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Indo -Islamic Architecture during Delhi Sultanate Period                            

Indo -Islamic Architecture during Delhi Sultanate Period                            

The Turks being military adventurers did not bring any craftsmen or architectural experts with them to India, so they employed Indian architects, stone cutters and masons which synthesized and resulted in Indo-Islamic architecture, the main features of which are,

  • Arch and dome method which dispensed with the need for large number of pillars to support the roof and enabled the construction of large halls with a clear view.
  • Use of superior mortar to hold the stones
  • Slab and beam method
  • Decoration with geometrical and floral designs combing them with panels of inscription containing verses from the Quran, this was called arabesque. They also borrowed Hindu motifs such as ball motif, lotus.
  • They added colour to their buildings by using red sandstone, yellow sandstone.

Slave Dynasty:

  • They at first converted temples and other buildings into mosques. Examples of these are quwwat-ul-lslam mosque near the Qutub Minar which was built on a Vishnu temple.
  • Also, the building at Ajmer called “Adhai Din Ka Jhopra” was built on the ruins of a Sanskrit college. The most mangificient building constructed by the rulers of the slave dynasty was the Qutub Minar at Delhi with four storeys and 225 feet, founded by Qutubuddin Aibak and completed by Iltutmish in memory of the Sufi Saint Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki.    Indo -Islamic Architecture during Delhi Sultanate Period
  • There was use of red and white sandstone and marble in the panels and in the top stages and presence of the ribbed effect. Aibak built the city of ‘DiIli’, Iltutmish built the city of Sultangarhi’ and Balban built the city of ‘Kailugarhi’.

Khalji Dynasty:

  • Alauddin Khalji built a new fort and imperial township of SIRI, one of the cities of Delhi. In Sin, he built the Mahal Hazar Satun, ‘the palace of thousand pillars’, Hauz-i-llahi, a water tank and the Jamait Khana mosque.
  • He also built Alai Darwaza which serves as the entrance to the Qutub Minar. The Alai Darwaza contains a dome which for the first time was built on correct scientific lines and also has arches of very pleasing proportions.

Tughluq Dynasty:

  • Ghiyasuddin Tughluq constructed the palace cum fortress complex of tughluqabad, one of the cities of Delhi. Mohammed-bin-Tughluq built the tomb of Ghiyasuddin Tughluq on a high platform which marks a new trend in architecture for an imposing skyline.  Indo -Islamic Architecture during Delhi Sultanate Period
  • He also built Jahanpanah, one of the cities of Delhi which now lies in ruins. He also built many structures in Daulatabad which are now in ruins.
  • Firoz Shah Tughluq built Hauz Khas, a pleasure resort and also built the Firoz Shah Kotla fort concluding his many buildings activities.
  • The Tughluqs started building the tombs on an elevated platform for an imposing skyline. They attempted to combine the principles of arch and done with slab and beam as is evident in Firoz Shah Tughluqs construction of Hauz Khas.
  • Tughluqs also used cheaper and more easily available grey stone which have minimum decoration since it was not easy to carve on them.

Lodhi Dynasty:

  • The Lodhis also placed their domes on an elevated platform to give an imposing skyline, they also used both dome and arch and slab and beam and placed most of their tombs in the midst of gardens.
  • The Lodhi garden at Delhi is a fine example of this.


  • The turks brought with them new musical instruments such as the rabab and sarangi and new musical modes and regulations.  Indo -Islamic Architecture during Delhi Sultanate Period
  • Amir Khusrau introduced many new ragas such as ghora, sanam.
  • He is also credited with having invented the sitar. Music was also popularized by the Sufis and this led to the development of qawwallis, khayals, taranas.


Medieval History

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