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Sample Term Paper on Comparison between Humayun's Tomb and Indo-Saracenic Architecture

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Sample Term Paper on Comparison between Humayun's Tomb and Indo-Saracenic Architecture

Humayun’s tomb which is built in Delhi was completed in 1571, and it is the first example of a tomb set in a cross-axial garden in India. It is double-domed, constructed with red sandstone and white marble on a plinth center placed in a garden. The path is marked by water channels and walkways with small pavilions and pools. There is a probability that the present garden is a nineteenth-century creation though it is doubted that the original garden was also cross-axial and quadripartite. The tomb was constructed on Humayun son’s orders who was the third emperor and designed by a Persian architect by the name Mirak Mirza Ghiyas, who was selected by Bega Begum. It is believed that the mausoleum plan and dome servedAkbar’s legitimacy need by connecting him with the architecture of forebears of his prestigious Timurid. Similarly, the white and red construction materials linked him with India’s regional architecture.

The Humayun’s tomb is a monument that was designed to create an impression, and the first means of access are not what are used to the present day. Probably in the 16th century, the tomb was entered from the river or the south side. The distinct features of this tomb are the radially balanced plan, the unusual size, white marble and red stone rubble core and its set in a garden which have a pre-Mughal origin. The innovative use of the tombs features and its size suggest a patron and many definitions for the building. As earlier stated, the tomb was built under the instructions of Humayun’s son Akbar, Humayun’s widow, Haji Began was put in charge of the tomb after she returned from a pilgrimage and this means that the project was under the control of the emperor. Extensively,this tomb’s architecture is a reflection of the effortsAkbar tried to articulate in regards to the range and scope of his empire alongside his aspirations and associations definition. The red sandstone and white marble appearance at the tomb are part of a conscious and widespread revival of their use rather than an isolated incident.

The tomb was meant to be an affirming statement of the intentions of the Mughals’ to revitalize Delhi and a restoration of the Sultanate rule which is now the Mughal Empire.  Symbolic associations are found around the structure and are not only reserved for the tomb’s principle elements. Two examples clearly demonstrate this: one, is the mausoleum walls which are three screens where a marble one flanked in the main chamber by two sandstone ones located in adjacent rooms at a corner to allow light through the building. The screens facing Mecca are inscribed with mihrabs which glow against the ground as light filters into the tomb thus replacing the Quran Surah 24 words traditionally written in Indian tomb’s mihrabs. Six-pointed stars marking the tombs arches and all the main gates spandrels are the second example. The prominence and large size of the stars give a purely decorative suggestion and though some people argue the stars symbolize Siva and Sakti union it is believed that there is a likelihood that Akbar conveniently chose them as mainly Humayun’s symbol and the Mughals at large.

 In 1857 revolt, the British crown began ruling India and legitimatized the Indian rule for them to connect with the Indian natives. The British related themselves with the Mughals by maintaining their princes in power to avoid provoking the Indian contempt and enable them to connect with the Mughals. The British required the princess to represent the past though according to the natives, they were a future vision.Nevertheless, the British influenced the elements of Indian designs in new ways that were never conceived by the Mughals since they also wanted to establish their empire in India. The Mayo College tower is believed to mark the beginning of a new era in architecture and as from 1860, the British put up clock towers in India’s major cities. The interior designs of the college lecture hall were a representation of the British modern world that was brought to the princes. Indo – Saracenic architecture refers to the synthesis of Indian materials and Muslim designs that are developed in India by British architects at the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century. The hybrid put together the varied architectural elements of Mughal and Hindu with Gothic cusped arches, spires, tracery, domes, stained glass and minarets in an appealing manner. With the upcoming of this architectural pattern, most of the patrons had a feeling that they also wanted to be part of this particular style which led to a blend of Western and Oriental design.The architecture was adopted in various public buildings such as educational institutions, museums, banks, railway stations, and insurance buildings.

The first Indo-Saracenic building in India was the Chennai Chepauk Palace whose designer was Paul Benfield that incorporates motifs and elements of Islamic and Hindu precedents. The other prominent Indo-Saracenic buildings are the Senate House-Madras University, Victoria Memorial Hall, Viceroy’s House, Secretariat Building in New Delhi,Medha Malik Kudaisya and Chattris and Chajjas, which is built in red sandstone just like Humayun’s tomb. TheIndo-Saracenic architecture buildings just like the Humayun’s tomb are sophisticated, well executed in structure. 

 In conclusion, the perception of architecture is from various points of view by a static spectator. There can be a single view of a building that is seen from far, but if taken away from the architectural space, it becomes a flat representation. Just like traditional theater, the stage space, and the players are real but time and the characters are not real but both reality and representation blend. Architecture is an art language that can be recognized but not completely understood and in this sense, the architect practicing in South Asia is a native style of art.

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