What Is Indo Saracenic Architecture

What is Indo Saracenic Architecture

Indo Saracenic architecture is a style of architecture that appeared in India around the 19th century. This style is also known as “Indo-Saracenic Revival”, or “Neo-Mughal”, and is characterized by blends of Hindu, Persian, and Islamic architectural styles. Although this style has been present in India since the late 18th century, the Neo-Mughal style rose to prominence during the British Raj in India.

The Indo Saracenic style features grand domes, cupolas, slender spires and minarets, and decorated arches. This style has also been characterized by large symmetrical domes, decorated arches and vaults, and courtyards with inlaid tiles.

The origins of this style are complex. P. Synnott, an authority on the subject explains that “there was an inherent logic in combining the existing Indo-Islamic styles to form something new, more typically Indian, more uniform and more coherent”. Examples of this style are seen in monuments such as the Ajmer Sharif Dargah in Rajasthan, the Sri / Shiva Temple in Madras, and the Taj Mahal in Agra.

The architects and builders of this style were highly skilled engineers and designers, who were able to combine the elements of different Indian architectural styles. They used a wide variety of materials, such as concrete, brick, sandstone, and marble, to create new structures. This style also featured decorative elements such as paintings and sculptures.

The style was influenced by a variety of other styles, such as Gothic, Mughal, Rajput and Maratha. Many buildings featured in this style were designed to serve a variety of uses, and functioned as palaces, mosques, mausoleums, madrasas, and hospitals.

Indo Saracenic architecture has been influential in the design of modern buildings in India. Examples of this style can be seen in buildings such as Mumbai’s Gateway of India, New Delhi’s India Gate, and Hyderabad’s Charminar. The style is also still popular among private residences and has been seen in many Bollywood films.

Mughal Influences

The Indo Saracenic style was largely influenced by Mughal architecture, which had become prominent in India during the Mughal empire from 1526 to 1857. Mughal architecture is characterized by the use of large domes, decorative arches, and courtyards. It was also characterized by its use of bright colors and complex ornaments.

The Mughal influence on the Indo Saracenic style is evident in the Taj Mahal, which was built in the 17th century. The Taj Mahal is regarded as the best example of Mughal architecture, and its white marble domes and marble inlaid ornamentation are all derived from Mughal architecture.

The Indo Saracenic style also incorporates other regional styles, such as Rajput architecture, which is also known for its use of Muslim and Hindu elements. Rajput architecture features grand entrance gateways, large courtyards, and imposing masonry work.

The Indo Saracenic style was further influenced by Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist architecture, which were common in North India. Bengali architecture is an example of this, and features the use of arched entrances and large domed structures.

Modern Examples

Modern structures that feature the Indo Saracenic style are mainly large public monuments and buildings. Examples of this type of architecture include the Gateway of India in Mumbai, the India Gate in Delhi, and the Rashtrapati Bhavan palace in Delhi.

The Gateway of India was completed in 1924 and is situated on the waterfront in Mumbai’s Colaba area. Its four turrets and three floral-shaped domes are derived from the Indo Saracenic style. The Gateway of India is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India.

The India Gate is another example of the Indo Saracenic style. It was built in 1931 to commemorate the Indian soldiers who were killed in World War I. The India Gate is also home to many government offices and a number of monuments.

The Rashtrapati Bhavan palace was completed in 1929 and features a blend of Hindu, Islamic and European architectural styles. It is the official residence of the President of India, and features a grand entrance gate, domed entryways, and a large courtyard.

Influence on Art and Culture

The Indo Saracenic style has influenced Indian art and culture, and is often seen in Bollywood films. The style is also seen in modern paintings and photographs, and in interior design. The style has been widely adopted in India, and is seen in many private residences.

The style has also been influenced by modern culture, with renovations to old structures using elements of the style. The Charminar in Hyderabad has been renovated, and now features a modern blend of Islamic and Indo Saracenic architecture.

Moreover, the style is present in everyday life in India and is evident in the design of temples, mosques, mausoleums, and monuments. The small, intricate details like domes, turrets, and decorated doorways can be seen in many Indian cities.


The Indo Saracenic style has had a significant influence on modern Indian architecture and culture. The style has been used to create large public monuments and buildings, and has also been influential in the design of private residences. The style is also evident in modern art and film, and reflects the importance of blending Indian architectural styles to create something new.

The style has been influential in modern India, as seen in renovations and new constructions that incorporate elements of the style. This unique style is also highly revered and has established a prominent legacy in modern India.

Use in Architecture

The Indo Saracenic style of architecture has become increasingly popular in the world of architecture. This style is often used in the construction of large public monuments and buildings, such as the Gateway of India and the India Gate. The style is also used in private residences and in film sets.

Architects who specialize in this style have to be highly skilled and creative. They need to be able to blend multiple architectural styles to create something new, while still maintaining the integrity of the design. Architects also need to be familiar with the materials used in this style and be able to create intricate details with precision.

The style has been adopted by many architects in India and is often used to create large public buildings, such as banks, universities, and government offices. It is also used in private residences, reflecting the popularity of the style.


Indo Saracenic architecture emerged in India in the 18th century and has since become one of the most iconic styles of architecture in the region. This style is characterized by grand domes, decorative arches, and elaborate ornamentation. It is influenced by a number of architectural styles, including Mughal, Rajput and Bengali.

The style has been influential in modern India, and can be seen in many buildings, monuments, and private residences. It has also had an influence on art, film, and culture in India. The style is popular among architects and has established a legacy in modern India.

Anita Johnson is an award-winning author and editor with over 15 years of experience in the fields of architecture, design, and urbanism. She has contributed articles and reviews to a variety of print and online publications on topics related to culture, art, architecture, and design from the late 19th century to the present day. Johnson's deep interest in these topics has informed both her writing and curatorial practice as she seeks to connect readers to the built environment around them.

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