Heritage

Rich Mughal Art and Architecture: Historical Monuments in India

Rich Mughal Art and Architecture: Historical Monuments in India
Last Updated: July 25, 2019 / First Published: 20 Jul, 2019

The massive arched gateway, tall minarets, bulbous domes, spacious hall rooms are perhaps the things that come to your mind when you think about Mughal architecture. To India, the Mughal reign gifted magnificent historical monuments comprising mosques, mausoleums, forts and so much more which not only attract Indians but international tourists as well. Right from the perfect epitome of love, Taj Mahal to one of the large mosques, Jama Masjid; from a fortified city of Fatehpur Sikri to the Baby Taj/Itmad-ud-Daulah; the Mughal architecture is something that will win your hearts. So, if you are up for enjoying heritage trails in India, here I bring to you the booklet on historical buildings built by Mughals Emperors, unveiling rich Mughal art and architecture. These historical monuments in India will surely take you back in time.

1. Jama Masjid in Delhi: The Epitome of Mughal Architecture

Jama Masjid in Delhi

Also known as Masjid-e-Jehan Numa, Jama Masjid– is an Arabic term for ‘Friday Mosque’. It is one of the largest mosques which was constructed between 1650 and 1656 by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. The 363-year-old Muslim shrine is one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture. The splendid structure is dressed in white marble and red sandstone and comprises three imposing gates, four towers, two 131 feet tall minarets and three colossal domes. It faces west towards the holy city of Mecca. In addition to this, the mosque can accommodate as many as 25,000 people at a time.

Visiting Time: 7:00 AM to Noon and 1:30 PM to 6:30 PM (all the days of the week)

Entry Fee: Free

Other Charges: INR 200 for photography and INR 100 from climbing the southern minaret.

How to Reach: The nearest metro station is Chawri Bazaar so one needs to take the Heritage Line i.e., Violet. Also, it is at a walking distance from Old Delhi Railway station and ISBT Kashmere Gate. Tourists can even avail the AC and Non-AC city buses that connect Jama Masjid to the Old and New Delhi.

2. Taj Mahal in Agra: Universally Admired Masterpiece

Taj Mahal in Agra

The perfect epitome of eternal love, Taj Mahal was built by Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan as a memorial for his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal on the bank of River Yamuna. Built entirely with white marbles, Taj Mahal took approx 22 years to complete and was designated as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 1983 as the ‘the jewel of Muslim art in India.’ The beauty of Taj, both of exterior and interior is truly commendable. It comprises artistic work. There are water channels and fountains at the entrance that makes Taj Mahal even more alluring.

Note: There are some interesting and lesser-known facts about this Mughal Masterpiece, read our blog- Some Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know About Taj Mahal.

Visiting Time: Between 6:00 AM and 7:00 PM.

Entry Fee: INR 40 for Indian Tourist and INR 1000 for International Tourists.

How to Reach: Tourists can fly till Kheria Airport in Agra (military base) which is located at a distance of 9.4 km from Taj Mahal. Also, one can avail the bus or train service from Delhi, Jaipur, Kanpur and Lucknow which connects well with Agra.

3. Red Fort in Delhi: The Zenith of Mughal Creativity

Red Fort in Delhi

Constructed under the leadership of Shah Jahan, Red Fort is one of the most iconic historical places in India. Once the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal dynasty, Red Fort is now a popular tourist attraction in Delhi and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also, it is an important place where the Prime Minister of India unfurls the national flag every year on Independence Day. With enclosing walls of red sandstone, the Red Fort depicts the zenith of Mughal creativity. Even though the planning of the Red Fort is based on the Islamic prototypes, but each pavilion is a fusion of Persian and Islamic architectural style including the gardens. The evening light & sound show re-create India’s history which is something one shouldn’t miss when on a trip to Delhi.

Visiting Time: Between Tuesday and Sunday from 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM

Entry Fee: INR 35 for Indians and INR 500 for International Tourists

Sound and Light Shows: 6:00 PM onwards.

Tickets for the Show: INR 80 for adults and INR 30 for children

How to Reach: The nearest metro station is Chandani Chowk on Yellow Line which is approx 1.5 km from the Red Fort. From the metro station, tourists can take auto-rickshaw to reach Red Fort.

4. Pari Mahal in Srinagar: A Glimpse of Mughal Lifestyle and Their Love for Nature

Pari Mahal in Srinagar

Also known as ‘Palace of Fairies’ Pari Mahal is a seven terraced garden which is located at a Zabarwan Mountain Range. Built by Prince Dara Shikhoh, the son of Shah Jahan, Pari Mahal is a perfect example of Islamic traditional architecture and patronage of art during the reign of the Mughal Empire. The garden that surrounds the magnificent Pari Mahal is exceptionally well-maintained and is a treat to the eyes especially for nature lovers. The multi-hued flowers and exotic fruits offer the tourists a moment straight out of a fairytale. Once an abode for Dara Shikhoh, the Mahal was later used as an observatory and a learning centre of astronomy and astrology. Today it is one of the important tourism attractions in Srinagar.

Visiting Time: Between 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM

Entry Fee: INR 10

How to Reach: One can hire a cab from anywhere in Srinagar to reach Pari Mahal.

5. Agra Fort: A Peek at the Intricate Beauty With a Blend of Several Traditional Architectural Styles

Agra Fort

Featuring a blend of South-Asian, Persian, Islamic and Turkish architecture, Agra Fort also called ‘Fort Rouge’ or ‘Qila-i-Akbari’ is a Mughal beauty and a must-see. Built as a military base by Mughar Emperor Akbar, Agra Fort was later converted into a royal residence by his son Jahangir. It is the intricate architectural beauty of the fort that grabs the attention of the visitors at this top attraction in Agra. The courtyards of the fort are decorated with the renowned pietra dura inlays. Dominating the landscape, the exterior walls of Agra Fort are made of burgundy sandstone. Also, the fort is home to other major Mughal monuments like Moti Masjid, Sheesh Mahal, Diwan-e-Aam, and Diwan-e-Khas.

Visiting Time: Between 6:00 AM and 6:00 PM

Entry Fee: INR 40 for Indians and INR 550 for International Tourists

How to Reach: Agra Cantt. Railway Station is located at a distance of approx 5.5 km. From the railway station, tourists can take an auto-rickshaw to reach the Agra Fort.

6. Humayun’s Tomb: A Splendid Testament to Signature Mughal Royal Mausoleums

Humayun Tomb

One of the top attractions in Delhi, Humayun’s tomb maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was commissioned by Humayun’s first wife Empress Bega Begum. Being one of the famous historical monuments of India, the Humayun Tomb stands imposing as a beautiful testament to the signature style of Mughal mausoleums. The garden in the tomb complex is a typical Persian Char Bagh layout diving the entire garden into small segments. Also, there are several iconic buildings, tombs, mosques, and a lodging place in the complex. Of all, the important ones include- Arab Sarai, Nila Gumbad and Bu Halima.

Visiting Time: Between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM

Entry Fee: INR 30 for Indians and INR 500 for International Tourists

How to Reach: The nearest metro station JLN Stadium on Violet Line.

7. Fatehpur Sikri in Agra: A Fortified City Reflecting Mughal Architectural Grandeur

Fatehpur Sikri in Agra

Founded by Emperor Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri is a fortified city in Agra. It was back in 1569 when Akbar visited Sikri and found it auspicious to make it the capital of the Mughal Empire. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fatehpur Sikri comprises a number historical monuments inside the complex, and all of them are worth seeing. It is the open courtyards, the carvings and the grandeur of the walled city that leave one breathless. The important monuments in the Fatepur Sikri complex are Buland Darwaza, Tomb of Salim Chisti, Jama Masjid, Panch Mahal, Palace of Jodha Bai, Hiran Minar, Birbal’s House and Diwan-i-Khas.

Visiting Time: Between 6:00 AM and 6:00 PM

Entry Fee: INR 40 for Indians and INR 1000 for International Tourists

How to Reach: The nearest railway station is Idgah Railway Station which is located at a distance of approx 35 km from Fatehpur Sikri. From the railway station, tourists can avail a cab to reach Fatehpur Sikri.

8. The Allahabad Fort in Prayagraj: A Brilliant Masterpiece on the Confluence of Two Great Rivers

Allahabad Fort in Prayagraj

Photo: https://bit.ly/2YgGwNN

Yet another monument built by Mughal emperor Akbar, Allahabad Fort is located on the confluence of rivers, Ganga and Yamuna. Holding historical importance, the fort has become one of the major tourist attractions in Prayagraj, especially for history buffs. It comprises gigantic walls, towers, a large palace and a temple. Upon entering the fort, tourists can witness the three magnificent galleries flanked by high towers. The interior of the fort has Hindu and Islamic artistry which is worth praising. At present, the fort is used by the Indian army and only a limited area of the place is open for the visitors.

Visiting Time: Between 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Entry Fee: Free

How to Reach: The nearest railway station is Allahabad Junction which is located at a distance of approx 6 km from the Fort. From the railway station, tourists can get a cab or rickshaw to reach Allahabad Fort.

9. Akbari Fort & Museum in Ajmer: A Museum Exhibiting Armours and Artefacts of Mughals and Rajputs

Akbari Fort Museum in Ajmer

For tourists looking for a heritage walk in Rajasthan, Akbari Fort & Government Museum in Ajmer is a great option. Commissioned by Emperor Akbar in 1570, the fort is a perfect blend of Mughal and Rajputana styles. Once a residence of Prince Salim/Emperor Jahangir (son of Akbar), the fort later converted into a museum that houses a collection of aculptures and armours belonging to the Mughals and Rajputs. An important fact to note is, this is the location from where Emperor Jahangir read out the farman permitting the British East India Company to trade with India.

Visiting Time: Between Tuesday and Sunday from 12 noon to 8:00 PM

Entry Fee: INR 20 for Indians and INR 100 for International Tourists

How to Reach: The nearest airport is Jaipur International Airport which is at a distance of 136 from the Akbari Fort & Museum. From the airport, one can get a cab to reach the historical monument. Also, Ajmer has its own railway station which connects well with the major cities of the country.

10. Akbar’s Tomb in Agra: The Resting Place of Mughal Emperor Akbar

Akbar Tomb in Agra

Yet another ancient monument, Akbar’s Tomb in Sikandra was commissioned by Akbar but was completed by his son Jahangir. Reflecting the signature style Mughal architecture comprising sandstone and marbles with geometric pattern and inlay work, Akbar’s Tomb is a famous sightseeing place in Agra. The structure boasts a blend of Hindu, Islamic, Jain, Christian and Buddhist styles of architecture and comprises three-storey minarets. Besides, the five-storey building of the tomb is home to Shakrul Nisha Begum and Aram Bano, the daughters of Emperor Akbar.

Visiting Time: Between 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Entry Fee: INR 15 for Indians and INR 110 for International Tourists

How to Reach: The nearest railway station is Agra Cantt. Railway Station which is located at a distance of approx 13 km from Akbar’s Tomb. From the railway station, one can get a cab or rickshaw to reach the historical site.

11. Tomb of Itimad-Ud-Daulah in Agra: Exhibiting the Prominent Influence of Persian Architecture

Tomb of Itimad-Ud-Daulah in Agra

Also known as Baby Taj, the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah is a mausoleum commissioned by Jahangir’s wife Nur Jahan for her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg. Even though the monument is similar to the Taj Mahal, Itmad-ud-Daulah is considered to have more detailed artwork which comprises marble lattice screens and fine carvings. The main element of the monument is the dome which boasts Persian style of architecture. Every part of the monument is adorned with geometric structures, motifs of flora, trees and others. To enhance the interior beauty structure, even more, inlaid stone works are used which is a sight not-to-miss. Also, there is a beautiful Persian Garden called Char Bagh in the tomb’s complex which has water streams adding more charm to this beautiful monument in Agra.

Visiting Time: Between 6:00 AM and 6:00 PM

Entry Fee: INR 10 for Indians and INR 110 for International Tourists

How to Reach: Agra Cantt. Railway Station is located at a distance of approx 8 km from Itmad-ud-Daulah. From the railway station, one can get a cab to reach the tomb.

12. Kabuli Bagh Mosque in Panipat: A Muslim Shrine Built to Celebrate Victory

Kabuli Bagh Mosque in Panipat

The Muslim shrine was built by Mughal Emperor, Babur to commemorate the victory over Sultan Ibrahim Lodhi in the First Battle of Panipat. The gateway of the mosque is built of bricks with red sandstone and the spandrel are decorated with arched recesses encased in rectangular panels. The corners of the mosque have octagonal shaped towers that are on the northwest and southwest direction. In addition to this, the magnificent edifice is named after Babur’s wife Mussammat Kabuli Begum.

How to Reach: The nearest railway station is Panipat Junction which is located at a distance of 4 km from the mosque. From the railway station, one can get a rickshaw to reach the Kabuli Bagh Mosque.

13. Taj-ul-Masjid in Bhopal: Stunning and Elegant Mughal Architecture Representing a Queen’s Mark

Taj-ul-Masjid in Bhopal

Reckoned to be one of the largest mosques in Asia, Taj-ul-Masjid which translates to ‘Crown Among Mosques’ was founded by Sultan Shah Jahan Begum, the wife of Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar. Constructed out of red sandstone, the mosque is beautifully situated by the lake called Motia Talab and comprises three domes and two minarets. The mosque is even used as a madrasa (Islamic school) during the day time.

Visiting Time: Between 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Entry Fee: Free

How to Reach: The nearest railway station is Bhopal Junction which is located at a distance of approx 4 km from the shrine. From the railway station, one can get a rickshaw to reach Taj-ul-Masjid. Also, Bhopal airport is yet another best option which is located at a distance of approx 9 km. The airport is well connected to the major cities of the country.

14. Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad: A Monument Identical to Taj Mahal

Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad

Drawing its inspiration from the popular Taj Mahal, Bibi Ka Maqbara was commissioned by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in the memory of his first wife Dilras Banu Begum. Due to the strong resemblance with the Taj Mahal, the monument is also called Dakkhani Taj (Taj of the Deccan). One can adore the splendid Mughal architecture comprising the walls crenellated with arched recesses and bastions. The facade of the mausoleum has beautiful foliage designs. The main structure is embellished with floral designs and trellis works that are truly awe-inspiring.

Interesting Fact: The marble used for the construction of the mausoleum was brought from the mines near Jaipur. It is believed around three hundred carts laden with marble were carried to Aurangabad.

Visiting Time: Between 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Entry Fee: INR 25 for Indians and INR 300 for International Tourists

How to Reach: Aurangabad Airport is located at a distance of approx 11 km from Bibi ka Maqbara. From the airport, one can take a rickshaw or a taxi to reach the monument. Railway is yet another best option to consider. Aurangabad railway station is located at a distance of approx 6 km from the tourist attraction. From the railway station, one can get a rickshaw to reach Bibi Ka Maqbara.

15. Zeenat-ul-Masjid in Delhi: A Lesser Known Yet Beautiful Mughal Monument

Zeenat-ul-Masjid in Delhi

Photo: https://bit.ly/2YjfkxO

Also known as Ghata Masjid, Zeenat-ul-Masjid is a lesser known historical monument in Delhi. The muslim shrine was built by Zeenat-un-Nissa Begum, the daughter of Emperor Aurangzeb. The mosque is said to be a replica of the popular Jama Masjid of Delhi. The interiors of the mosque are mostly plain and only outlines of the arched patterns can be witnessed on few columns of the shrine. The main feature of the beautiful mosque are the sky touching minarets.

Visiting Time: From 7:00 AM to 12:00 noon and 1:30 PM to 6:30 PM

Entry Fee: Free

Additional Charges: INR 200 for photography

How to Reach: The closest metro station is Chawri Bazar and Chandani Chowk which is on Yellow Line. From the metro station, tourists can get a rickshaw to reach Zeenat-ul-Masjid.

16. Shah Begum’s Tomb, Khusro Bagh, Prayagraj: A Three-Story Islamic Tomb Made Entirely of Sandstone

Shah Begum Tomb, Khusro Bagh, Prayagraj

Located in Khusro Bagh, Shah Begum’s Tomb was commissioned by Emperor Jahangir right after the death of his wife Shah Begum. The tomb is a three-story structure which has a ‘Chatri’ and is entirely made of sandstone. On visiting the tomb, one can even spot a marble cenotaph which is most common among the Islamic tombs.

Visiting Time: Between 6:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Entry Fee: Free

How to Reach: Allahabad Junction is located at a distance of 550 m from Shah Begum’s Tomb. One can either choose to walk and go to the tomb or can get a rickshaw. Also, Prayagraj Airport which is at a distance of approx 10 km from Shah Begum’s Tomb is yet another best option to travel.

17. Tombs of Ustad-Shagird in Nakodar: Twin Tombs Built During the Mughal Era

Tombs of Ustad-Shagird in Nakodar

Located in the town of Nakodar in the Jalandhar district of Punjab, the tomb of Ustad and Shagird are the twin Mughal era historical structures. The tomb of Ustad is of Muhammad Mumin Hussaini who was a musician and a nobleman from the time of Emperor Jahangir. While, the tomb of Shagird is of Haji Jamal who was the student of Mumin Hussaini. Although, it is not known who built these tombs, these Mughal era structures in Punjab can certainly be considered worth a visit.

How to Reach: Ludhiana Airport is the nearest which is located at a distance of approx 62 km from Nakodar. Upon reaching the airport one can get a cab to reach the Tombs of Ustad-Shagird. Also, Nakodar has its own railway station, so travelling to the destination by rail is also a good option.

18. Safdarjung Tomb in Delhi: One of the Last Tombs of Mughal Architecture

Safdarjung Tomb in Delhi

Safdarjung Tomb is an elegant mausoleum built of marble and sandstone in Mughal architectural style. The tomb was built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Ahmad Shah Bahadur which has today turn into a popular tourist attraction in Delhi. With its enormous dome, high arches and beautiful architecture, the place catches the eyes of many tourists. The tomb is one of the last monuments of the Mughal architecture and it brilliantly captures the legacy and significance of Mughal marvels. In addition, the complex even houses a library which is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India and a madrasa.

Visiting Time: Between 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Entry Fee: INR 15 for Indians and INR 200 for International Tourists

How to Reach: The nearest metro station is Jor Bagh which is on the Yellow Line. From the metro station one can get a rickshaw to reach Safdarjung Tomb.

So these were some of the historical monuments built by the Mughal Emperor that are visited by both Indians and International tourists. If you feel that we have forgotten any important structure that can be added to this list, please feel free to comment in the box below.

Also, if you are planning to visit one or more of these historical monuments in India, let us help you find the perfect tour package that will give you a travel experience to cherish for a lifetime. At Tour My India, we offer tailor-made tour packages that suit your budget and interest. To know about the offers and deals, give us a call at +91-9212777225 or drop us your queries at info@tourmyindia.com.

Swati Mishra

About

Born and brought up in Assam- ‘The Land of Tea Gardens’, Swati is a Travel Writer who yearns to travel around the whole world someday. Coming from one of lush-green and peaceful states of India, her love for nature and rain is beyond imagination. She is an observant and is keen to explore more about the things that comes her way which could be clearly seen in her write ups. Other than this, she is a foodie and can do anything for food that is made out of cheese especially- The Alfredo Penne Pasta!

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