Islamic Architecture spread to India at the advent of Islamic Rule in India during the era of the Slave Dynasty in the year 1206. Through the years, Islamic Architecture flourished in India, especially during the Mughal Dynasty.

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The influence of Islamic Architecture is prominently on display in the Northern parts of India more than the Southern parts of India. The Islamic Rulers had failed to secure South India under their rule and, thus, the representation of Islamic Architecture in South India is minimal. The Bahmani Sultanate and Deccani Sultanate were the few regions that were under the Islamic Rule in South India and, these regions boast of some of the most iconic Islamic architecture found in the Indian Subcontinent.

Some of the common Islamic Architectural elements found in South Indian Islamic Architecture include bulbous domes, open courtyards, and minarets. Geometrical designs, floral motifs, and calligraphic inscriptions are also popular decorative features found in Indo Islamic Architecture.

Here, is a list of 15 examples of Islamic influence in the architecture of South India.

1. Palayam Juma Mosque 

Location: Trivandrum, Kerala

The mosque, considered to be a symbol of communal harmony, was constructed in the year, 1813 A.D. during the reign of the British Indian Second Regiment. The mosque initially established as a small hall for eid prayer with a thatched roof but was later rebuilt as a large mosque to hold around 2000 people, during congregational prayers in the 1960s. The mosque features two minarets and an archway at the entrance, bordered with an inscription of Quranic scripture. The mosque also presents intricate jali work on either side of the archway and an onion-shaped dome rests on top of the mosque. The mosque is also known as Masjid-i Jahān-Numā, which translates to ‘World-reflecting Mosque’.

Palayam Juma Mosque  - Sheet1
Palayam Juma Mosque ©www.wikiwand.com
Palayam Juma Mosque  - Sheet2
Palayam Juma Mosque ©www.pinterest.ca

2. Gol Gumbaz 

Location: Vijayayapura, Karnataka

The mausoleum, designed by Yaqut of Dabul, was constructed in the year 1892 during the British rule. The tomb of King Muhammad Adil Shah, constructed using 47.5 meter high cubes on each side, is topped by a dome created using eight intersecting arches that form interlocking pendentives. The mausoleum hall acts as a whispering gallery.

Gol Gumbaz - Sheet1
Gol Gumbaz ©www.thehindu.com
Gol Gumbaz - Sheet2
Gol Gumbaz ©www.pinterest.ca
Gol Gumbaz - Sheet3
Gol Gumbaz ©www.mysoretrendz.com/

3. Mahmud Gawan Madrasa 

Location: Bidar, Karnataka

The ancient Islamic College, constructed under the Bahmani Sultanate, is also a mosque. It stands as a dedication to Mahmud Gawan, a great scholar and a Persian trader, who moved to Delhi from Iran and then later relocated to Bidar. The tower of the Madrasa, faced with enamel tiles, features friezes inscribed with Quranic scriptures. The enamel tiles emit a glass-like texture, and, therefore, are addressed as ‘Kaanchina Khamba’ which translates to Glass Tower.

Mahmud Gawan Madrasa
Mohammed Gawan Madrasa ©www.tripadvisor.com

4. Bidar Fort 

Location: Bidar, Karnataka

Sultan Ahmad Shah Wali Bahman built the Bidar Fort in the year 1428. The fort, shaped like a rhombus, comprises many buildings, pavilions, mosques, arches, gardens, etcetera. The fort has seven gates and features 37 bastions. The fort shelters palaces like the Rangeen Mahal, the Takht Mahal, the Sola Khamba Mosque, etcetera. 

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Bidar Fort - Sheet1
Bidar Fort ©www.pinterest.ca
Bidar Fort - Sheet2
Bidar Fort ©www.viator.com
Bidar Fort - Sheet3
Bidar Fort ©www.viator.com

5. Rangeen Mahal in Bidar Fort 

Location: Gulbarga, Karnataka

Rangeen Mahal, built by Sultan Mahmud Shah Bahamani in the mid-16th century, is located in the Bidar Fort. Tiles, granite, and mother of pearl inlays adorn the citadel walls and the external walls feature engraved pillars. The palace features floral designs and geometrical designs with wooden detailing.

Rangeen Mahal in Bidar Fort - Sheet1
Rangeen Mahal ©www.viator.com
Rangeen Mahal in Bidar Fort - Sheet2
Rangeen Mahal ©www.flickr.com

6. Barid Shahi Tombs

Location: Bidar, Karnataka

Barid Shahi Tombs belong to the Barid Shahi Dynasty and it comprises the Tomb of Qasim Barid, Tomb of Amir Barid, Tomb of Ali Barid, Tomb of Ibrahim Barid, Tomb of Qasim Barid II. The tombs, built during the 16th and 17th Centuries, stand on a garden with mango and tamarind trees and also feature an Idgah at the eastern end of Qasim Barid’s tomb. All tombs exhibit an open structure with a large archway in each of its four sides. Inscriptions in different scripts adorn the walls of the tombs.

Barid Shahi Tombs
Barid Shahi Tombs ©www.en.wikipedia.org/

7. Charminar 

Location: Hyderabad, Telangana

The Charminar, built in the year 1591, is recognized as an official emblem of Telangana. The monument features a mosque on its topmost floor. Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah of the Qutb Shahi dynasty commissioned the construction of the square structure. Each of the four sides exhibits a grand arch and a bulbous dome tops each minaret.

Charminar  - Sheet1
Charminar ©www.en.wikipedia.org/
Charminar  - Sheet2
Charminar ©www.india.com

8. Golconda Fort 

Location: Hyderabad, Telangana

The Golconda Fort, expanded and built during the Qutb Shahi Dynasty, and consists of mosques, temples, palaces etcetera. The fort splits further into four forts each and the fort presents a total of eight gateways. The fort stands on a granite hill. 

Golconda Fort - Sheet1
Golconda Fort ©www.flickr.com
Golconda Fort - Sheet2
Golconda Fort ©www.flickr.com
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Golconda Fort ©www.nativeplanet.com

9. Chowmahalla Palace

Location: Hyderabad, Telangana

Chowmahalla Palace, built during the Asaf Jahi dynasty, was the official residence of the Nizams of Hyderabad during their reign. The Palace features a Grand Hall, Gardens, Fountains, and two courtyards, differentiated as the Southern and Northern Courtyards. The courtyard walls display Persian elements like intricate stucco work and mirror inlays. The Grand Hall or, the Khilwat Mubarak exhibits the royal throne on a dais made of pure marble and it also presents nineteen chandeliers designed using Belgian crystal.

Chowmahalla Palace
Khilwat Durbar ©www.en.wikipedia.org/

10. Taramati Baradari 

Location: Hyderabad, Telangana

Taramati Baradari, a resthouse, was built as a part of Ibrahim Bagh, the Persian garden by Sultan Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah. It has 12 doors and can house 500 people inside. It was one of the first constructions in India that allowed cross ventilation.

Taramati Baradari - Sheet1
Taramati Baradari ©www.hyderabadtourism.travel
Taramati Baradari - Sheet2
Taramati Baradari ©www.hyderabadtourism.travel

11. Qutb Shahi Tombs  

Location: Hyderabad, Telangana

The Qutb Shahi Tombs, located in Ibrahim Bagh, comprises the tombs and mosques built during the Qutb Shahi Dynasty. Single storey galleries house small tombs while double-storeyed galleries shelter large tombs. The mausoleum stands on a large platform with the sarcophagus above the burial crypt. Carpets cover the floors of the halls. Coloured and shiny tiles decorate the domes of the mosque.

Qutb Shahi Tombs
Tomb of Hayath Bakshi Begum ©www.en.wikipedia.org/

12. Shaikpet Sarai 

Location: Hyderabad, Telangana

Shaikpet Sarai, a resthouse, was built by Sultan Abdullah Qutb Shah. The heritage rest house has 30 rooms and five hundred people can occupy the resthouse at a single time. The rest house also features stables and a tomb of a Sufi saint. The rest house also houses a mosque and the qibla wall inside the mosque exhibits inscriptions of Quranic scriptures.

Shaikpet Sarai
Shaikpet Sarai ©www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/

13. Khairtabad Mosque  

Location: Hyderabad, Telangana

Khairtabad Mosque, built by Hussain Shah Wali in the year 1626 A.D, was commissioned by Khairunisa Begum for her mentor Akhund Mulla Abul Malik. The mosque has decorative minarets and features three archways at the entrance. The mosque shows intricate jali work on its facades and minarets.

Khairtabad Mosque - Sheet1
Khairtabad Mosque ©www.hyderabadstory.blogspot.com/
Khairtabad Mosque - Sheet2
Khairtabad Mosque ©www.dome.mit.edu/

14. Toli Mosque

Location: Hyderabad, Telangana

Toli Mosque, constructed in the year 1671 A.D by Architect Mir Musa Khan Mahaldar, belongs to the era of the Qutb Shahi Dynasty. The mosque features five archway openings at its entrance and the central arch is a bit wider and more ornate than the remaining four. The mosque, built on a raised platform with a high plinth, is divided into two halls. The mosque displays two minarets and they are 20 meters high.

Toli Mosque
Toli Mosque ©www.telanganatoday.com/

15. Mecca Mosque

Location: Hyderabad, Telangana
Completion Year: 1694

Mecca Mosque was built by Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah who, also commissioned bricks to be made from the soil brought from the holy site of Mecca to construct the central arch of the mosque. The entrance to the courtyard features arched and canopied buildings that house the marble tombs of the Asaf Jahi Dynasty rulers. The mosque has four minarets which are 23 meters high. 

Mecca Mosque - Sheet1
Mecca Mosque ©www.en.wikipedia.org/
Mecca Mosque - Sheet2
Mecca Mosque ©www.en.wikipedia.org/
Author

Gopika Gopan is an Interior Designer who believes every building has a story to tell and is on a mission to narrate as many stories as possible. She believes architecture is the mirror of society and, she hopes to make a change in the world with her words and designs.

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