“As the style progressed,” says Fergusson, of the architecture of Gujerat, “it became more and more Indian.” Not only this, but it produced some of the most stately and beautiful buildings ever consecrated to Muhammadan worship. The fifteenth century in Gujerat had been a time of fierce struggle between the Musulmân sovereigns and the rulers of the neighbouring Hindu states. Ahmad Shah (1441-42), the founder of Ahmadâbâd, and his immediate successors were too busy in destroying Hindu temples and in propagating the faith of Islâm by the sword to become great builders. But in the early part of the sixteenth century, under the most powerful of the Muhammadan rulers of Gujerat, Mahmûd Shah Begarah (1459-1511), Ahmadâbâd had become on the whole, says Ferishta, “the handsomest city in Hindustan, and perhaps in the whole world.”1
Champanîr, a hill-fortress about seventy-eight miles southeast from Ahmadâbâd, was taken by Mahmûd in 1484 after a heroic defence of eight and a half months by the Hindu chieftain, Jay Singh Pâtâi Râwal, who when wounded and taken prisoner preferred death to acceptance of the dogmas of Islâm.2 Mahmûd made Champanîr his capital, and before his death in 1511 had built there many splendid buildings, including a Jâmi’ Masjid which should be regarded not only as the finest in Gujerat, but as one of the noblest buildings of its class anywhere, for in many ways it is far superior to other architectural monuments of the Muhammadans which are better known to the European student.
It has a better architectural ensemble than Akbar’s mosque at the Fatehpur-Sîkrî, which is overpowered by its magnificent portal, the Buland Darwâza. In dimensions it is little inferior to the great mosques of Ahmadâbâd and Delhi; in certain qualities of design it surpasses them both. The Jâmi’ Masjid at Delhi has the advantage in the skill with which it is planned for external effect. It may be more imposing as a silhouette against a glowing sunset, but that borrowed glory disappears on closer approach, for the interior is as cold and expressionless as a modern Renaissance church. The Champanîr mosque needs no help from its surroundings, beautiful as they are; for every stone of it glows with the warmth of its own expression. It combines consummate craftsmanship with lofty religious idealism; the exquisite rhythm of Greek construction with the sumptuous richness of Byzantine decoration, though it lacks the human interest of Christian idealistic art.
The designing of the Champanîr mosque shows a great advance from Ahmadâbâd buildings of the preceding century, but no signs whatever of Persian or Arabian suggestion, except in some of the decorative details. The Gujerat builders, after a century of experimenting at Ahmadâbâd and elsewhere, had acquired as much skill in the structural use of the pointed arch as they had in their own traditional style of building, and from the habit of thought formed by the religious teaching of Islâm had adopted a mode of artistic expression more in harmony with that religion than with the pantheistic philosophy of Hinduism. But the artistic principles and the craft tradition were not otherwise changed: they were only being adapted to the ideals of a particular school of religious thought.
The orientation of the mosque is the same as that which was used for a Hindu temple—i.e. the four walls of the enclosure face the four cardinal points, the principal entrance being towards the rising sun. The planning of it is more compact than that of the Jâmi’ Masjid at Ahmadâbâd, the courtyard being smaller in proportion to the size of the lîwân. In this and in the emphasising of the pyramidal lines of the whole structure it resembles even more closely the Hindu prototype of the Gujerat mosques—the Chaumukh temple at Rânpur (Plate XXVI).
The enclosing walls of the mosque measure 216 feet from east to west, and 178 feet from north to south. The courtyard is 115 feet from east to west, and is surrounded on three sides by corridors with arcades open to the court, the outer walls being pierced by elegant windows of purely Hindu design, filled with perforated stone lattices (Pl. XLVI). The main entrance on the east is through a noble domed portico (Pl. XLVII). The carving on it betrays the influence of the Arabic calligraphist, but the whole structural basis of it is Hindu. The pilasters on the sides of the doorway repeat those of a Hindu temple; the arches are constructed experimentally in Hindu fashion, sometimes like brackets, sometimes with keystones and irregular voussoirs.
The façade of the lîwân, the centre of which is shown in Pl. XLVIII,3 proves how completely the Gujerat builders of the sixteenth century had overcome the difficulties of harmonising the arched screen in front of the lîwân with the purely Hindu structure of the interior. There is nothing of the awkwardness which is seen in the arrangement of the façades of the earlier Gujerat mosques. The spacing out is finely balanced and the proportions carefully adjusted as in the best Renaissance buildings of Europe, while there is a subtlety in the rhythm and a fertility of imagination in the co-ordination and design of the detail which only the best Gothic craftsmen have equalled.
There are five entrances to the lîwân—a central doorway, 15 feet in width, and two on either side of it of half that size. The main entrance is flanked by two stately minarets, 100 feet in height, of perfect proportions, which are echoed by four others, 50 feet in height, at the outer corners of the lîwân (Plate LI). The proportion of a double square is also observed in the ground-plan of the lîwân. The central part of the façade is a square of 51 feet, or, if the height of the minarets is included, very nearly a double square. The side-wings, the plainness of which contrasts well with the richness of the centre, are also of the same proportion; the height of each being 28 feet and the width 56 feet. The frequent occurrence of the double square, a favourite canon of proportion with the Renaissance architects of Italy, will probably tempt some Western writer to suggest that Mahmûd of Gujerat imported Italians to teach his master-builders the “true principles” of architecture!
The base of the two central minarets, which contain spiral staircases leading up to the upper galleries of the lîwân and to a door at the top of each, are richly carved, in the style of the Rajput Towers of Victory (Pl. XXIII), up to the level of the crown of the central doorway. Above this they are ornamented at intervals proportioned with unerring skill and taste with a series of exquisitely carved string-courses and bracketed cornices, each one of different design. At a height of about two-thirds from the base, the section of the minarets changes from an octagon to a sixteen-sided polygon, and finally to a circle, as usual in Hindu temple pillars. The summit of each is crowned like the mandapa of a Hindu temple.
The plan and section (Pl. XLIX) will show the arrangement of the interior of the lîwân, which measures 169,1-2. feet by 81 feet, and is also an adaptation of the design of contemporary Hindu temples in Rajputana. Like the exterior it is simpler than that of the Jâmi’ Masjid at Ahmadâbâd, and finer in proportion. There are eleven domes of about 20 feet in diameter—four along the front and back and three along the central line from north to south—which are linked together by a flat roof and ten smaller domes. The general level of the roof is only 17,1-2. feet in height, but the central part of it, corresponding to the transept of a Christian church, is carried up to three stories, the roof of it being brought forward to the façade wall so as to form a lofty entrance porch. Though this transept with its dome (Plate L) is of insignificant size compared with many other buildings in Europe and in India, in nobility of conception, justness of proportion, and in the virile strength of its flawless masonic craftsmanship it can hold its own with any. Shah Jahân ransacked Asia for the most precious materials so that the tomb of his beloved queen might surpass all others in beauty. His craftsmen, indeed, made full use of them; but the Jâmi’ Masjid of Champanîr proves that great architecture can dispense with marble and precious stones. Here the mason’s chisel suggests the glow of colour, gold and inlay before they were added to the building.
The central dome is of the same diameter as the ten large domes of the adjacent aisles, but it is several feet higher from the springing to the crown. The desire for a greater height was no doubt the reason for its being constructed with sixteen stone ribs, instead of by concentric horizontal courses of stone like the other domes. In the previous chapter I have shown the error of Fergusson’s assumption that the ribbed dome was introduced into India by Saracenic builders from the West. It is significant that the Champanîr dome in which this principle is employed occupies an analogous position in the mosque to the spire of the vimâna in a Rajputana temple. The latter being always constructed with stone ribs, it was natural for the Indian craftsman to apply the same principle to the central dome of a mosque, and to build the subordinate ones in the same way as the domes of a Hindu temple porch, i.e. with horizontal courses of stone. That is exactly what they did at Champanîr.
The exterior of the other domes, which, if the line of the interior structure had been followed, would have had an ugly conical shape like the makeshift domes of early Muhammadan buildings in India, is brought to an approximately semicircular section by a casing of brickwork, with a final coating of plaster. All the domes are surmounted by the Hindu emblems, the water-pot and the amalaka.
Along the west wall of the lîwân are placed seven beautifully sculptured mihrâbs, three large ones in the centre with two smaller ones on each side of them. With the omission of anthropomorphic symbolism they are exact reproductions of Hindu temple shrines, and are precisely similar in style to the beautiful mihrâb of the Junagarh mosque shown in Pl. XXXII. The spaces between the mihrâbs and the two end spaces are filled by sixteen windows with perforated stone lattices, like those in the corridors of the courtyard.
The south wall is pierced by three windows with very elegant bracketed balconies similar in design to those of the façade. Plate LI. shows the whole exterior or back view of the lîwân as seen from the southwest. The seven buttresses in the west wall are variations of the designs of the sculptured bases of the minarets.
There can be no dispute that the Champanîr mosque, like those of Jaunpur, Mandû, and elsewhere in the preceding century, will convey to the European observer a first impression of belonging to a building tradition very different to that of Hindu temples. He will convince himself that he can trace in the gradual development of Indo-Muhammadan architecture a growing sense of structural rhythm, a fine feeling for proportion and for the just co-ordination of plain and decorated surfaces which he fails to perceive in the Hindu buildings with which he is acquainted.
But that is chiefly because few trained European critics have as yet thought it worth while to apply themselves to a careful study of Hindu art and architecture. In Europe there are no opportunities for doing so, and the usual itinerary of a tourist in India only enables him to compare some of the finest Muhammadan buildings with the most decadent of Hindu architecture. A closer investigation, guided by a true sense of historical analysis, will enable him to see that the difference between the mosque and the temple—when a just comparison is made between—them is only a difference of artistic mood, controlled by ritualistic and practical considerations, not a difference of artistic tradition, knowledge, or skill. The science of Muhammadan art in India, as well as the inspiration of it, came from the Hindu Silpa-sâstras. The outstanding fact in the history of Muhammadan architecture in India is that until the beginning of the seventeenth century, when its decadence was approaching, the development of it was entirely from within. Though they looked to Baghdad and Mecca as their spiritual centres, neither the political nor religious leaders of Islâm showed any bias towards foreign architectural fashions.
Champanîr, says Dr. Burgess, remained the political capital of Gujerat until 1536. Among the ruins of this splendid city there are still many buildings which deserve detailed description, but I must content myself with a passing reference to the Nagîna Masjid, a beautiful little building very similar to the Jâmi’ Masjid, though much smaller. It is evidently of the same period. The façade of the lîwân is shown in Plate LII.
The perforated stone windows sculptured in the bases of the minarets (Pl. LIII) show the progressive development of those surpassingly beautiful foliated trellises for which the mosques at Ahmadâbâd are famous. Professor Lethaby is wrong in saying that “all the lattices of the East, Indian and Chinese, must derive from the Arab lattice.” The stone lattices in Muhammadan buildings in Gujerat are, like other details, derived directly from the Hindu temples of Western India and Rajputana. Muhammadan social customs made lattices more necessary in the mosque than they were in the temple. The Indian craftsman, following his own tradition, supplied the demand for both.
After the removal of the Court to Champanîr there was still great building activity in the old capital and throughout the kingdom of Gujerat. The Rânî Rupâvati Masjid, or the Queen’s Mosque, in the Mîrzapur quarter of the city, is typical of the style of the early sixteenth century. Making allowances for the stunted appearance of the façade of the lîwân, due to the loss of the upper half of the minarets, it is one of the most successful of the Ahmadâbâd mosques, though by no means so finely balanced in design as the two mosques at Champanîr, It is much smaller than the Jâmi’ Masjid, and only the lîwân remains intact. The outside dimensions of the latter are 103 feet by 46 feet. It is covered by three domes about 19 feet in diameter linked together by a flat roof and smaller domes, the central dome being raised upon a clerestory to admit light and air according to the usual arrangement of Gujerat mosques.
The details of the Mirzapur mosque—the bases of the minarets, the balcony windows, and the perforated stone lattices—are as exuberantly rich as the sculpture of the Hindu temples from which they are derived.
The tomb of the Rânî, said to be one of the ladies of the Royal household, from whom the mosque is named, is in an adjacent courtyard. Like all the early Muhammadan tombs in India, it shows a great contrast to the mosque in its classic severity of design and sobriety of decoration; but it is nevertheless purely Hindu in general conception and in detail.
Starting from a square or octagonal ground-plan with a single dome supported on columns like the porch of a Hindu temple, the roof-plan of the Muhammadan tomb gradually developed into the panch-ratna or “four-jewelled” type of Buddhist and Hindu temple, by the addition of four smaller domes or kiosks at the corner of the square, or into the nava-ratna or “nine-jewelled” type when the ground-plan was octagonal. In the former case four minarets or octagonal buttresses sometimes took the place of the smaller domes. In the Tâj Mahall the four detached minarets echo the small kiosks over the four side-chapels of the mausoleum. The great majority of Muhammadan tombs in India are planned upon this scheme, or some slight variation of it.
Another of the most beautiful of the mosques of Ahmadâbâd—the so-called mosque of Sidi Sayyid, built within the enclosure of the royal palace—belongs to the early part of the sixteenth century. It has, however, suffered much from vandalism, first from the Marathas who desecrated it, and afterwards under British rule when it was converted into an office for the revenue collection of the district. Its restoration and conservation were part of the splendid work done by the Archæological Survey of India under Lord Curzon’s Government.
It is a small mosque, and only the lîwân, measuring 68 feet by 36 feet, now remains; the upper part of the minarets at the two front corners have fallen. Structurally it is interesting as showing one of the first attempts of the Gujerat builders to use the arch in the interior of the lîwân for the support of the roof. Here, as elsewhere, it is quite evident that the Indian did it tentatively but quite spontaneously, without any instruction or suggestion from foreign craftsmen, to whom the arch was familiar as a structural expedient. The pîpal leaf is carefully carved on the keystone of the arches (Pl. LVIII). No Saracenic craftsman would have done this. Neither would a Saracenic builder skilled in arch construction have experimented with Hindu methods of construction as these builders did. It was just because the Indian builders of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries could and did experiment so freely that they produced such great results. Three different devices, Dr. Burgess points out, were employed in roofing the fifteen compartments into which the plan of the lîwân is divided by its pillars. “Some are contracted in the usual Hindu method by cutting off the corners by three courses of lintels, reducing the square to a thirty-twosided polygon; in others pendentive arches are thrown across the corners in the style so common in Northern India; in others again a Hindu system of brackets support the base of the covering dome.”4 The domes being of small dimensions, they are contained within the thickness of the roof, which is flat outside.
Though skilfully planned and elegant in proportions, as are all the Gujerat buildings of this period, Sidi Sayyid’s mosque in its mutilated condition would not be specially remarkable except for the glorious stone tracery of the arched windows in the back of the lîwân, which besides ventilating the interior give it almost as much warmth of colour as the jewelled windows of Western cathedrals. From the outside it is equally beautiful (Pl. LVIII). In this class of window tracery India stands alone: it is a purely Indian development of the sculptor’s craft having its origin in the Hindu temple tradition. It owed nothing to Persian art: the best Ahmadâbâd tracery shows no Persian influence. It is stronger in design and better suited for its purpose than most of the work of the Mogul period, when the Indian craftsmen adopted the Persian fashions of the court. Persian influence generally was very far from being the great inspiring force in Mogul art which it is commonly assumed to be by Western critics. The court fashions of the later Mogul Emperors had, on the whole, a decidedly weakening effect on the native vigour of Indian architecture, as they certainly had upon the morale of Indian social life. Professor Lethaby’s oft-quoted characterisation of Indo-Muhammadan architecture as “elasticity, intricacy, and glitter—suggestive of fountain spray and singing birds,” is only just if applied to the later decadent phases of it, when Persian influence was strongest and when the demoralising influences of a dissolute court were faithfully reflected in court architecture. Applied to the virile and intensely practical art and architecture of the sixteenth century it is meaningless, as Professor Lethaby himself would, I am sure, be the first to admit.
Perso-Saracenic art on its own soil was superbly great; but Persian influence brought into India from time to time by courtiers and casual craftsmen could not inspire Indian art with qualities it did not itself possess. The suggestions given to India in this way did not alter Indian art, but were turned by Indian artists and craftsmen in the direction they chose. The inspiration remained Indian always, just as Shakespeare drew his inspiration from his native heath even when he borrowed an idea from Scotland or from Italy.
The mosque and tomb of Rânî Sîparî are among the most elegant of the Ahmadâbâd buildings of this period; the date of their completion, according to an inscription over the central mihrâb of the mosque, was 1514—three years after the death of Sultan Mahmûd Shah Begarah. They were built by one of his queens in memory of her son, Abu Khan, the heir-apparent, who was put to death by the Sultan’s order for misbehaviour. “He had got into someone’s house, who found him there and thrashed him.” The report of the prince’s disgrace reached the Sultan’s ear, who ordered that poison should be put in his wine.5Apparently it was not until after the Sultan’s death that the unhappy mother was allowed to consecrate her grief for the loss of her son by building the mosque and tomb.
The mosque is of small size, the lîwân measuring only 48 feet by 19,1-2. feet, but it is interesting architecturally as being one of the later Gujerat mosques which dispense with arched construction entirely, and revert to the pure Hindu tradition of building. In this respect it is a contrast to the contemporary mosque of Siddi Sayyid just described. Dr. Burgess has observed that, the tomb and mosque being planned and built together, they show the proper co-ordination of the structural arrangements of the two buildings according to the Indian tradition; that is, the spacing between the pillars of the tomb and its outer screen-wall are controlled by the arrangement of the pillars of the mosque. The mosque is praised by Fergusson as being “the most exquisite gem of Ahmadâbâd, both in plan and detail.” He admired particularly the minarets, as being more beautiful than those of Muhafîz Khan’s mosque, and as “surpassing in beauty of outline and richness of detail those of Cairo.” For such comparison it would be wiser to take the minarets of the two Champanîr mosques, which in structural design are much better. The minarets of Rânî Sîparî’s mosque are structurally the least satisfactory part of the building, the excessive thinness of the upper part giving them an unpleasant appearance of instability—a grave architectural error. The mosque is very skilfully planned, and the detail deserves all Fergusson’s commendation; but on the whole the architectural ensemble of the tomb is better than that of the mosque.
Mosques, tombs, and palaces are by no means the only architectural monuments of the sixteenth century in India. Domestic architecture would demand a separate volume; the Muhammadan sovereigns of the time rivalled the fame of their Hindu predecessors for military works and for magnificent irrigation works, bathing-places, and public wells, with spacious subterranean chambers which provided a cool retreat in the hot season.
Gujerat is specially famous for its public wells, many of them being built at the expense of pious Hindus and dedicated to the public service. One of the finest is that known as Dâdâ Harir’s Wâv, at Asârwâ, near Ahmadâbâd, which, according to a Sanskrit inscription placed in one of the galleries, was constructed in the first year of the sixteenth century by Bâi Srî Harîra, one of the ladies of the Mahmûd Shah Begarah’s court. It is designed strictly on the lines of the older Hindu step-wells, which supplied water both for irrigation and for domestic use. It was originally surrounded by a public orchard, irrigated from the well by the help of bullocks. The well supplied a reservoir connected with it, from which waterpots for drinking and domestic purposes can be filled. A fine domed pavilion covers the approach to the shaft of the reservoir, the descent to which is made by flights of steps, 18,1-2. feet in width, connected with a series of pillared platforms, the roofs of which serve to strengthen the stone-faced sides of the excavation. The central shaft of the reservoir, which is 24 feet square, has two spiral staircases on the sides of it, to make access easier. Here there are four tiers of pillared galleries supporting the sides of the shaft, and providing cool restingplaces for the people using the well. The water, says Dr. Burgess, is usually high up in the third gallery, the fourth being always submerged. “After the third gallery is reached and the depth exceeds 30 feet, the side walls require more support, and the builders, well aware of this, divided the next opening, over the stair leading down from the third gallery, into two, by lintels 4 feet broad in each storey, supported by two pairs of coupled shafts; and again, after another roof of about 19 feet in length, standing on eight pillars, a second shaft follows, similarly divided by lintels in each storey. By this structural arrangement the side thrusts of the walls were effectively met and overcome.”6
The plan and sections drawn by Mr. Cousens (Pll. LX-LXI) will give some idea of the fine design of these pillared platforms and galleries, as truly “classic” in feeling as the palaces of the Medici at Florence. The loving labour and skill lavished on the decoration of the parapet walls of the central galleries, only lacking the human interest of the best Hindu architectural sculpture, can be seen in the illustration (Plate LXII). One can easily realise that the builders of this well built it in exactly the same spirit as they built the noble transept of the Champanîr mosque. To the Indian craftsman the construction of a well was as much a religious work as the building of a mosque or temple. What a treasure-house of fine culture for the people who come daily to draw water from this well! What profanity and impertinence for Europeans to transport their modern secular vulgarity to India, under the pretence of teaching principles of design to a school of craftsmanship inheriting such traditions!
In a work of this kind, covering so wide a field, I cannot attempt to give any idea of the extraordinary fertility of invention of Indian builders, both Hindu and Musulmân, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. So far from following a strict architectural formulary, indigenous or foreign, it would seem as if the builders of every mosque and tomb were inspired by the ambition to use the old traditions for creating something new. The results were not, as might be expected, equally successful in every case; but the new stimulus to creative effort led up to some of the noblest achievements in Indian architecture. It was just this relaxation of pedantic rules, allowing free play to the Indian craftsman’s inventive genius, which accounts for the imaginative richness of Muhammadan architecture in India, shown not only in the creation within a few centuries of so many different local schools of architecture, but in the variety of types in each local style.
Until the seventeenth century there was no official architectural formulary, like our modern dilettante “style,” imposed upon the Indian builders by the Muhammadan courts; except, perhaps, in the reigns of Bâbar and Humâyûn, which were too brief and stormy to make any permanent impression upon the Indian craft tradition. Herein lies the whole secret of the great architectural achievements of the Muhammadan period. The spirit of Islâm was not in itself a great creative force in art, but it served practically to stir up the intellectual waters in India by giving to Indian craftsmen the finest creative opportunities.
It is important to bear in mind that though Gujerat in the fifteenth and early part of the sixteenth centuries was, owing to the ferment of the new structural ideas, the most important creative centre in India, it was architecturally only a province of Rajputana, and for a complete sketch of the history of the period it would be necessary to review all the magnificent buildings erected at Chitor and elsewhere by the great champion of Hinduism, Kumbha Rânâ of Mewar (1418-68), and other Rajput chiefs, who resisted all the assaults of Islâm in that part of India until the middle of the sixteenth century, when they became Akbar’s staunchest and most powerful allies. But even if the material for such a review were available, it would not throw more light upon the development of Indian architecture at this period than is given by the Hindu buildings of an earlier date illustrated in this volume, which were the original types from which both Hindu and Musulmân in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries derived most of their structural and decorative ideas.
The temple of Ranpur, built by Kumbha Râna, which was the prototype of many of the Gujerat mosques, has been already referred to. The most remarkable of the Râna’s buildings, however, was the splendid nine-storied tower at Chitor (Plate XXIII), raised to commemorate his victory over the Musulmâns of Mâlwâ in 1440; an almost unique monument of the genius of the Hindu master-builder, for the only one now existing comparable with it is a somewhat smaller but equally fine Tower of Victory of an earlier date, built by another Hindu rajah.7 It stands upon a basement 47 feet square; the total height is 122 feet; and the greatest width of the tower at the base is 30 feet. It is a fine example of the skill with which the Hindu craftsman, in the great creative epochs of Indian art, could combine the most extraordinary richness of decoration with a wonderful largeness of architectural conception; for though the whole surface of the tower above the basement is covered with the most elaborate sculpture, the various planes of plastic relief are most skilfully co-ordinated and kept in their right places by the bold design of the cornices, pilasters, and other details of the structural design. The sculpture generally shows the decadence of the art which began to set in after the tenth century A.D., but as architecture the tower ranks among the finest of its class anywhere.
Another remarkable Hindu building of the early sixteenth century is the palace of Mân Singh of Gwalior (1486-1518)—a contemporary of Mahmûd Shah Begarah of Gujerat—though, unfortunately, it is one of those which has suffered most from subsequent maltreatment. It was added to by his successor, Vikrama Shâhi, in 1518, and both Jahângîr and Shah Jahân in the seventeenth century built palaces for themselves there. Pll. LXIII-LXV show part of the façade and two of the most interesting parts of the interior of Mân Singh’s palace. Fergusson’s comments on this building betray his characteristic error in dealing with the history of the Muhammadan period. “Among the apartments of the palace was one called the Baradari, supported on twelve columns, and 45 feet square, with a stone roof, which was one of the most beautiful apartments of its class anywhere to be found. It was, besides, singularly interesting from the expedients to which the Hindu architect was forced to resort to imitate the vaults of the Moslims. They had not then learned to copy them, as they did at the end of that century, at Brindâban and elsewhere, under the guidance of the tolerant Akbar.”8
The reader will have already understood that from the time they entered India nearly all Muhammadan rulers, with the exception of Aurangzîb, were the patrons of Hindu masterbuilders, for the very practical reason that they had no better ones to employ. The knowledge gained by the Indian builder in the service of his Musulmân employer was not due to the guidance of Akbar or any other of his patrons, but to the exercise of his own intelligence.
- 1. Briggs’s translation, vol. iv. p. 14.
- 2. Dr. Burgess, “Archæological Survey of Western India,” vol. vi. p. 39.
- 3. The illustration does not do justice to the beauty of the façade on account of the trees which obstruct the full view of it. A better impression of the whole design will be obtained from the illustration of the Nagîna Masjid (Plate LII).
- 4. “Archæological Survey of Western India,” vol. vii. p. 41.
- 5. Bayley’s “Gujerat,” p. 239.
- 6. “Archæological Survey of Western India,” vol. viii. p. 5.
- 7. See Fergusson, vol. ii. plate 295 (edit. 1910).
- 8. Vol. ii. p. 176 (edit. 1910).