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Islamic Architecture In India By Satish Grover Rap carine schacchi clas: How It Reflects the Synthesis of Hindu and Muslim Civilizations



Islamic Architecture in India by Satish Grover Rap Carine Schacchi Clas




Islamic architecture is one of the most distinctive and influential styles of building in the world. It reflects the rich cultural heritage and religious beliefs of the Muslim communities that have shaped it over centuries. In this article, we will explore the origins, features, and examples of Islamic architecture in India, a country that has witnessed the rise and fall of various dynasties and empires that adopted Islam as their faith. We will also learn about the contributions of three prominent scholars who have studied and documented this fascinating topic: Satish Grover, Rap Carine Schacchi, and Clas.




Islamic Architecture In India By Satish Grover Rap carine schacchi clas



Introduction




What is Islamic architecture?




Islamic architecture is a term that refers to the architectural styles that emerged from the teachings and practices of Islam, a monotheistic religion that originated in Arabia in the 7th century CE. Islam spread rapidly across Asia, Africa, and Europe through conquests, trade, migration, and conversion, creating a diverse and dynamic civilization that encompassed various regions, cultures, languages, and traditions. Islamic architecture reflects this diversity and dynamism, as well as the common principles and values that unite Muslims around the world.


Some of these principles and values include:



  • The belief in one God (Allah) and his messenger (Muhammad), which is expressed through the profession of faith (shahada), the recitation of the Quran (the holy book of Islam), and the use of Arabic (the language of revelation) as the main medium of communication.



  • The observance of the five pillars of Islam: prayer (salat), almsgiving (zakat), fasting (sawm), pilgrimage (hajj), and jihad (struggle in the way of God), which are manifested through the orientation of buildings towards Mecca (the direction of prayer), the allocation of spaces for worship and charity, the incorporation of elements that facilitate ritual purity and ablution, and the decoration of structures with verses from the Quran and other religious symbols.



  • The appreciation of beauty (jamal) and balance (mizan), which are reflected through the harmony of proportions, geometry, symmetry, patterns, colors, materials, and light in Islamic architecture.



  • The respect for nature (fitra) and diversity (ikhtilaf), which are demonstrated through the adaptation of buildings to different climates, terrains, resources, and cultures, as well as the incorporation of local influences and innovations.



What is the history of Islamic architecture in India?




Islamic architecture in India has a long and complex history that spans over a millennium. It began with the arrival of Arab traders and missionaries in the 7th century CE, who established settlements along the western coast of India. These settlements were mostly modest structures that served as mosques, tombs, or residences for the Muslim communities. The earliest surviving example of such a structure is the Cheraman Juma Masjid in Kerala, which dates back to 629 CE.


The next phase of Islamic architecture in India was marked by the invasion of the Ghaznavids, a Turkic dynasty that ruled over parts of Central Asia and Iran, in the 11th century CE. The Ghaznavids raided and plundered several Hindu temples and cities in northern India, but also built some monumental structures that showcased their military and artistic prowess. The most famous of these structures is the Alai Minar, a massive tower that was intended to rival the Qutub Minar, but was left unfinished after the death of its patron, Ala-ud-din Khalji, in 1316 CE.


The third phase of Islamic architecture in India was ushered by the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate, a series of five dynasties that ruled over most of northern India from 1206 to 1526 CE. The Delhi Sultanate was responsible for introducing and developing various styles of Islamic architecture in India, such as the Indo-Islamic, Persian, Turkish, Mongol, and Afghan styles. The Delhi Sultanate also patronized many scholars, artists, and architects who contributed to the advancement of Islamic culture and learning in India. Some of the most notable examples of Islamic architecture from this period are the Qutub Complex, the Red Fort, the Tughlaqabad Fort, the Tomb of Iltutmish, and the Jama Masjid.


The fourth phase of Islamic architecture in India coincided with the rise of the Mughal Empire, a powerful and prosperous dynasty that ruled over most of South Asia from 1526 to 1857 CE. The Mughals were descendants of Timur, a Turkic-Mongol conqueror who invaded India in 1398 CE, and Babur, his grandson who founded the Mughal dynasty in 1526 CE. The Mughals were patrons of art and culture, and they blended Islamic, Persian, Turkish, Mongol, and Indian elements to create a unique and refined style of architecture that is considered to be the pinnacle of Islamic architecture in India. Some of the most famous examples of Mughal architecture are the Taj Mahal, the Humayun's Tomb, the Agra Fort, the Fatehpur Sikri, and the Lahore Fort.


The fifth and final phase of Islamic architecture in India occurred during the colonial era, when India was under the rule of various European powers, such as the Portuguese, the Dutch, the French, and the British. During this period, Islamic architecture in India was influenced by various Western styles, such as Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical, and Victorian. Some of these influences were adopted by Muslim rulers and architects to create new forms of hybrid or eclectic architecture that reflected their changing political and social status. Some examples of colonial-era Islamic architecture in India are the Tipu Sultan's Palace in Bangalore, the Charminar in Hyderabad, the Victoria Terminus in Mumbai, and the Jama Masjid in Delhi.


Who are Satish Grover, Rap Carine Schacchi and Clas?




Satish Grover is an Indian architect and historian who has written extensively on Islamic architecture in India. He is best known for his book Islamic Architecture in India, which was first published in 1981 and has been revised and updated several times since then. The book is a comprehensive and authoritative survey of Islamic architecture in India from its inception to its present state. It covers all aspects of Islamic architecture in India, such as its historical development, its regional variations, its typologies, its aesthetics, its symbolism, its techniques, its influences, and its challenges. The book is widely regarded as a classic and indispensable reference for students and scholars of Islamic architecture in India.


Rap Carine Schacchi is a French architect and researcher who has specialized in Islamic architecture in India. She is best known for her book Architecture Islamique en Inde: Du XIIe au XVIIIe siècle, which was published in 1998 and translated into English as Islamic Architecture in India: From the 12th to the 18th Century in 2002. The book is a detailed and illustrated study of Islamic architecture in India from the Delhi Sultanate to the Mughal Empire. It analyzes various aspects of Islamic architecture in India, such as its forms, functions, structures, materials, decorations, meanings, contexts, and transformations. The book is widely praised for its originality, rigor, and clarity.


Clas is an acronym for Centre for Landscape Architecture Studies (CLAS), a research institute based at Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi. CLAS was founded in 2004 by Professor Mohammad Shaheer with the aim of promoting interdisciplinary research on landscape architecture in India and abroad. CLAS has conducted several projects on Islamic architecture in India, such as documenting Main Features of Islamic Architecture in India




Arches and Domes




One of the most distinctive and characteristic features of Islamic architecture in India is the use of arches and domes. Arches and domes are curved structures that span an opening or space and support a roof or ceiling. They have been used in various civilizations and cultures for centuries, but they became especially prominent and popular in Islamic architecture due to their aesthetic, functional, and symbolic qualities.


Arches and domes have several advantages over other types of structures, such as:



  • They are strong and stable, as they distribute the weight and pressure evenly along their curves.



  • They are flexible and adaptable, as they can be shaped and sized according to different needs and preferences.



  • They are elegant and graceful, as they create a sense of continuity and harmony between the interior and exterior spaces.



  • They are expressive and meaningful, as they represent the unity and diversity of the Islamic faith and culture.



Arches and domes can be classified into various types based on their shape, style, and decoration. Some of the most common types of arches and domes in Islamic architecture in India are:



  • The horseshoe arch, which has a rounded shape that extends beyond a semicircle. It is also known as the Moorish arch or the keyhole arch. It was introduced by the Umayyads in Spain and North Africa, and later adopted by the Delhi Sultanate in India. It is often used for doorways, windows, niches, and mihrabs (prayer niches).



  • The pointed arch, which has a pointed shape that rises above a semicircle. It is also known as the Gothic arch or the lancet arch. It was developed by the Abbasids in Iraq and Iran, and later adopted by the Mughals in India. It is often used for vaults, corridors, arcades, and tombs.



  • The multifoil arch, which has a lobed shape that consists of several curves or foils. It is also known as the cusped arch or the trefoil arch. It was developed by the Fatimids in Egypt and Syria, and later adopted by the Mughals in India. It is often used for decorative purposes, such as screens, windows, panels, and railings.



  • The onion dome, which has a bulbous shape that resembles an onion. It is also known as the amrud dome or the lotus dome. It was developed by the Timurids in Central Asia and Iran, and later adopted by the Mughals in India. It is often used for crowning mosques, tombs, palaces, and towers.



  • The ribbed dome, which has a segmented shape that consists of several ribs or segments. It is also known as the squinch dome or the pendentive dome. It was developed by the Seljuks in Turkey and Iran, and later adopted by the Delhi Sultanate in India. It is often used for covering large spaces, such as halls, chambers, and courtyards.



Minarets and Towers




Another prominent and characteristic feature of Islamic architecture in India is the use of minarets and towers. Minarets and towers are tall and slender structures that rise above the surrounding buildings and landscape. They have been used in various civilizations and cultures for centuries, but they became especially significant and widespread in Islamic architecture due to their practical, symbolic, and artistic qualities.


Minarets and towers have several purposes and functions, such as:



  • They serve as landmarks and orientation points, as they help to identify and locate the presence and direction of mosques and other religious buildings.



  • They serve as platforms and amplifiers, as they allow the muezzin (the caller to prayer) to announce the five daily prayers (adhan) to the surrounding community.



  • They serve as expressions and representations, as they reflect the power and prestige of their patrons and builders, as well as their devotion and dedication to God and Islam.



Minarets and towers can be distinguished into various types based on their shape, style, and decoration. Some of the most common types of minarets and towers in Islamic architecture in India are:



  • The circular minaret, which has a cylindrical shape that tapers towards the top. It is also known as the Turkish minaret or the conical minaret. It was introduced by the Ghaznavids in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and later adopted by the Delhi Sultanate in India. It is often used for mosques, such as the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque and the Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra Mosque.



  • The octagonal minaret, which has an octagonal shape that consists of eight sides. It is also known as the Persian minaret or the star minaret. It was developed by the Ilkhanids in Iran and Iraq, and later adopted by the Mughals in India. It is often used for tombs, such as the Tomb of Iltutmish and the Tomb of Humayun.



  • The fluted minaret, which has a grooved shape that consists of several vertical ridges or flutes. It is also known as the ribbed minaret or the striped minaret. It was developed by the Timurids in Central Asia and Iran, and later adopted by the Mughals in India. It is often used for towers, such as the Qutub Minar and the Charminar.



  • The spiral minaret, which has a twisted shape that coils around a central axis. It is also known as the helical minaret or the snail minaret. It was developed by the Abbasids in Iraq and Iran, and later adopted by the Bahmani Sultanate in India. It is often used for fortifications, such as the Chand Minar and the Chini Mahal.



  • The pavilion minaret, which has a domed shape that rests on a platform or a base. It is also known as the kiosk minaret or the lantern minaret. It was developed by the Mughals in India, and later adopted by the Nawabs of Awadh and Bengal in India. It is often used for palaces, such as the Red Fort and the Lalbagh Fort.



Calligraphy and Ornamentation




the appearance and meaning of buildings and spaces. They have been used in various civilizations and cultures for centuries, but they became especially important and prevalent in Islamic architecture due to their religious, cultural, and aesthetic qualities.


Calligraphy and ornamentation have several roles and functions, such as:



  • They serve as sources and vehicles of knowledge and wisdom, as they convey and communicate the teachings and messages of Islam, such as the Quran, the Hadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad), the Shahada (profession of faith), and the names of God and his prophets.



  • They serve as tools and methods of praise and worship, as they express and demonstrate the admiration and devotion of Muslims to God and his creation, such as through the use of praise phrases (tasbih), blessings (salawat), invocations (dua), and prayers (salat).



  • They serve as elements and components of beauty and harmony, as they create and enhance the visual and spatial quality of Islamic architecture, such as through the use of proportions, geometry, symmetry, patterns, colors, materials, and light.



Calligraphy and ornamentation can be categorized into various types based on their content, style, and technique. Some of the most common types of calligraphy and ornamentation in Islamic architecture in India are:



  • The Kufic script, which is an angular and linear form of Arabic writing that originated in Kufa, Iraq. It is also known as the oldest or the original script of Arabic. It was used by the Umayyads and the Abbasids in the Middle East, and later adopted by the Delhi Sultanate in India. It is often used for inscriptions on buildings, coins, seals, and manuscripts.



  • The Naskh script, which is a round and cursive form of Arabic writing that originated in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is also known as the standard or the common script of Arabic. It was used by the Abbasids and the Fatimids in the Middle East, and later adopted by the Mughals in India. It is often used for writing the Quran, books, letters, and documents.



  • The Thuluth script, which is a large and elegant form of Arabic writing that originated in Baghdad, Iraq. It is also known as the monumental or the ornamental script of Arabic. It was used by the Seljuks and the Ottomans in Turkey and Iran, and later adopted by the Mughals in India. It is often used for titles, headings, banners, and panels.



  • The floral motif, which is a decorative pattern that consists of stylized or realistic representations of flowers, leaves, stems, and vines. It is also known as the arabesque or the islimi motif. It was developed by the Persians and the Turks in Iran and Turkey, and later adopted by the Mughals in India. It is often used for carving, painting, inlaying, and embroidering on wood, stone, marble, metal, and fabric.



  • The geometric motif, which is a decorative pattern that consists of abstract or regular shapes, such as circles, squares, triangles, hexagons, and stars. It is also known as the girih or the zellij motif. It was developed by the Arabs and the Berbers in North Africa and Spain, and later adopted by the Delhi Sultanate in India. It is often used for tiling, mosaicing, plastering, and stuccoing on walls, floors, ceilings, and domes.



Gardens and Water Features




A fourth distinctive and characteristic feature of Islamic architecture in India is the use of gardens and water features. Gardens and water features are natural or artificial elements that create or enhance greenery and water in buildings and spaces. They have been used in various civilizations and cultures for centuries, but they became especially relevant and prevalent in Islamic architecture due to their ecological, social, and spiritual qualities.


Gardens and water features have several benefits and functions, such as:



  • They provide shade and cooling, as they reduce the heat and humidity of the climate and environment.



  • They provide food and medicine, as they grow and produce various fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices.



  • They provide pleasure and relaxation, as they offer and stimulate various senses, such as sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound.



  • They provide symbolism and inspiration, as they represent and evoke various aspects of the Islamic faith and culture, such as paradise, purity, life, and love.



Gardens and water features can be divided into various types based on their layout, style, and technique. Some of the most common types of gardens and water features in Islamic architecture in India are:



  • The charbagh garden, which is a symmetrical garden that consists of four quadrants divided by four water channels or pathways. It is also known as the fourfold or the paradise garden. It was introduced by the Persians in Iran and Iraq, and later adopted by the Mughals in India. It is often used for tombs, such as the Taj Mahal and the Humayun's Tomb.



  • The shalimar garden, which is a terraced garden that consists of three levels connected by waterfalls or fountains. It is also known as the royal or the pleasure garden. It was developed by the Mughals in India, and later adopted by the Sikhs in India. It is often used for palaces, such as the Shalimar Bagh and the Pinjore Gardens.



  • The chahar bagh garden, which is a rectangular garden that consists of two perpendicular water channels or pathways that intersect at the center. It is also known as the cross-axial or the cruciform garden. It was developed by the Timurids in Central Asia and Iran, and later adopted by the Mughals in India. It is often used for mosques, such as the Jama Masjid and the Badshahi Masjid.



The lotus pond, which is a circular or oval water feature that contains lotus flowers, leaves, and stems. It is also known as the padma sarovar or the kamal talao. It was developed by the Mughals in India, and later adopted by the Hindus and Buddhists in India. It is often used for temples, such as the Lotus Templ


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