large halls with a clear view. Such
places of assembly were useful in mosques as well as in palaces. However, the
arch and the dome needed a strong cement, otherwise the stones could not be
held in place. The Turks used fine quality light mortar in their buildings.
Thus, new architectural forms and mortar of a superior kind became
widespread in north India, with the arrival of the Turks.
The arch and the dome were known to the Indians earlier, but they were
not used on a large scale. Moreover, the correct scientific method of
constructing the arch was rarely employed. The architectural device generally
used by the Indians consisted of putting one stone over another, narrowing
the gap till it could be covered by a coping-stone or by putting a beam over a
slab of stones. The Turkish rulers used both the dome and arch method as
well as the slab and beam method in their buildings.
In the sphere of decoration, the Turks eschewed representation of human
and animal figures in their buildings. Instead, they used geometrical and
floral designs, combining them with panels of inscriptions containing verses
from the Quran. Thus, the Arabic script itself became a work of art. The
combination of these decorative devices was called arabesque. They also freely
borrowed Hindu motifs such as the bell motif the bel motif, swastika, lotus,
etc. Thus, like the Indians, the Turks were intensely fond of decoration. The
skill of the Indian stone-cutters was fully used for the purpose. The walls of
the small tomb of Iltutmish (near the Qutab Minar, Delhi) were so intricately
carved that hardly a square inch is left vacant. The Turks also added colour to
their buildings by using red sandstone. Yellow sandstone, or marble was used
in these buildings for decoration and to show off the colour of red sandstone.
The most magnificent building constructed by the Turks in the thirteenth
century was the Qutab Minar. This tapering tower, originally 71.4 metre high,
was begun by Aibak, and completed by Iltutmish. It is wrong to think that it
was dedicated to the Sufi saint, Qutab-ud-Din Bakhtiyar Kaki, the venerated
saint of Delhi, since it was not called at the time as Qutab Minar but the
Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque. Although traditions of building towers are to be
found both in India and West Asia, the Qutab Minar is unique in many ways.
It derives its effect mainly from the skilful manner in which the balconies
have been projected yet linked with the main tower, the use of red and white
sandstone and marble in panels and in the top stages, and the ribbed effect.
The Khalji period saw a lot of building activity. Alauddin built his capital at
Siri, a few kilometres away from the site around the Qutab. Unfortunately,
hardly anything of this city survives now. Alauddin planned a tower twice the
height of the Qutab, but did not live to complete it. But he added an entrance
door to the Qutab. This door, which is called the Alai Darwaza, has arches of
very pleasing proportions. It also contains a dome which, for the first time,
was built on correct scientific lines. Thus, the art of building the arch and the
dome on scientific lines had been mastered by the Indian craftsmen by this
time.
There was great building activity in the Tughlaq period which marked the
climax of the Delhi Sultanat as well as the beginning of its decline.
Ghiyasuddin and Muhammad Tughlaq built the huge palace-fortress
complex called Tughlaqabad. By blocking the passage of the Yamuna, a huge
artificial lake was created around it. The tomb of Ghiyasuddin marks a new
trend in architecture. To have a good skyline, the building was put upon a
high platform. Its beauty was heightened by a marble dome.
A striking feature of the Tughlaq architecture was the sloping walls. This is
called ‘batter’and gives the effect of strength and solidity to the building.
However, we do not find any ‘batter’ in the buildings of Firuz Tughlaq. A
second feature of the Tughlaq architecture was the deliberate attempt to
combine the principles of the arch, and the lintel and beam in their buildings.
This is found in a marked manner in the buildings of Firuz Tughlaq. The
Hauz Khas was a pleasure resort and had a huge lake around it. It also had a
Madarsa. The same is to be found in some buildings of Firuz Shah’s new fort
which is now called the Kotla. The Tughlaqs did not generally use the costly
red sandstone in their buildings but the cheaper and more easily available
greystone. Since it was not easy to carve this type of stone, the Tughlaq
buildings have a minimum of decoration. But the decorative device found in
all the buildings of Firuz is the lotus.
Many grand mosques were also built in this period. It is not possible to
describe all of them here. What is worth noting is that, by this time, an
independent style of architecture had emerged in India, combining many of
the new devices brought by the Turks with the indigenous forms. The Lodis
developed this tradition further. Both the arch, and the lintel and beam are
used in their buildings. Balconies, kiosks and eaves of the Rajasthani-Gujarati
style are also used. Another device used by the Lodis was placing their
buildings, especially tombs, on a high platform, thus giving the building a
feeling of size as well as a better skyline. Some of the tombs were placed in the
midst of gardens. The Lodi Garden in Delhi is a fine example of this. Some of
the tombs were of an octagonal shape. Many of these features were adopted
by the Mughals later on, and their culmination is to be found in the Taj
Mahal built by Shah Jahan.
By the time of the break up of the Delhi Sultanat, individual styles of
By the time of the break up of the Delhi Sultanat, individual styles of
architecture had also developed in the various kingdoms in different parts of
India. Many of these, again, were powerfully influenced by the local traditions
of architecture. This, as we have seen, happened in Bengal, Gujarat, Malwa,
the Deccan, etc. During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the style of
architecture evolved in Delhi under the Tughlaqs was carried forward and
modified in the various regional kingdoms.
Thus, there was an outburst of building activity, marked by the growth of
many styles of architecture in different parts of the country.
RELIGIOUS IDEAS AND BELIEFS
Islam was not a stranger in India when the Turks established their empire in
north India. Islam had been established in Sindh from the eighth century, and
the Punjab from the tenth century, Arab travellers had settled in Kerala
between the eighth and tenth centuries. During this period, Arab travellers
and Sufi saints travelled in different parts of India. Al-biruni’s book Kitab-ul-
Hind and other writings had familiarized the learned sections in West Asia
about Hindu ideas and beliefs. As has been noted earlier, Buddhist lores,
Indian fables and books on astronomy and medicine had been translated into
Arabic. Visits of Indian yogis to the region were not unknown. The influence
of Buddhism and Vedantic ideas on Islamic thinking has been a subject of
considerable debate among scholars. Remnants of Buddhist monasteries,
stupas and images of the Buddha found in Afghanistan and parts of Central
Asia, particularly along old trade routes, show the extent of Buddhist
influence in these areas at one time. While it is difficult to determine the
precise extent of the influence of Indian philosophic ideas, it is hardly
disputable that both Greek and Indian ideas, in different proportions, made a
definite contribution to the development of Islamic philosophy in its
formative phase. These ideas provided the background to the rise of the Sufi
movement which, after its establishment in India after the twelfth century,
influenced both the Muslims and the Hindus and, thus, provided a common
platform for the two. However, scholars believe that while various rituals and
practices, including yogic practices, were freely drawn upon from Hinduism
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