India is a country rich with heritage of numerous exceptional dynasties in the world. One such dynasty is, without a doubt, the Mughal Empire. From eons, every kid in the country has been taught about the greatness and downfalls of the Mughal Empire.
Naturally, the Empire has left behind a number of magnificent relics that teach us so much about the royal dynasty; each relic with a story of its own.
History Of The Mughal Empire
Here's a brief brush up to the history of Mughal Empire that we all studied back in school. The word "Mughal" is an Indo-Aryan term for the word "Mongol". The story of the Mughals began when Babur, a Mongol leader founded the dynasty in 1526. Their rule extended for most parts of India, along with parts of Afghanistan and Balochistan.
Once the Empire came under the rule of Akbar The Great, it saw a steady and mighty growth of both power and land. The downfall of this great dynasty began after the rule of Aurangzeb. Since the technology was not modernized, little care was taken of the pupils and governance got rustier, the Empire ultimately declined. Their rule lasted from 1526 to 1857.
However, with almost 3 centuries of time in hand, the Mughals have created some of the best masterpieces in India. Take a look at some of those here.
Declared as the "New 7 Wonders Of The Word" in 2007, Taj Mahal is without a doubt the best creation of the Mughal Dynasty. It is India's most famous monument visited by the people from all across the world.
Located on the banks of river Yamuna in the city of Agra, it is a breathtaking monument made entirely of white marble.
It was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan between 1631 and 1648, to honour the tomb of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. The architecture is an amalgamation of Persian and Mughal style.
With Ustad-Ahmad Lahori as the main architect of this striking monument, Shah Jahan appointed artisans of all aspects from all over the Empire to complete Taj Mahal.
It is open from 8 am to 5 pm and is closed on Fridays. However, on Friday afternoons it is open for those who want to attend the mosque of Taj Mahal.
Commissioned by the Persian Queen Hamida Banu Begum, Humayun's Tomb is a fort designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyas. It is a tomb that was built to house the tomb of Hamida Begum's husband, Mughal Emperor Humayun. It is located in Delhi and was built between 1569-70.
Due to the magnificence of the fort, it was declared as one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1993. The Humayun's Tomb was first of its kind wherein red sandstone was used in such huge extent to build an entire fort.
It is built in the Islamic style of Charbagh, wherein the fort is placed in the middle of a square garden, which is divided into four parts.
It is open for visiting from 6 am to 6 pm and is not closed on any days.
Red Fort is an absolute masterpiece built by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1639. When he shifted the Empire's capital from Agra to Old Delhi, which used to be known as Shahjahanabad, he started the construction of Red Fort.
This magnanimous structure stands as the finest example of the Mughal architecture. Although the attraction of this fort is its fantastic designing and architecture, the entire fort is made of red sandstone which dominates the artistry, hence the name Red Fort.
Red Fort was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. This beautiful fort was later plundered by other rulers and then the British Raj, hence the artefacts in the fort exist no more.
It is open from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm; it is closed on Mondays.
Originally known as Masjid-i-Jahan-Numa, which literally translates to "mosque commanding view of the world", Jama Masjid is also a fabulous construction by Emperor Shah Jahan. Built between 1644 and 1656 using 5000 artisans, the price of construction came to a colossal 1 million rupees even at that time!!
The mosque is built with red sandstone and white marble, and is situated right opposite to the Red Fort. It was called "Jama Masjid" since hundreds of Muslims congregate at this mosque on Fridays.
With three gates, four towers, and floor made of black and white tiles to make it look like a prayer mat, the mosque is visited by millions of worshippers till date.
Jama Masjid is open from 7 am to 12 pm in the mornings and from 1.30 pm to 6.30 pm in the evenings.
Before transferring to the Red Fort in 1638, the Agra Fort was the main residence of the Mughal Emperors. This enormous walled city comes under the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also known as Lal Qila, Fort Rogue or Red Fort of Agra, this fort was built by Akbar using red sandstone.
The fort houses a number of awe-inspiring structures. Sheesh Mahal which means "Glass Palace" used to be the royal dressing room, decorated with small mirrors and mosaic designs and Khas Mahal is a palace made of white marble. Diwan-i-Khas, Mina Masjid, Nagina Masjid, etc., are all some of the beautiful buildings found within the fort.
Agra Fort is open from 6 am to 6 pm on all days of the week.
Buland Darwaza, built by Emperor Akbar, is one of the highest gateways of the world! With a height of 177 ft, it stands as a gateway to Fatehpur Sikhri. Buland Darwaza means "Gate Of Magnificence" and indeed it stands true to its name.
Built with red and buff sandstone and adorned with white and black marbles, it took twelve years to complete this structure! It was built by King Akbar in order to mark his victory against Gujarat in 1573.
It is open from 7 am to 5 pm and on Fridays, it remains closed.
Jodha Bai's Palace
Jodha Bai's Palace is an important monument located in Fatehpur Sikhri. In the Mughal days, women had a separate place for themselves and this palace is believed to be one of those buildings. King Akbar's queen Jodha, along with other women is believed to have stayed in this palace.
It is interesting to note that the architecture of the palace is in a harmonious mixture of both Islamic and Hindu style. Even this structure was built of red sandstone, which seems to be a favourite choice among the Mughals.