Like the preceding volume, on the Muhammadan architecture of the provincial towns of Gujarat, this deals with the Muslim buildings of the capital of that province. But, whereas the former treated largely of the remains of the fourteenth century, when the country was under governors appointed by the emperors of Dehli, the present takes account of the works of the earlier Ahmad Shahi Sultans of Gujarat, and exclusively of those erected in their capital and its suburbs from the foundation of Ahmadabad in A.D. 1412 to 1520. It has been justly remarked that, among the many varieties of the Muhammadan styles prevailing in different provinces of India, that which arose in Western India in the early part of the fifteenth century, is one of the most instructive and deserving of study, as it is also the most beautiful. It bears a markedly local impress, while the elements composing it are of even a better and higher class than are to be found in any part of Upper India or Hindustan proper.
The architecture of Ahamdabad was first satisfactorily brought to notice in Europe by the volume of 120 photographs by Colonel Biggs, prepared in 1865 and issued with historical and architectural introductions by Mr. (now Sir) Theodore C. Hope and Mr. James Fergusson, F.R.S. To that work we are indebted for the first publication of any adequate account and criticism of the beautiful remains of architecture in the capital of Gujarat. Unfortunately, at that date the inexpensive processes of permanent photographic production were unknown; the work was expensive, the print have now become faded, and the volume has for years been out of print. In planning the present work, a few months before Mr. Fergusson’s death, he agreed that I might use his valuable architectural notes in whole or in part as might seem desirable. Sir Theodore Hope, at a later date, also freely offered me the use of his introductory matter. I have consequently drawn freely on the materials in the earlier publication.
My acknowledgments are here due to Mr. Murray of Albemarle Street, who has very kindly permitted me the use of the woodcuts (Nos. 1-8, 10 and 11) required to illustrate these notes on the style and construction.
In a work of this kind the letterpress must of necessity be subordinate to the illustrations. More minute description of details and expanded criticism would have extended the volume; but the architectural student does not require these so much as accurate architectural drawings of plans and details, and is as well pleased when left to the study of the drawings and photographs themselves. It was hoped to include in one volume the Ahmadabad architecture; as the work advanced, however, it was found that the drawings were so numerous and interesting, that to reduce them to very small scales so as to crowd them into the plates of a moderately sized volume, would necessitate the entire rejection of many and deprive more of their real value to the art student. It has therefore been arranged to confine this volume to the first part of the illustration, - that of the first century of Ahmadabad work, and afterwards to publish the architecture of the sixteenth and early seventeenth century in completion of the work.
As in previous volume the drawings mostly are the work of native draftsmen, and were all made, on different occasions, under the direct personal supervision of Mr. Henry Cousens, my then assistant and photographer, or of myself. They have only been reduced by photo-lithography.
The previous volume of the Architecture of Ahmadabad took account of the principle Muhammadan buildings erected there from the foundation of the city in A.D. 1412 to about 1520. There remained, however, several structures belonging to the latter portion of that period that were excluded from want of space, and these are taken up in the present volume, whilst the series is continued down into the eighteenth century. Thus, together with volume VI of the Western India Survey Reports, which dealt with the Muhammadan architecture of the districts outside Ahmadabad, this may be regarded as completing the survey of the Gujarat style of Muslim Architecture, and the three volumes together as forming a monograph on the subject. This volume has accordingly been supplied with an index to the three.
But as the Muhammadan remains at Ahmadabad are so very numerous, it is only a selection of them that could be surveyed and delineated in any detail ; to supply some idea, however, of those that have been passed over, short descriptive accounts have been given in chapters XV and XVI of those within the city and in the suburbs respectively. These accounts or notes are based on the returns prepared for the Collector in 1886 by the Deputy-Collector, Mr. J.F. Fernandez, supplemented by personal observation and from the Lists of Remains prepared by me in 1884-5.
With this survey it was necessary to include the step-well or Wav of Bai Harir, constructed under Muhammadan supervision, but entirely Hindu in execution, and with it both the adjoining early Hindu well of Mata Bhavani, and the sister well to Bai Harir’s at Adalaj; and with these the modern. Jaina temple of Seth Hathisingh together with a slight notice of the other temples in the city belonging to the Sravak sect. Further,- surveys were also made in the surrounding districts- at Viramgam, Mandal. Kapadvanj, and Sarnal- of remains, both Muhammadan and Hindu, and some account of these has been added so as to include the whole of the materials collected.
The drawings, as in previous volumes, were mostly prepared under the supervision of Mr. Henry Cousens, to whom was largely entrusted the details of the survey after 1886; and to him are also due nearly all the photographs used. In such a publication the illustrations are a most important feature of the work; and whether in plans or decorative details, these represent with architectural accuracy the monuments described in the text.
The ornamental details are so beautiful and interesting that it may be regretted that several of them are not reproduced to larger scales; but financial considerations interposed in this, in the arrangement of some of the details, and in the reproducing of more of the illustrative photographs made for the survey.
In the preparation of the text I have received valuable assistance from Rev. Geo. P. Taylor of Ahmadabad, and through him from the late Musa Miyan , the representative of the descendants of Shah ‘Alam, and from Sayyid Fakrud- din Abubakr al Edrus, Huzur Deputy Collector: to these my special thanks are due.
This volume completes, I believe, my work for the Government of India.
Edinburgh, February 1905.
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