Unlike other parts of India, a unique
building style developed in Andhra Pradesh, based more on the development
of overseas ideas than the evolution and adaptation of local architectural
tradition to Islamic needs.
The links of Deccani kingdoms with Persia, Turkey and Arabia were very close and the great fortress cities of Deccan; Bidar, Bijapur, Golconda and Gulbarga were built around existing centres of Hindu culture. There is a fundamental difference between Islamic Architecture in northern India and in the Deccan, which includes the Qutb Shahi style.
Indo-Persian Architectural Style
A distinct Indo-Persian architectural style came into use in the Deccan after the establishment of the Bahmani dynasty in A.D. 1347. It was greatly influenced by the building art of Iran.
During the period under review, religious architecture outweighed secular construction, and stress was also laid on the military architecture. Series of strong forts were constructed at strategic points of the kingdom.
The earlier phase of the Bahmani style comprised both tombs and mosques. The general features of the tombs are a square structure on a plinth with sloping or battered walls, low flat domes, tall and narrow arched doorways, parapets and fluted turrets at corners.
Qutub Shahi Style:
During the Qutub Shahi period also, the Indo-Persian architecture continued, it was, however, modified by local contribution, manifested itself in colossal arches found in Charminar and Charkaman in Hyderabad .
Qutub Shahis built with massive granite walls. Granite and lime mortar are the chief ingredients of Golconda Fort, the Royal Tombs, the Charminar and the innumerable Qutub Shahi mosques. The mosques that were constructed during this period have flat roofs with vaulted ceiling and they are domical resting on the intersection of arches springing from the columns. The Bala Hisar, Baradari of Golconda and Baradari of Bhongir are examples of this type.
The architectural splendours that we see today such as Charminar, Mecca Masjid, Ibrahim Bagh and the palatial buildings like Dadmahal, Khudadmahal and Gaganmahal are considered to be the wonders of the medieval age.
Asaf Jahi Style:
The same tendency continued even in the Asaf Jahi period, and Osman Ali Khan, the Nizam VII, of the Asaf Jahis rulers, can be called as the maker of modern Hyderabad, in a variety of ways. The buildings constructed during the reign are impressive and represent a rich variety of architecture, such as the magnificent Osmania University, synthesizing the modern, the medieval and the ancient styles of architecture.
The sprawling Osmania General Hospital in the Mughal style, the lofty High Court in Indo-Saracenic style, the stately well-proportioned Legislative Assembly building in Saracenic-Rajasthani style, symbolize his desire to build modern and majestic Hyderabad. Falaknuma palace, Chow Mahalla, Purani Haveli Palace are also typical examples of the Asaf Jahi style of architecture. The engineers or the architects and craftsmen of the period have to be congratulated for their talent.
The Saracenic school of architecture also prevailed during the Qutub Shahi period and its chief characteristic features are the arch, the dome and the minaret.
Asaf Jahi rulers also experimented with European styles and attempted a synthesis of European traditions with Hindu and Islamic forms and motifs.