Discuss the various factors which led to the formation of Akbar's Indo-Islamic architectural style.
Although he was illiterate, Akbar showed a profound interest in Literature and Arts. That coupled with his pride and curiosity of his Timurid ancestry and the desire to embrace India as a native country, were the beginnings of his religious and design philosophies.
In its essence, the indo Islamic style of Akbar consisted of a synthesis of earlier styles, Hindu/Jain/Buddhist and Persian/Timurid. Abu’l-Fazl ibn Mubarak, Akbar’s court chronicler, and one of his ‘Navratnas’ or nine gems of his court, describes the architects and designers as lofty minded mathematicians and says the Emperor’s style of architecture was understandable only to the scientifically oriented.
Akbar fostered a forceful architectural style on a correct understanding and assimilation of the various traditions and ideals, indigenous as well as foreign. He was a man of profound culture, with a fine literary taste, a keen intellectual curiosity and a high aesthetic discernment. During his long reign, he initiated many ambitious architectural projects, and his creations in the field bear the impress of his own remarkable personality and character. From his buildings, it is clear that he did not intend to import a ready made style from Persia or any other country. Inconformity with his policy, he wanted the style that he sought to create to have an independent and Indian character. In his buildings, this ideal of his is fully reflected. The first of the royal residences to be erected by Akbar was the fortress palace at Agra, which was completed in 8 years. In plan the fort takes the shape of an irregular semi-circle lined along the right bank of the river Yamuna.
The reign of Akbar achieved a fusion of native traditions with those of Iran in the sphere of art. The two-fold influence is revealed in the buildings at Fatehpur Sikri. It is a concrete expression of his towering personality, ambition and versatile mind. He consolidated the Mughal empire and gave all possible encouragement to the many-sided Mughal culture. Fatehpur Sikri is a document in stone that bears testimony to the catholic mind and exquisite taste of the great king.
Therefore, Akbar’s curiosity, his ancestry, his scientific insight and his desire to be a perfectionist were the leading factors of the development of Akbar’s indo Islamic style of architecture.
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