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Catherine Asher Mughal Architecture Pdf Download

Catherine Asher Mughal Architecture Pdf Download

If you are interested in learning more about the architectural achievements of the Mughal Empire, one of the best sources you can find is the book Architecture of Mughal India by Catherine B. Asher, a professor of art history at the University of Minnesota. This book is the first comprehensive study of Mughal architecture, covering the period from the 16th to the 19th century, and exploring the influences, innovations, and legacies of this remarkable civilization.

In this article, we will give you a brief overview of the book and its contents, as well as some information on how you can download a PDF version of it for free.

Catherine Asher Mughal Architecture Pdf Download

Overview of the Book

The book is part of the series The New Cambridge History of India, which aims to provide authoritative and up-to-date surveys of the history and culture of India and its regions. The book is divided into seven chapters, each focusing on a different aspect or period of Mughal architecture. The chapters are as follows:

  • Precedents for Mughal Architecture: This chapter examines the historical and cultural background of the Mughals, who were descendants of the Mongols and Turks, and their predecessors in India, such as the Delhi Sultanate and the Timurids. It also discusses the main features and styles of Islamic architecture in India and Central Asia before the arrival of the Mughals.

  • The Beginnings of Mughal Architecture: This chapter covers the reigns of Babur (1526-1530) and Humayun (1530-1540; 1555-1556), the first two Mughal emperors, who established their empire in northern India after defeating the Delhi Sultanate. It analyzes their architectural patronage and achievements, such as Babur's gardens and Humayun's tomb, which set the foundations for later Mughal architecture.

  • The Age of Akbar: This chapter focuses on the reign of Akbar (1556-1605), who is widely regarded as the greatest Mughal emperor. It explores his political, religious, and cultural policies, which fostered a remarkable synthesis of diverse traditions and innovations. It also examines his architectural projects, such as Fatehpur Sikri, his new capital city, which exemplified his vision of a universal empire.

  • Jahangir: An Age of Transition: This chapter deals with the reign of Jahangir (1605-1627), who succeeded Akbar as the emperor. It describes his personal tastes and preferences, which influenced his architectural patronage and style. It also studies his buildings and monuments, such as his mausoleum in Lahore and his gardens in Kashmir, which reflected his love for nature and art.

  • Shah Jahan and the Crystallization of Mughal Style: This chapter concentrates on the reign of Shah Jahan (1628-1658), who is famous for building the Taj Mahal, one of the most iconic monuments in the world. It investigates his political and religious agenda, which aimed to restore the glory and orthodoxy of Islam. It also analyzes his architectural works, such as his forts, mosques, palaces, and tombs, which displayed a refined and elegant style that reached its peak under his rule.

  • Aurangzeb and the Islamization of the Mughal Style: This chapter discusses the reign of Aurangzeb (1658-1707), who was the last powerful Mughal emperor. It outlines his conservative and puritanical policies, which led to a decline in artistic patronage and innovation. It also evaluates his architectural contributions, such as his mosque in Delhi and his tomb in Aurangabad, which showed a more austere and simple style that contrasted with his predecessors.

  • Architecture and the Struggle for Authority under the Later Mughals and their Successor States: This chapter covers the period from the 18th to the 19th century, when the Mughal Empire disintegrated into various regional states. It examines how these states adopted or adapted Mughal architectural forms and motifs to express their own identities and aspirations. It also looks at how British colonialism affected Mughal architecture and its legacy.

The book also includes bibliographical essays, which provide further sources and references for each chapter, and an index, which helps the reader to locate specific topics and terms. The book is lavishly illustrated with over 200 photographs, drawings, maps, and plans, which enhance the visual understanding of the architectural examples and concepts.

How to Download the PDF

If you want to download a PDF version of the book for free, you have several options. One of them is to use the website of Cambridge University Press, the publisher of the book. You can access the book's page [here], where you can find a link to download the PDF file. However, you may need to register or log in to the website to access the file.

Another option is to use the website of Internet Archive, a non-profit digital library that offers free access to millions of books, movies, music, and more. You can access the book's page [here], where you can find a link to download the PDF file. You do not need to register or log in to the website to access the file.

A third option is to use the website of Google Books, a service that allows you to search and preview millions of books online. You can access the book's page [here], where you can find a link to download the PDF file. However, you may not be able to download the entire book, depending on the publisher's permissions and your location.


In conclusion, Architecture of Mughal India by Catherine B. Asher is an excellent book that provides a comprehensive and authoritative overview of Mughal architecture, one of the most impressive and influential architectural traditions in history. The book is well-written, well-researched, and well-illustrated, and it is suitable for students and scholars of art history, architecture, and South Asian studies. If you want to download a PDF version of the book for free, you can use one of the websites mentioned above.

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