a Paradigm for Indo-Islamic Urban Planning and its Architectural Components


Mehrdad Shokoohy & Natalie H. Shokoohy


London, publication date December 2007


pp. 272; 330 illustrations including maps, survey drawings and monochrome photographs, appendices, bibliography, index


ISBN: 978-1-870606-10-3 Hardback


PRICE: 38.00 plus p&p     US$52.00 plus p&p


"The imposing ruins of the great city of Tughluqabad survive to this day as the earliest and most substantial evidence of urban planning and architecture from the period of the Delhi sultanate. The importance of this site is hard to overestimate since it came to influence almost all subsequent Islamic architectural practice in India. Tughluqabad served as a prototype for urban planning and architectural engineering. Until recently, however, scholars of Indian sultanate architecture have been hampered by the lack of an accurate description of Tughluqabad and its remains, much of which are now reduced to overgrown rubble, except for the imposing ramparts with which the city is surrounded.

The well known Shokoohy husband and wife team have once again demonstrated their expertise for architectural survey and follow-up analytical interpretation, underscored by meticulous historical research based on relevant Arabic and Persian sources. Their volume is brimming with meticulous descriptions and well presented visual materials that should prove a fruitful resource for students and scholars in the years to come.

A more exhaustive treatment of Tughluqabad could hardly be imagined. It can only be hoped that this volume will serve as a model

                                                                                 for comparable, painstaking explorations at other sultanate sites in

                                                                                 India that still lack adequate documentation." 

                                                                                 George Michell, review, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and

                                                                                 African Studies, University of London, Vol. 72 Part 1, 2009

town_planAs an early fourteenth-century capital of the Delhi Sultanate, Tughluqabad is a significant historical site of Delhi and also a prototype for many of the later towns in India. The ruins of Tughluqabad represent the advances in architectural design and engineering skills of their time, and the well-preserved town walls, street layout and other urban features provide us with the earliest example of Indo-Muslim urban planning and its architectural components: a key to understanding the morphology behind later Indian cities.


Behind the massive fortifications of Tughluqabad, south of Delhi, the ruined city is enshrined in a time-capsule. Built between 1320 and 1325 by Ghiyath al-din Tughluq, it was intended to be the new capital, but in 1325 Ghiyath al-din died under the collapsed vault of a pavilion designed by Ahmad b. Ayaz, Tughluqabads architect.  

Histories are tainted with suspicion that the accident involved a conspiracy between the architect and the sultans son and successor Muhammad b. Tughluq, who was enthroned in Tughluqabad, but left the town and built himself a new capital. Tughluqabad was abandoned in less than half a century, remaining as a unique example of early Indo-Muslim urban planning without later accretions. Through detailed study of the architectural elements the book considers the morphology of Muslim towns as opposed to the earlier Hindu designs and explores the relationship between the ruler and his subjects expressed through the urban form. 



 Digital reconstruction of the Jami` (congregational) mosque of the town



1. Preface


2. Introduction


3. The morphology of Hindu and Muslim towns: principles and practice


4. Construction of Tughluqabad


5. The fortification walls and the gates: method of layout and construction of the town


90.056. The Citadel


7. The Fort


8. The Town


9. Tughluqabad and later sultanate cities


Appendix I. The lake and its waterworks


Appendix II.   The Tomb of Ghiyth al-dn  


Appendix III. dilbd.  


List of Figures and Plates, Bibliography and Index  

                                                                                                                             View of the dried up site of the lake with a fortified island housing

                                                                                                                             the tomb of Sultan Ghiyath al-din Tughluq


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