Architecture of Maharashtra

Maharashtra state in India is known for its caves and rock cut architecture. It is said that the varieties found in Maharashtra are wider than the caves and rock-cut architecture found in the rock cut areas of Egypt, Assyria, Persia and Greece. The Buddhist monks first started these caves in the 2nd century BC, in search of serene and peaceful environment for meditation, and they found these caves on the hillsides.[1][2]

Hindu cave temples at Ellora and Ajanta contain fine artistic design elements and India's oldest wall paintings can be seen here. Maharashtra's famous rock-cut caves have several distinct artistic elements though sculptures of the time are regarded to modern viewers as stiff and not dynamic. The Buddhist caves, particularly the older ones, are either temples (Chaityas) or monasteries (Viharas).


The oldest building in the state is Vakataka ruins in Mansar.

Rock cut caves

Rock-cut architecture took turn with the Buddhist reign and remarkable Buddhist monuments were produced in areas such as Bihar in the east and Maharashtra in the west. Natural grottos and caves in the hillside were excavated by the Buddhist monks and turned into glorious prayer halls and monasteries.

Ranging from tiny monastic cells to colossal, elaborately carved temples, they are remarkable for having been hewn by hand from solid rock. Their 3rd century BC origins seem to have been as temporary shelters for Buddhist monks when heavy monsoon rains made their normal itinerant lifestyle impossible.

Modeled on earlier wooden structures, most were sponsoions sit like a sceptre and crown amidst hills turned mauve.



Some structures at the Daulatabad Fort[note 1] is the earliest examples of Indo-Islamic architecture in Maharashtra.[3]

The medieval Ahmednagar Sultanate built the Ahmednagar Fort, Tomb of Salabat Khan II and Bagh Rauza[4] in Ahmednagar. Their style is similar to that of the other Deccan Sultanates.

The best example of Mughal architecture in Maharashtra is Bibi ka Maqbara built by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, which is a replica of the Taj Mahal.


The Maratha Empire ruled between the 17th and 19th centuries. They were constantly at war against the Mughal Empire. Therefore, several fortifications were built throughout the area, including Shaniwar Wada, Pratapgad, Raigad and Mangad. Shivaji built the Lal Mahal in Pune. During Peshwa rule, many of the popular temples were built/revived all over Maharashtra. They reflect a peculiar architectural style regarded as Maratha Architecture.



During Portuguese rule in Mumbai, several fortifications, including the Madh Fort and Castella de Aguada were built in the city.

British Colonial

During the British colonial era, European styles became prevalent, especially in Mumbai. The most significant examples are the two World Heritage sites of Mumbai ― Chhatrappati Shivaji terminus (designed by Frederick William Stevens in the gothic revival style), and the Victorian and Art Deco ensemble of Mumbai (consisting of Bombay High Court, Rajabai Clock Tower and University of Mumbai).[5][6] Other examples include and Municipal Corporation Building and Asiatic Society in Mumbai and Fergusson College of Pune.

Art Deco

Mumbai has one of the largest collections of art deco buildings in the world.


A new architectural style known as the Indo-Saracenic Revival Architecture developed, a combination of British and Indian styles. The best examples of this style are Gateway of India, Taj Mahal Hotel, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya[note 2] (formerly Prince of Wales Museum) in Mumbai.

Post-Independence (1947―present)

Modern skyscrapers built in the international style such as The Imperial, Antilia, and Palais Royale form the skyline of Mumbai.


  1. The Daulatabad Fort itself was built by the Yadava dynasty in the 12th century CE, and the Indo-Islamic structures were added later by the Delhi Sultanate in the 14th century CE.
  2. The name translates to "King Shivaji Museum"



  1. Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Ellora Caves". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Archived from the original on 2018-12-15. Retrieved 2018-12-19.
  2. Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Ajanta Caves". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Archived from the original on 2018-02-01. Retrieved 2018-12-19.
  3. Haig 1907, p. 20-56.
  4. Haig 1907, p. 56.
  5. Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus)". Archived from the original on 2018-11-27. Retrieved 2018-10-22.
  6. Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai". Archived from the original on 2018-07-07. Retrieved 2018-10-22.


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