India is a country known for its diverse culture, rich history, and rapidly growing economy. Despite being home to some of the world’s most highly populated cities and having the second-highest GDP on the continent after China, India has a relatively low number of build skyscrapers. Let us discuss why that is.

What is a Skyscraper? 

A skyscraper is a tall, multi-story building typically used for office or residential purposes. The term “skyscraper” generally refers to a building taller than the surrounding buildings and can range from 150 to over 1,000 feet (46 to 305 meters). Skyscrapers are often constructed in densely populated urban areas with limited space and high land values.

Why India Doesn’t Build Skyscrapers - Sheet1
Build Skyscrapers-New York_©Christopher Czermak

Skyscrapers have become a symbol of modern urbanization and can be found in cities worldwide, including New York, Chicago, Dubai, and Tokyo. They are often landmarks that define the skyline of a city and can be architecturally and visually stunning, with unique designs and materials that make them stand out.

India and Skyscrapers 

[India has seen a significant increase in the construction of skyscrapers over the past few decades, particularly in major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Hyderabad. Skyscrapers in India are primarily used for commercial and residential purposes, and they serve as a solution to the growing population and limited land availability in urban areas.

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Build Skyscrapers-Skyline of Mumbai_©Aniket Bhattacharya

The country, however, faces multiple challenges when it comes to the construction of these tall buildings. Developers and policymakers are starting to explore the idea of building taller to meet the growing demand for space.

Land Shortage | Build Skyscrapers

[India’s relationship with skyscrapers is complex and multifaceted. While some skyscrapers exist in Mumbai, they are fewer and shorter on average than neighboring Asian cities. The country has a rich and diverse cultural heritage, and its architecture reflects this heritage.

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Build Skyscrapers-Old Delhi streets_©Ravi Sharma

The country’s population is not only large, but it is also overgrowing. It is expected to increase from 377 million in 2011 to 590 million by 2030. This means there is a significant demand for housing, and building high-rises seem like an attractive solution. However, the reality is that the majority of India’s population needs help to afford to live in these types of buildings. Therefore, building tall structures does not make sense economically and is not a viable solution for most of the population. Additionally, many cities in India are located in seismically active regions, which makes it challenging to build tall structures that can withstand earthquakes.

Energy Consumption and Building Codes

India experiences frequent power outages, especially during the hotter months when the electricity demand is high. The energy infrastructure in India needs to be adequate to support the energy demands of tall buildings, which consume more energy than low-rise buildings. Therefore, it’s crucial that the energy infrastructure can support tall buildings. 

Skyscrapers are energy-intensive structures, and they require a lot of resources to construct and operate. This means that building tall structures in India is not only challenging due to energy consumption but also due to the associated costs. The costs of constructing and maintaining tall buildings are higher than those of low-rise buildings, which is a significant deterrent for developers. They require more lighting, air conditioning, and elevators, which results in higher energy consumption. This can lead to higher energy costs and carbon emissions. A country that is still dependent on fossil fuels and its energy infrastructure needs to be equipped to handle the increased energy demands of tall buildings.

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Build Skyscrapers-Under Construction_©Danist Soh

Being the second-most populous country, water consumption is already high. Tall buildings require even more significant amounts of water for their operation, and their construction could put further pressure on the already limited water resources in the country. In addition, the high population density in cities means that tall buildings would have to accommodate large numbers of people, which could exacerbate issues such as overcrowding, traffic congestion, and air pollution.

India’s building code is another significant challenge for building skyscrapers. The country’s building regulations do not support the construction of tall structures. For example, the maximum Floor Space Index (FSI) allowed in Mumbai is 2.5. FSI is a measure of the amount of construction that can be done on a given piece of land. This means a developer can only construct a building with a maximum FSI of 2.5 on a piece of land. This restricts the height of buildings that can be constructed, and it makes it difficult for developers to build tall structures. This makes it challenging to build tall structures that can accommodate a large number of people.

Cultural Preferences | Build Skyscrapers

Finally, one of the most critical factors is affordability. Building tall structures requires a lot of resources and expertise, which can be expensive. Many developers in India may need help to afford the cost of building tall structures, which limits their construction. 

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Build Skyscrapers-South Bombay Skyline_©Ameya Khandekar

Cultural preferences play a significant role in the construction of tall structures in India. Indians tend for low-rise buildings that align with the country’s architectural traditions. This is particularly true for residential buildings, where Indians prefer homes connected to the ground.

Indian Skyscrapers

Despite these challenges, some Indian cities have begun to explore constructing skyscrapers. For example, Mumbai is one of India’s few cities where tall buildings have been constructed. 

In Mumbai, the demand for space is extremely high, and developers are often forced to build upwards to accommodate the growing population. This has led to the construction of several tall buildings, including residential apartments, commercial complexes, and office spaces. Mumbai is home to some of the tallest buildings in India, such as the World One Tower, which is currently under construction and is expected to be one of the tallest residential buildings in the world upon completion.

In recent years, other cities in India have also begun exploring the idea of building tall, including Delhi, Bangalore, and Hyderabad. For example, in Hyderabad, plans are underway to build a 40-story tower that will house both commercial and residential spaces. The Signature Tower is expected to be one of the tallest buildings in the city, and its construction is being closely watched by developers and policymakers alike.

Build Skyscrapers-Bangalore_©Sanket Shah

Similarly, in Bangalore, developers have proposed the construction of a 70-story tower that would house both residential and commercial spaces. The tower, called the Phoenix Tower, would be the tallest building in the city if it is approved and built. However, as India continues to develop and urbanize, the relationship between the country and skyscrapers will likely continue to evolve. While challenges remain, the potential benefits of tall buildings in terms of maximizing land use and creating iconic structures that symbolize India’s economic growth must be addressed.]


  • Tallest Buildings in India – javatpoint (no date) Available at: (Accessed: February 25, 2023). 
  • TNN / Updated: Aug 12, 2022 (no date) Supreme Court exempts buildings up to 1 7. 5M from Delhi Fire Rules: Delhi News – Times of India, The Times of India. TOI. Available at: (Accessed: February 25, 2023). 
  • The surge in India’s high-rises: A present-day requisite (2021) Hindustan Times. Available at: (Accessed: February 25, 2023). 
  • /* custom css */.tdb-post-meta{ margin-bottom: 16px; color: #444; font-family: ‘Open Sans’ and Rao, H. (2019) Why India doesn’t have many skyscrapers?, Sawdust Online. Available at: (Accessed: February 25, 2023). 
  • Bergen, M. (2013) Why India keeps its cities so short, Bloomberg. Available at: (Accessed: February 25, 2023). 

Isha Ralhan is a 5th-year undergrad student pursuing a bachelor's degree in architecture. She likes learning about new things and traveling to new places. She enjoys photography as a hobby, reading books in her free time, and adores cats.