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3.1 Secular Buildings

The surviving examples of secular buildings in the Mughal period are more in number than those of the Sultanate period but still not sufficient to give a graphic picture or to make a proper evaluation of their architecture. A number of forts are known to exist, but all with scanty remains. The forts according to their purpose are generally divided into several categories such as palace fortresses, river forts and border outposts, and their architecture, because of this distinction, has also been made different. Palace fortresses were built for living purposes and administrative head quarters in the capitals, while the others mainly for internal and external security and occasionally also for administrative necessities. The protection of the palace fortresses was therefore of utmost necessity, and hence they were built on the bend of rivers and in double protective walls. The rivers met chiefly threefold necessities: protection of the city, the supply of water and bringing the necessities especially victuals through a cheaper means of communication. The rivers also acted as a medium of internal and external trade. Beside protection the fortress walls acted also as a symbol of majesty and power shown through the erection of high gateways meant for jhoroka (appearance before the public) and the heralding of the rulers coming in and going out. The gateways by themselves were great architectural pieces with all the characters of Mughal building art. The palaces within the forts had an important architectural adjunct in hammams recognised as a manifestation of civilized life. The decoration of the hammams with tiles and as is known from the main examples in the Mughal capitals in Northern India with glass pieces and jewellery stones speak of an architecture at once beautiful and luxurious, unparallel in medieval history. The river forts and outposts were on the other hand mostly of utilitarian character and were mostly built in a single enclosing brick-wall occasionally also in mud with the inner space vacant for soldiers’ tents with minimum accessories. The Mughal character was noticeable only in their gateways. It is likely that these gateways like those of the palace fortresses were also used for ceremonial purposes. The katras were centres of commercial activities and show a no less

[[ Other sections:  || Archaeology|| Architecture||  Arts and Crafts||  Cultural history||  || Folklore||  || Indigenous||  || Language & Literature||  || Living traditions||  || State & Culture  ]]