Delhi Sultans ruled India from 1206-1526 CE and the country got acquainted with the new policies, art, architecture etc., but do you know what art and architecture the Sultans introduced in India?
The art and architecture of the Delhi Sultanate period were different from the Indian style. They introduced arches, domes, lofty towers, minarets, and various types of decorations by using the Arabic script. The skill of Indian stone cutters was used for this purpose. Using marbles, red and yellow sandstones, they introduced the art of adding colour to the buildings.
The Sultans converted several Hindu temples into mosques for example, the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque near Qutub Minar in Delhi was a Vishnu temple formerly. Then, they began to construct new structures later. The main structures that were built by the Sultans of the Delhi Sultanate and the art form introduced by them are:
- Double Domes: The finest example is Sikandar Lodi’s grave. The technique of using double domes is aimed at raising the height of the monument and keeping its appeal intact. The double dome technique was comprised of two different shells with plenty of space between the outside and the inside. The inner layer provides the interior of the house with a roof and the external layer crowns the structure. In this way, the ceiling gets reduced from inside while the effects and proportions of elevation of the exterior are not affected. For the first time in India, one can see the use of double dome in Humayun’s tomb.
- Alai Minar: The idea came in the mind of Alauddin Khalji to construct a minar twice the height of Qutub Minar but he dies and the dream remained only a dream. In the earliest courtyard, there is a 7.5 m long iron pillar supposed to be manufactured by Chandragupta II in the 4th century. It was a stambha devoted to the Vishnu Temple.
- Alai Darwaza: It is the first instance where the real arch and dome were used by the Mamluk dynasty. It was constructed by Alauddin Khalji in 1311 AD.
- Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque: It was the first mosque constructed in Delhi after the conquest of India and is also the oldest remaining architectural example of the Ghurids in the Indian subcontinent. The mosque was constructed on the rubbles of the 27 temples of Hindus and Jains.
- Qutub Minar: It was constructed as a victory tower to celebrate the victory of Mohammad Ghori. Got influenced by Afghan architecture firstly and then Qutub-ud-din Aibak began its construction, Iltutmish completed the building, and Firoz Shah Tughlaq built the last two storeys. Sikander Lodi got the minor repaired. The minar was made of material from Hindu temples and structures. The Hindu artisans were employed for the decoration and the same inlaying style of temples was used. The floral designs, chains, and cloches were designed to decorate the minar from the temple remains.
- Tughlaqabad: Built by the Tughlaq dynasty with beautiful stone walls, the city has the grave of Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq which is a cubic structure of red sandstone and is covered with a dome of white marbles. Firozabad is another city built by Firoz Shah Tughlaq.
The architecture and art introduced by the Sultanate is still in use and is considered an artistic talent.