Iqbal Ahmad

Mughal art and architecture

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So far as the Mughal period in Kashmir is concerned, most of the historians believe that the era has been significant in more than one way and the architecture as well as art flourished here. Mughal emperors not only promoted a composite culture in the region, but also restored the traditional arts and cultural of the region. Kashmir was beautified with their superb constructions and magnificent gardens. Mughals invaded Kashmir during the time of Sultan Yousuf Shah Chak and conquered it very easily. No doubt the invasion was an attack on integrity and sovereignty of Kashmir, but it was to give birth to a new era in Kashmir history. The chaos and confusion which prevailed during the last years of Chek rule was to large extent controlled by incoming Mughal rulers. Besides, Mughals introduced their own distinctive art and architecture forms and styles and also revived the olden artistic traditions that had been forgotten here.

Mughals built mosques, tombs, bridges and inns. But the most outstanding contribution of Mughals was the introduction of Garden construction and preserving of the water resources of Kashmir. Perhaps they were the first people who preserved the Kashmiri springs and decorated them with lovely gardens around. They restored the Spring of Verinag which still continues to serve as a major source to our river Veth (Jehleum). They introduced their own currency and struck their coins in Gold, silver and copper. They introduced the art of calligraphy for writing of there wonderful inscriptions and manuscripts and also revived the other Kashmiri arts and crafts and promoted the Kani-shawl industry of this land.

The history and architecture of the Mughal period stands already explored and well documented but the Mughal route which paved way for the Mughal emperors to annex Kashmir has not been explored to its fullest. The inscriptions, coins and inns found have still not been properly identified and documented.

Kashmir has almost seen all the aspects of the Mughal history and archaeology where in special emphasis has been given to the historic Mughal route which not only provided a way to the Mughal caravans but also happened to be the first common route of Kashmir.  The history of Mughal period is always repeated in order to put the events in systematic order; as such the already known facts are reproduced to understand the Mughal archaeology and heritage of the Mughal route in its proper context.

Although much has been written and said about Mughals in Kashmir but still the Mughal architecture, Inscriptions and their coinage are not fully explored. The people, particularly the researchers, and students  of the history and art history require to do more and more researches of this period so that the significant portion of our history is documented prosperity.

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