In this article we will discus about the contribution of Tughlaq rulers to architecture during the medieval age.
With the coming of the Tughlaqs, a distinct change took place in the spirit and tone of the architecture and there was a swing towards simplicity and austerity. There was a great attempt to avoid ornamentation and richness in details.
According to Prof. Srivastava, This change might have been due to two factors:
Firstly, the Tughlaq rulers were pious and orthodox Sunni Muslamans and were interested in building the structure strictly in accordance with religious direction.
Secondly, the Tughlaq were poorer and did not possess sufficient money to squander away an ambitious architectural plans. Sir John Marshall adds another factor to the above two mentioned by Prof. Srivastava. He says that the decay in early craftsmanship and artisans was another major factor.
Ghiasuddin Tughlaq built Tughluqabad (the third of the 7 cities) to the east of Qutab. Though the city and the palaces built by Ghiasuddin Tughlaq are now in ruins but an idea about their magnificent can be still formed.
Marshall says, “Few strongholds of antiquity,” are more imposing in their ruins, than Tughlaqabad. He says, “Its cyclopean walls, towering grey and somber, above the smiling landscape, colossal, splayed-out bastions; frowning battlements; tiers on tiers of narrow loopholes, steep entrance ways; and lofty narrow portals all these contribute to produce an impression of unassailable strength and melancholy grandeur. Within the walls all is now desolation, but, amid the labyrinth of ruined streets, and buildings, the precincts of the Royal Palace, once roofed with tiles of glittering gift are still discernible; and so too is the citadel rising high above the rest of the town and protected by its own double or triple lines of defence.”
Marshall further expresses the opinion that the Palace of Tughlaqabad must have been built in hurry with poor material and that is why it did not survive for long.
Another important monuments built by Giasuddin Tughlaq was his own mausoleum between the walls of the city. The mausoleum is like a small fortress and is built of red-stone with in lays of bands and panels of marble out of the arch springs. It is surmounted with a huge tomb built entirely on marble which imparts certain likeness and diversity to the structure.
‘The tomb presents an ambivalent character—a fortress for the body’s defence, and a sepulcher for the soul’s rest.
Muhammad bin Tughlaq, the next ruler also undertook the construction of a number of buildings. He built a small fortress at Adilabad adjoining city of Tughlaqabad. He also built Jahan-pana (fourth city of Delhi) by linking the first and second cities by walls. This city has however disappeared because it was built of poor material.
The only two buildings which have survived are a tomb near the Bijai Mandal, a lofty tower like building of terraced elevation and Sathpalah-bund, a fine bridge having seven spans with supplementary arches and- a tower at each end. In addition Muhammad Tughlaq must have constructed certain buildings in the Deccan where he shifted his capital.
Firoz Tughlaq, next ruler, was also a great builder who constructed a number of cities, forts, mosques, madrasas and embankments, Farishta says that Firoz Shah constructed not less than 845 works. He quotes Firoz Shah as saying, “Among the many gifts which God bestows upon me, His humble servant was a desire to erect buildings. So I built many mosques and colleges and monasteries.”
Firoz Shah built Firozabad (the fifth city of Delhi) between the ridge on the north and the Hauz-i Khas on the South.
In this city he built a palace, fort, 9 mosques, 3 pillars and number of hunting boxes In 1387 A.D., Firoz Shah completed Kalan Masjid, a citadel—like building of formidable aspect with domed bastions at its angles and acutely tapered cylindrical minarets on either side of the main entrance.
Firoz Shah also built his own mausoleum. It is a square building, surrounded by battering walls and surmounted by a single dome, raised on an octagonal drum.
During his reign, a new architectural trend is noticeable. The mausoleum of Khavri-Jahan Tilangani situated near Kali Masjid, is an unostentious structure. So far all the mortuary buildings had been of square shape but the tomb of Tilangani is octagonal to make the exterior more impressive.
It is said that this tomb resembles the Dome of the Rock of Jerusalem. The building of Firoz Shah are noted for their simplicity and straight-forwardness. In the words of Marshall, “The virtues of this architecture reside in its vigour and straight forwardness in its simple broad effects, and in the purposefulness with which it evolved new structural features or adopted old ones to its needs, the multi domed roofing, for example, or the tapering minaret like buttresses at the quoins. Its faults are seen in the monotonous reiteration of these self same features, in the prosaic nakedness, of its ideas, and in the dearth of everything that might make for picturesque charm or elegance.”