A significant part of the art and architectural landscape in India is dominated by a mix of religious and cultural styles. Every invasion led to a new form being created, contributing to our rich history. The Mughal rulers left behind an awe-inspiring treasure trove of majestic buildings and, fascinatingly, some of these structures overlap with the Hindu building style’s features as well.
In this interview, author Yashaswini Sharma shares her knowledge about Mughal architecture in Bengaluru and all the standout features of this beautiful style of architecture.
Palaces, mausoleums, and other structures that the Mughals built are spread across the country. A few of these still stand in Bengaluru. The Mughal invasion of the city happened between 1687-1690 after which the Mughal Army settled in. The foremost living proof of Mughal Architecture in Bengaluru is the Sangeen Jamia Masjid. The beautiful structure suffered destruction during the Third Mysore War of 1791 but has now been reconstructed into a double-storeyed building with a courtyard at the front. Martyrs of the war are buried behind this structure. The building also received a gneiss rock finishing and is believed to be Bengaluru’s oldest mosque.
Traditional features of Mughal architecture, as we have all come to know well, include onion domes, minarets, and floral art. Tavakal Mastan, a prominent Sufi practitioner belonging to the Mughal era, is buried in Bengaluru. His Durgah (burial site) sports all these features as well as tiles created by stucco work.
Another notable feature belongs to the Tipu Sultan palaces – beautiful Fresco Art. The golden floral decals over red paint remain a sight to behold. “Those were times when art received a lot of patronage. There was no compromise on the quality of art. It is said that some paints and other tools for the art were even imported from other countries,” says Yashaswini.
Right in the heart of city’s KR Market is the Tipu Sultan Summer Palace, constructed entirely of wood. It is said that the barks of the trees used for this construction were seasoned in the Kaveri river for 6-7 years. There were private and public Durbar halls, a balcony and many rooms. There was a parade ground that extended in all four directions outside the palace. Paintings of the King viewing the adjoining parade grounds from the balcony still exist. Within the palace complex, there existed a zanana to the left. A zanana is part of a palace or a house reserved for the women of the household and is a feature predominantly seen in Mughal architecture. In accordance with the purdah system practiced in the Muslim culture, the zananas featured flaps for the women to look through. This palace had a lot of similarities to the one in Sira in Karnataka. The palace in Sira can be considered as having been inspired by the Shivappanayaka Palace in Shimoga but for a few differences. The layout is borrowed from Shivappanayaka palace and Islamic features have been added to it, to make the resultant piece of architecture a ”collaborative effort” between different styles of architecture.
This palace had a lot of similarities with the one at Sira in Karnataka. The Sira palace can be considered to have been inspired by the Shivappanayaka Palace in Shimoga, but for a few differences. The layout is borrowed from Shivappanayaka Palace and Islamic features have been added to it to make the resultant piece of architecture a ”collaborative effort” between different styles.In Dariya Daulat in Srirangapattana, we see tanks or a
At Dariya Daulat in Srirangapattana, we see tanks or a Taalab in all four directions of Tipu Sultan’s palace; they represented the holy rivers. This resembled the heavenly tanks mentioned in the Quran. Tipu Sultan’s palace, known as Daroor Saroor, literally translating to the ‘Abode of Happiness’, was said to be so beautiful that even angels looking down from the heavens were impressed.
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Written by Anagha Bharadwaj.