region of Haryana and Punjab, situated to the west and northwest of the capital
city of New Delhi, geographically comprises the area between the Indus river
system and that of the Yamuna. Long important because of significant trade
routes linking the northern part of the South Asian subcontinent and Central
Asia, it was an especially volatile political region from the twelfth through
eighteenth centuries, when Indic and Islamic elites first interacted in north
India. While the resulting conflicts are well known, less recognized is the
degree to which this interaction also led to creative melding of cultures.
Arrayed along the route of the 16th-Century Grand Trunk Road, the area still
contain much evidence of the resulting production in such structures as caravanserais,
bridges, distance markers, pleasure gardens, rest houses, hydraulic structures,
forts and palaces, congregational prayer halls as well as the final resting
places of kings and saints. Considering the significance of the region helps
us to comprehend the development of historical trajectories that are manifested
in the surviving buildings.
This important region contains many surviving structures that demonstrate how a rich architectural tradition developed over centuries of interchange along the especially important route stretching from Agra to Lahore. For instance, caravanserais, which supported the myriad requirements of travelers and