Ancient Indian Architecture Middle Ages Mughal Era

Ancient Indian Architecture Middle Ages Mughal Era:

Early Common Era-High Middle Ages

North Indian temples showed the increased elevation of the wall and elaborate spire by the 10th century. Temples including the complex at Khajuraho which were constructed in Central India were richly decorated.

Ancient Indian Architecture Middle Ages
Devi Jagdambi Temple Khajuraho

Indian traders brought Indian architecture to South East Asia through various trade routes.

Late Middle Ages

The architecture of the Vijayanagara Empire involved a noteworthy building style evolved. This Empire ruled in most parts of South India with their capital being located at Vijayanagara. The architecture of the temples built during this period consisted of elements of political authority. This resulted in the creation of a distinctive imperial style of architecture and featured prominently not only in temples but also in administrative structures across the Deccan.

Ancient Indian Architecture Middle Ages
Vijayanagara Empire

The Vijayanagara style was a perfect blend of the Chalukya, Hoysala, Pandya and Chola styles. All these styles had evolved earlier in the centuries when these empires ruled. This was also characterized by a return to the simplistic and serene part of the past.

Hoysala architecture was another unique building style developed under the rule of the Hoysala Empire in the region of Karnata, which is today’s Karnataka. This style developed between the 11th and the 14th centuries. Large and small temples built during this era remain as examples of the Hoysala architectural style. These include the Chennakesava Temple at Belur, the Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebidu, and the Kesava Temple at Somanathapura.

Ancient Indian Architecture Middle Ages
Hoysala Architecture

Such other temples which came to be so constructed which involved fine Hoysala craftsmanship. These were the temples at Belavadi, Amrithapura, and Nuggehalli. A feature of Hoysala temple architecture was its minute attention to detail and skilled craftsmanship. As a matter of fact, the temples of Belur and Halebidu have proposed UNESCO world heritage sites. Almost 100 Hoysala temples survive till today.

Islamic influence and Mughal Era

Mughal tombs of sandstone and marble depicted a strong Persian influence. The Red Fort at Agra and the walled city of Fatehpur Sikri were some of the architectural achievements belonging to this time. Same is the case of the extremely magnificent Taj Mahal, which was built as a tomb for Queen Mumtaz Mahal by Emperor Shah Jahan.

Ancient Indian Architecture Middle Ages
Red Fort

This structure employed the double dome, the recessed archway, white marble, and parks. Symmetry and detail were particularly stressed. This focus was visible during the reign of Shah Jahan. Quranic verses were also described on the walls of the buildings. However, the depiction of any living being which was an essential part of the pre-Islamic tradition of India was, however, forbidden under Islam.

Ancient Indian Architecture Middle Ages

Some scholars hold that cultural contact with Europe under Manuel I of Portugal eventually also resulted in an exchange of architectural influences. There is, however, extremely little literary evidence exists which confirms the Indian influence. But some scholars have nonetheless suggested a possible relation based on propinquity of architectural styles.