Amer Fort, India


The Old Palace, Umber

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Jaipur, Evolution of an Indian City

The historic hill fort rises above the town of Amer (it is sometimes called Amer Fort), which was the capital of the Kuchwaha Rajputs from the 11th to the 18th century. Construction began in 1592 by Maharaja Man Singh, a commander in the army of the Mughal emperor Akbar. In shades of honey and rose stone, white marble and gilt decor, Amber Fort is more of a palace than a fortress, and the design is a unique mix of Hindu and Muslim styles.
Atlas Obscura

There are four divisions of the Amer fort and each division is known as courtyard. All the sections have a gate to make an entry. The main entrance of the fort is through Suraj Pol or Sun Gate as it faces east. Sawai Jai Singh II built this gate.
Amer Fort: absolute beginners

Sidi Saiyyed Mosque, Ahmedabad, India


Carved Windows, Ahmedabad
c.1910

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Early in Ahmedabad’s history, under Ahmed Shah, builders fused Hindu craftsmanship with Persian architecture, giving rise to the Indo-Saracenic style. Many mosques in the city were built in this fashion. Sidi Saiyyed Mosque was built in the last year of the Sultanate of Gujarat. It is entirely arched and has ten stone latticework windows or jali on the side and rear arches.
Wikipedia

This screen was basically made so that the mosque remains fully lighted from inside at all times of the day. The size of this artistic jali is around 16 feet and is in semi circular shape. It is situated at the height of around 20 feet above the ground level. The art work on these jails is so fine that a magnifying glass is required to view its internal intricate design in detail. The design consists of the flowers arrangement in various symmetrical shapes. They are made of smooth white stones and the fine engraving is done with human hands. Sadly, there does not seem to be any information about the actual craftsman who designed the jali. But it took around six years to get each of these jalis completed. Around 45 main artists worked on it, day and night.
The Symbol of Ahmedabad

The Sidi Saiyyed Mosque in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, is a sublime ode in stone to the extraordinary architectural legacy of the African diaspora in India. Although their forefathers were originally brought to India as slaves and maritime laborers, the descendants of these Africans rose to positions of power as military commanders in the armies of the sultans and became great patrons of art and architecture. Called Sidis (or Siddis), an appellation of Africans, or Habshis, from the Arabic-Persian word for “people from Abyssinia or Ethiopia,” one of them was Shaykh Sayyid al-Habshi Sultani, or Sidi Saiyyed, who constructed his eponymous mosque.

Built in 1573, the last year of the Gujarat Sultanate before the Mughals invaded, the mosque is one of the finest specimens of the prodigious architectural accomplishments of the Sidis in India. Situated in the heart of the 600-year-old walled city of Ahmedabad, the design of the mosque is entirely in the arcuate system of construction, involving arches, domes, squinches, and vaults. The mosque is set up like a theatre without a fourth wall, celebrated for the intricately carved filigree work on its jalis (screen windows).
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Dhobi Ghats, Mumbai


Dhobee Ghats, Bombay
c.1910

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Dhobi Ghat is an open air laundromat (lavoir) in Mumbai, India. The washers, known as dhobis, work in the open to clean clothes and linens from Mumbai’s hotels and hospitals. It was constructed in 1890.
Wikipedia.

At first, Dhobi Ghat presents a chaotic scene. However, a closer look brings out the order in the chaos. Lines and lines of washed clothes are hung out to dry in a manner that optimizes both time and space. This is a labor-intensive process, and the washermen, also called dhobis, have a system in place that takes care of washing, sorting, and ironing.
Behind the Scenes at Mumbai’s 140-Year-Old Dhobi Ghat

“I use a dhobi,” explained our guide Freni Avari. “His father used to work for my mother. We are continuing. It’s like family.”

She described how the dhobi system works. “He comes to the house once a week. Every household has a dhobi bag or container where all the clothes are kept. He doesn’t write down what he takes. He just knows,” said Freni. “He wraps them up in a bundle and takes them.”
Dhobi Ghats, the Outdoor Laundries of Mumbai

Tomb of Shams ud din Iltutmish, Qutb complex, Delhi


Tomb of Shums-ood-Deen Altumash, Delhi
c.1910

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Tomb of Shams-ud-din Iltutmish, Qutab Complex (YouTube)

Shamsuddin Iltutmish was a slave of Qutbuddin Aibak. Due to the good education and wide knowledge of the Islamic world, which he acquired during the early days of his adversity, he quickly rose to be the amir- i- shikar and son in law of his master within a decade. In 1206, he held the charge of Badaun as one of the most trusted lieutenants of Aibak. He was manumitted by Aibak long before the latter received such formal manumission, himself. It was done in 1205- 1206 at the instance of Mohammad Ghori who was deeply impressed by the performance of Iltutmish in the campaign against the Khokhars. Iltutmish was not only a soldier but also a man of creative tastes. Often engaged in warfare and happily extended his patronage to the pious and learned. He was further endowed with laudable qualities; he was handsome, intelligent, sagacious and of excellent disposition and manners. He was also just, benevolent, impartial and a zealous warrior.

The hereditary succession of Aram Shah was refused by the Turkish nobility of Delhi, as he was an incompetent and unpopular ruler. Iltutmish was invited from Badaun to assume the leadership of Sultanate. Aram Shah refused to abdicate but was defeated and deposed by Iltutmish in 1211. Iltutmish was the real founder of the Delhi Sultanate. He made Delhi his seat of governance in preference to Lahore and proved to be a strong and capable ruler who enjoyed a long reign of twenty- six years.
HistoryPak.com

The Qutb complex are monuments and buildings from the Delhi Sultanate at Mehrauli in Delhi in India. Construction of the Qutub Minar “victory tower” in the complex, named after the religious figure Sufi Saint Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, was begun by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, who later became the first Sultan of Delhi of the Mamluk dynasty (Gulam Vansh). It was continued by his successor Iltutmish (a.k.a. Altamash), and finally completed much later by Firoz Shah Tughlaq, a Sultan of Delhi from the Tughlaq dynasty (1320-1412) in 1368 AD.

The tomb of the Delhi Sultanate ruler, Iltutmish, a second Sultan of Delhi (r. 1211–1236 AD), built 1235 CE, is also part of the Qutb Minar Complex in Mehrauli, New Delhi. The central chamber is a 9 mt. sq. and has squinches, suggesting the existence of a dome, which has since collapsed. The main cenotaph, in white marble, is placed on a raised platform in the centre of the chamber. The facade is known for its ornate carving, both at the entrance and the interior walls. The interior west wall has a prayer niche (mihrab) decorated with marble, and a rich amalgamation of Hindu motifs into Islamic architecture, such as bell-and-chain, tassel, lotus, diamond emblems. In 1914, during excavations by Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) Gordon Sanderson, the grave chamber was discovered. From the north of the tomb 20 steps lead down to the actual burial vault.
Wikipedia

The Mausoleum of Shams al-Din Iltutmish (reg. 1211-1236), is located in the northwest corner of the Qutb complex next to Iltutmish’s own extensions to the Qutb Mosque.
The sandstone structure is square, measuring 9.1 meters along each side, with a height of 8.41 m to the base of the (conjectured) dome. It was constructed of new material, not making use of the spolia used in other buildings in the Qutb complex. It has three entrances, on the north, east, and south elevations. The western wall, facing Mecca, houses the mihrab as the central niche of three. The upper chamber, now open to the sky, contains the richly decorated marble cenotaph. Steps on the northern side leading down to the burial chamber below.

ArchNet

Fatehpur Sikri , India

Fatehpur Sikri is a town in the Agra District of Uttar Pradesh, India. The city itself was founded as the capital of Mughal Empire in 1571 by Emperor Akbar, serving this role from 1571 to 1585, when Akbar abandoned it due to a campaign in Punjab and was later completely abandoned in 1610.
Wikipedia

Built during the second half of the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri (the City of Victory) was the capital of the Mughal Empire for only some 10 years. The complex of monuments and temples, all in a uniform architectural style, includes one of the largest mosques in India, the Jama Masjid.
UNESCO World Heritage Listing

Fatehpur Sikri is the famous deserted city, about twenty-three miles from Agra, built by Akbar. It was formerly merely a village, called Sikri, celebrated as the abode of Sheikh Salîm Chishti, a Muhammadan pîr, or saint. In 1564, Akbar, returning from a campaign, halted near the cave in which the saint lived. The twin children of his Rajput wife, Mariam Zâmâni, had recently died, and he was anxious for an heir. He consulted the holy man, who advised him to come and live at Sikri. The Emperor did so, and nine months afterwards Mariam, who was taken to Chishti’s cell for her confinement, gave birth to a son, afterwards the Emperor Jahangir. He was called Sultan Salîm in honour of the saint. Jahangir, who describes all these circumstances in his memoirs, adds: “My revered father, regarding the village of Sikri, my birthplace, as fortunate to himself, made it his capital, and in the course of fourteen or fifteen years the hills and deserts, which abounded in beasts of prey, became converted into a magnificent city, comprising numerous gardens, elegant edifices and pavilions, and other places of great attraction and beauty. After the conquest of Gujarat, the village was named Fatehpur (the town of victory).”

The glory of Fatehpur Sikri was short-lived. Akbar held his court there for seventeen years, and then removed it to Agra; some say on account of the badness of the water supply, others that the saint, disturbed in his devotions by the bustle and gaieties of the great city, declared that either he or Akbar must go.
A Handbook to Agra and the Taj Sikandra, Fatehpur-Sikri and the Neighbourhood (1904)


The Jodh Bai Palace, Fort Agra
c.1910
Published: K. Lall & Co., Agra

Not Fort Agra, but near Agra.

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Plan of Fatehpur Sikri, 1917 (Jodh Bai Palace is #7)
Plan of Jodh Bai’s Palace

This imposing palace comprising the principal haramsara of Akbar has been wrongly ascribed to Jodh Bai who has nothing to do with Sikri. It is the most impressive of all the royal edifices. It consists of a large open quadrangle on the sides of which are suites of single-stories rooms with double stories blocks in the center and corners to break the sky-line. The Central block on the east forms a vestibule to the main entrance of the building and on the west is a small shrine supported on richly carved pillars. The shrine has niches for keeping images of Hindu deities and a platform for the principal deity. The Azure-blue glazed tiles of the rood of this palace are also noteworthy. It was most probably build between A.D 1570 and 1574.
Fatehpur Sikri: Fortified Ghost City of Mughal Empire

Though “Miriam’s House” is generally regarded as the abode of Mariam Zâmâni, there is a great deal to support the view that the spacious palace known as Jodh Bai’s Mahal, or Jahangiri Mahal, was really her residence. It is undoubtedly one of the oldest buildings in Fatehpur.

We know that Akbar went there on Mariam’s account; and, after Jahangir’s birth, Akbar’s first care would be to build a palace for the mother and her child, his long-wished-for heir. Mariam was a Hindu, and this palace in all its construction and nearly all its ornamentation belongs to the Hindu and Jaina styles of Mariam’s native country, Rajputana. It even contains a Hindu temple.2 It is also the most important of all the palaces, and Mariam, as mother of the heir-apparent, would take precedence of all the other wives.

On the left of the entrance is a small guard-house. A simple but finely proportioned gateway leads through a vestibule into the inner quadrangle. The style of the whole palace is much less ornate than the other zanana buildings, but it is always dignified and in excellent taste. It must be remembered that the severity of the architectural design was relieved by bright colouring and rich purdahs, which were used to secure privacy for the ladies of the zanana and to diminish the glare of the sunlight.
A Handbook to Agra and the Taj Sikandra, Fatehpur-Sikri and the Neighbourhood (1904)

Read moreFatehpur Sikri , India

Rumi Darwaza (Turkish Gate), Lucknow, India


Turkish Gate, Lucknow

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The Rumi Darwaza served as the entrance to the city of Lucknow; it is 60 feet high and was built by Nawab Asafuddaula (r. 1775-1797) in 1784. It is also known as the Turkish Gateway, as it was erroneously thought to be identical to the gateway at Constantinople. It is the west entrance to the Great Imambara and is embellished with lavish decorations.
British Library Online Gallery

Rumi Darwaza, also known as Turkish Gate, was named after a great 13th century Muslim Sufi mystic, Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi. This sixty foot tall gate was built by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah in the year 1784. The gate is a magnificent example of Awadhi style architecture and is regarded as a gateway to the city of Lucknow. A huge lamp was placed atop the gate during the era of the Awadh Nawabs to light up the passage at night. The sight became all the more captivating when the streams of water gushing from the beautiful bud-shaped fountains close by formed an arch on the gateway.
Native Planet

Lucknow University, Lucknow, India


University College, Lucknow
1920s

How a two-room memorial school turned into a 225-acre Lucknow University

For well over 30 years the Canning College remained in the Kaisar Bagh building, but this site was not suitable for the development of a big residential institution. The provincial Government was prevailed upon to come to its assistance and it readily consented to purchase the college building for a sum of Rs. 2,10,000/- to house the Provincial Museum. In 1905 the Government handed over to the college the extensive walled garden of about 90 acres on the north of the river Gomti, popularly known as “Badshah Bagh”, originally a garden house of King Nasir-ud-Din Haidar, and, since the pacification of Avadh, the Lucknow residence of the Maharaja of Kapurthala. Of the old royal building of this garden, only the Lal Baradari, one lofty and handsome gate and one canal are still present today.

After another financial aid by Maharaja Sir Bhagwati Singh of Balrampur, the implementation of a new building started taking shape. The plans of the building were entrusted to the well-known architect. Sir Swinton Jacob, who prepared an impressive design in the Indo-Saracenic style. The plans of the building were considered by the experts to be so distinctive and elegant that they were subsequently sent for demonstration at the Exhibition held in London on the occasion of the Festival of Empire in 1911.
Wikipedia.