Architecture in India began 5000 years ago and till now, is perhaps the country’s greatest glory. The people, circumstances, and social, cultural, and political situations from various locations and periods in Indian history have been diverse; which in turn brought about a wide variety in architectural styles. Every piece of architecture regardless of its form and features has served a specific purpose and shaped India’s history into what it is today.
As important as Indian architecture is, so are the maestros who have ideated and constructed it. Countless architects of India have emerged throughout history but only a handful are said to have made history.

So, let’s start from the beginning!

1.  Harappan Planners | Architects of India

The earliest form of architecture in India can be traced back to the Harappan civilization around 3300 BC. The extensive town planning techniques adopted by Harappan architects and planners only went to show that they were way ahead of their time, and have been reiterated in countless modern cities.

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‘Grid pattern urban planning’ ©

2. Ashoka | Indian Architects

India has seen great architectural advances under the rule of Ashoka the Great. Not only did he propagate Buddhist architecture by commissioning stupas and shrines, but even the stonework of the Ashokan Period was highly diversified.

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‘Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh’ ©

3. South Indian Rulers | Architects of India

With the establishment of Hindu kingdoms in south India, Dravidian and rock-cut temple architecture began to flourish. Credit goes to not just the rulers but also the architects of the Pallava, Chola, and Vijayanagara courts. Temples like the Meenakshi and rock-cut temples at Thanjavur, Mahabalipuram bear testament to the architectural excellence of South Indian rulers.

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‘Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai’ ©

4. Muslim Rulers and Indian craftsmen

Indo Islamic style came to India tagging along with the Muslim Rulers and gave us a chance to witness some of the most glorious architectural masterpieces. This style as the name suggests is a mixture of Hindu (Indian) and Muslim (Iranian) style. Though they were designed by Muslim architects, Indian craftsmen were employed who had their own ideas about the form and method of construction which culminated in a beautiful amalgamation.

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‘Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi’ ©

5. Ustad Ahmed | Famous Indian Architecture

The Taj Mahal, often considered as the zenith of Mughal Architecture was commissioned by Shah Jahan and is a symbol of his undying love for his wife, as we all know. What we don’t know, however, was who designed it. Its architecture makes it evident that the Taj Mahal was planned by professional architects who knew what they were doing and not by a prince or an amateur. Ustad Ahmed, an architect in the court of Shah Jahan is credited as the chief architect of the Taj Mahal and a 17th-century manuscript claims that he also designed the Red Fort in Delhi.

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‘Taj Mahal, Agra’ ©

6. William Emerson | Architects of India

With the beginning of the new British Raj-era came a new architectural tradition; a tradition that was pursued by marrying existing Indian styles with imported styles from the West. This era also brought to the world a lot more names in terms of architects and one such name was William Emerson. He was a British architect who was President of the Royal Institute of British Architects worked extensively in India, and designed the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata.

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‘Victoria Memorial, Kolkata’ ©

7. Henry Irwin | Famous Indian Architects

Irwin was another British architect who played a major role in Indo-Saracenic Architecture. The Madras High Court, built-in 1892, was one of his most prominent projects and is a prime example of this style.

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‘Madras High Court’ ©

8. Lutyens-Baker | Architect of India

Edwin Lutyens played an active role in designing and building New Delhi, the seat of the Indian government today. His collaboration with Sir Herbert Baker was the talk of the town, and together, they were the architects of several monuments like the India Gate and the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

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‘India Gate, Delhi’ ©

9. Ganesh Deolalikar | Ancient Architects of India

Post Indian independence, India had only about 300 trained architects and only one training institution. Thus, the first generation of Indian architects studied abroad. One such early architect was Ganesh Deolalikar, who had a traditionalist style and designed the Supreme Court building.

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‘Supreme Court of India, New Delhi’ ©

10. Le Corbusier | Famous Indian Architects

A French architect, known to be a pioneer of modernist architecture, Le Corbusier was commissioned by Jawaharlal Nehru to design his dream city Chandigarh. The sector-wise division of the city and its overall urban planning places Chandigarh amongst the best-planned cities of the world.

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‘The planned city of Chandigarh’ ©
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Currently a student of Bachelors in Architecture, Medha yearns to unceasingly learn new things. Here at RTF, she intends to put forth her ideas on architecture, and believes that words encapsulate the essence of a design. She aspires to create something beautiful, one day.