Notes of Ch 5 Rulers and Buildings Class 7th History

• Between the eighth and the eighteenth centuries kings and their officers built two kinds of structures:
→ The first were forts, palaces, garden residences and tombs – safe, protected and grandiose places of rest in this world and the next
→ The second were structures meant for public activity including temples, mosques, tanks, wells, caravanserais and bazaars.

Engineering Skills and Construction

• Between the seventh and tenth centuries architects started adding more rooms, doors and windows to buildings.

• Two technological and stylistic developments are noticeable from the twelfth century:
→ The weight of the superstructure above the doors and windows was sometimes carried by arches. This architectural form was called “arcuate”.
→ Limestone cement was increasingly used in construction.

Building Temples, Mosques and Tanks

• Temples and mosques were beautifully constructed because they were places of worship.

• They were also meant to demonstrate the power, wealth and devotion of the patron.

• The king took the god’s name because it was auspicious and he wanted to appear like a god.

• Persian court chronicles described the Sultan as the “Shadow of God”.

• Making precious water available by constructing tanks and reservoirs was highly praised.
→ Rulers often constructed tanks and reservoirs for use by ordinary people.

Why were Temples Targeted?

• Because kings built temples to demonstrate their devotion to God and their power and wealth.

• In the political culture of the Middle Ages most rulers displayed their political might and military success by attacking and looting the places of worship of defeated rulers.

Gardens, Tombs and Forts

• Under the Mughals, architecture became more complex.

• Babur described his interest in planning and laying out formal gardens placed within rectangular walled enclosures and divided into four quarters by artificial channels. These were called chahar bagh.

• Some of the most beautiful chahar baghs were constructed by Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan in Kashmir, Agra and Delhi

• Akbar’s architects turned to the tombs of his Central Asian ancestor, Timur.

• During Shah Jahan’s reign different elements of Mughal architecture were fused together in a grand harmonious synthesis.
→ His reign witnessed a huge amount of construction activity especially in Agra and Delhi.

• The connection between royal justice and the imperial court was emphasised by Shah Jahan in his newly constructed court in the Red Fort at Delhi. 

• Shah Jahan adapted the river-front garden in the layout of the Taj Mahal

Region and Empire

• Between the eighth and eighteenth centuries there was also a considerable sharing of ideas across regions, the traditions of one region were adopted by another.

• The creation of large empires brought different regions under their rule helped in this cross fertilisation of artistic forms and architectural styles.

• Even after the decline of Mughal empire in the eighteenth century, the architectural styles developed under their patronage were constantly used and adapted by other rulers.

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