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List of Important Monuments of the Medieval Period in India

Last Updated : 16 Feb, 2023
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The Medieval period of India is marked as a post-classical era and is mostly between the 8th-18th centuries. Different developments in the field of religion, technology, art, and linguistic changes took place in this era. A few important monuments of the medieval period are listed below:

  • Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple, Tamil Nadu
  • Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh
  • Charminar, Telangana
  • Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi
  • Victoria Memorial, West Bengal
  • Bom Jesus Basilica, Goa
  • Taj Mahal, Agra
  • Sun Temple, Odisha
  • Qutub Minar, New Delhi
  • Fatehpur Sikri
  • Golgumbaz, Karnataka
  • Red Fort
  • Jama Masjid
  • Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque 
  • Alai Darwaza 
  • Iron Pillar
  • Hawa Mahal
Medieval Monuments

Medieval Monuments


Architecture is perhaps India’s greatest artistic glory. Indian architecture has a long and rich history dating back thousands of years. It encompasses the architectural traditions of the Indian subcontinent, including present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The oldest Indian buildings were made of wood, then of brick. Few examples of such ancient structures, especially wooden structures, have survived India’s harsh climate. Stone architecture appeared on the subcontinent around the 6th century BC. Indian architects soon became skilled at carving and building stone buildings. By the 7th century AD, the use of stone for important buildings of large size had become commonplace. India has many medieval stone temples.

The sculpture seems to have been the preferred form of artistic expression, and Indian architecture and sculpture were closely related. Rock and cave architecture – temples and other structures carved into cliffs – are often little more than gigantic-scale sculptures. The free-standing stone buildings are also richly decorated with carvings. The sculpture is often closely associated with architecture. The best-surviving examples of Indian architecture before about 1200 AD are religious buildings. They mainly consist of Buddhist shrines or stupas and Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain temples.

Further, India saw many changes during and after the Arab Conquest of Sindh. This finally ended when Islamic rulers conquered and started ruling India. This history of India from this point in time is termed medieval history. This era saw many changes such as land reforms, administrative reforms, and tax reforms, and the monuments and the style of architecture in India also changed completely. As India was now ruled by Islamic rulers, the monuments saw a touch of Persian architecture and it led to the development of Indo-Persian architecture or Indo-Islamic architecture. Different rulers introduced various features in the monuments which became quite popular in that era. Thus an era of fusion architecture began in India. Let us have a look at the different architectural techniques used in the period of different rulers.

Indo-Islamic Architecture

Indo-Islamic Architecture saw the use of arches and domes called ‘gumbads’ which resembled the shape of a hemisphere. Mosques and monuments such as the Taj Mahal and Jama Masjid featured minarets around the four corners of the monument. Mortar was used as a cementing agent. No sculptures were carved on the walls of the monuments but the inscriptions became popular. Excerpts from religious texts were inscribed on the walls. The monuments became increasingly large in size and the space inside the monuments also increased.

Jaali and Jharokha’s work also started in the monuments of the medieval period. Various fountains were made on the premises for natural cooling and beauty. ‘Charbagh’ method which has been used in Humayun’s Tomb was also widely used.

Importance of Medieval architecture

Medieval architecture is important due to various reasons. Some of these are:

  • It provides an insight into the type of materials that were widely used at that time for construction.
  • It depicts the engineering skills of the artisans and workers who were engaged in the construction of the monuments.
  • It also provides us with a look into different cultures as the medieval monuments were a mix of various styles of architecture.
  • The inscriptions and sculptures on the monuments also provide us with various details of medieval India and its rulers such as the economy, extent of the empire, languages used at that time, currency, and the religious beliefs of people.
  • The monuments of medieval India also depict the social, traditional, and political influences that affected the construction of these monuments.
  • The monuments such as forts depict the army strength of the rulers and the techniques used for wars as well as safeguard the fort and the city from the attackers. It also tells what sort of weapons may have been used at that time.

India’s heritage and rich cultural diversity are evident in its monuments. They are scattered throughout the country, both north and south. Historic buildings serve as true pillars of extraordinary artistic talent. Besides famous monuments, the country is rich in civilizations, cultural heritage, royal palaces, and sanctuaries. Here is a list of some medieval monuments in India.

Five Monuments of the Medieval Period

Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh

  • Sanchi Stupa is located in Madhya Pradesh and was built by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka in the 3rd Century BC.
  • The stupa houses the ashes of Lord Gautam Buddha and is one of the main shrines of Buddhism.
  • Various statues of Buddha are a source of attraction in this monument which are placed at the entrances of the stupa. These sculptures show scenes from Jataka tales and Buddha’s life. They were added to the stupa in approximately the 5th century AD.

Charminar, Telangana

  • This beautiful monument is located in the city of Hyderabad in Telangana. 
  • The literal meaning of the name Charminar is “four minars”.
  • This monument was built during the Medieval Period in 1591 by Muhammad Qutb Shah, the fifth king of the Qutb Shahi Dynasty. It was built to commemorate the end of the plague pandemic.
  • It was designed by Mir Momin Astarabadi, an Iranian architect who settled in Hyderabad.

Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi

  • This tomb was built in Delhi and is said to be the first garden-tomb in the Indian subcontinent.
  • Built by Bega Begum, also known as Haji Begum, it is an example of a Charbagh, or garden with four quadrants.
  • The construction of the tomb started in 1565 and was completed in 1572. 
  • The monument is an octagon with 4 long sides and 4 diagonal lines.
  • Crafted from red sandstone face stone with white and black marble, it has around 150 Mughals are buried in this tomb, so it is known as the “Mughal Dormitory”.

Victoria Memorial, West Bengal

  • It is located in Calcutta (Kolkata) and was made by Lord Curzon in memory of Queen Victoria.
  • The foundation stone of this monument was laid down by King George V, the then Prince of Wales, on January 4, 1906, and it was formally opened to the public in 1921.
  • The architecture building was designed by William Emerson, the then President of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
  • This monument is made up of Makrana Marble and is based on the Indo-saracenic style of architecture with a mix of influences from Egyptian, Venetian, Deccan, and Islamic elements.

Taj Mahal, Agra

  • Considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World, this beautiful monument is located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, which was also the capital of the Mughal Empire.
  • Considered a symbol of love, it was built by Mughal emperor Shahjahan in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal to fulfill one of the 4 promises made by him to his wife. Unfortunately, Mumtaz Mahal died before the completion of the construction of the Taj Mahal.
  • Its construction was done in the year 1631 on the banks of the Yamuna river on a large sandstone base.
  • The Taj Mahal is built using white Makrana marble from Rajasthan. Precious gems and stones have also been used in the construction of the Taj Mahal such as Lapis Lazuli from Afghanistan.

FAQs on Medieval Monuments

Question 1: Who built Victoria Memorial?


Victoria Memorial was made by Lord Curzon in the memory of Queen Victoria.

Question 2: Which religion is Sanchi Stupa related to?


Sanchi Stupa is associated with Buddhism.

Question 3: Who built Humayun’s tomb?


Humayun’s tomb was built by Bega Begum, also known as Haji Begum.

Question 4: Name two major types of temple architecture.


Dravida and Nagara are two major types of temple architecture. 

Question 5:Which monument of India is included in the seven wonders of the world? 


Taj Mahal in Agra has been included in the Seven Wonders of the World. 

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