Functional Features of Mughal Architecture

High rise buildings & fancy designing, architecture these days are all about using the technology, the right way, to create some unique master pieces. With the increasing population and demand for land, each inch of the land is utilized to its core to get the most of it. Small rooms and smartly build homes are what we have always witnessed and hence a visit to a historic palace often made me amaze by its huge size and stunning design. Little did I know that our ancestors were way smarter that what we think they were. For what I considered to be just a beautification feature, had a deep meaning and purpose. So, here I am, sharing a few of my favorite features of Mughal Architecture.

Water Channels

Nine fountains at Mughal-era tomb of Safdarjung spring up to former glory |  Hindustan Times
Image:- Google

Mughal architecture is more than just it’s beauty, which we definitely do not miss. It is also about their functionalities, where some little features served a great purpose. Just like their water channels and Fountains. Now, for us, these might just be a feature of beatification, it served a great purpose of cooling the temperature during summers. The Devan-e-khaas or the king’s courtyard & chambers were often planed in a manner where air flowed in passing through these water channels and fountains, thus being cooler than before. With no other major source of keeping the palace cool (except a few like the basement chambers), these water channels and fountains served a great purpose. 


Details of the arch on the exterior of Humayun's Tomb, Delhi - Humayun's  Tomb - Wikipedia | Mughal architecture, Humayun's tomb, Tomb
Image:- Pinterest

Once you enter any palace or fort, the first thing you spot is the giant gateway. While I always thought them to be a factor of beauty, I lately understood the importance of it in the Mughal era. These gateways were heavily guarded in those times to provide utmost safety to the kind and the family. Small balconies built around were smartly design to cover every corner of the entrance in case of a war situation or even otherwise.

The Parking Lot

Have you ever wondered how the queens must have climbed the elephant with all their extravagant outfits and jewelry (and even otherwise)? Wouldn’t they have equally fumbled just like we do these days while trying our hands on an elephant ride? Well, the answer is no. It apparently wasn’t that difficult for them, for they had a customed parking lot for elephants. 

Have you ever seen a structure like this in a fort or palace? This little masterpiece is the place where the elephants were parked so that the queen could easily climb up with the help of the height offered by the platform. Weren’t the ancient architects smarter than we thought they were. 

Optical Illusion

The Taj Mahal is wasting away, and it may soon hit the point of no return
Image:- Google

The architects and craftsmen of the Mughal era were masters of their work and experts in creating illusion. One such example is the ever-beautiful TAJ MAHAL. The monument is created in a manner where it appears to be bigger and closer from a distance and shrinks in size while moving closer to it; exactly the opposite of what is expected. This not only gives the monument larger than life look but also makes it look magical and powerful, just as the king wanted it to be. Another hidden secret are the minarets that the tomb is surrounded by. All the 4 minarets, though looks perfectly upright, are actually leaning towards the outer of the monument to protect it from minarets crumbling on it in case of a disaster like earthquake. Genius, wouldn’t you say?

While the Mughals definitely knew the art of architecture really well, there still might be a few of their functional features that aren’t really understood by us correctly. Well! We’ll keep on hunting & exploring them.