A jali or jaali, (jālī, meaning "net") is the term for a perforated stone or latticed screen, usually with an ornamental pattern constructed through the use of calligraphy and geometry. This form of architectural decoration is common in Indo-Islamic architecture and more generally in Islamic architecture.[1]

Jali screens in the tomb of Akbar the Great near Agra, India

The jali helps in lowering the temperature by compressing the air through the holes. Also when the air passes through these openings, its velocity increases giving profound diffusion.[clarification needed] It has been observed that humid areas like Kerala and Konkan have larger holes with overall lower opacity than compared with the dry climate regions of Gujarat and Rajasthan.[2]

With compactness of the residential areas in the modern India, jalis became less frequent for privacy and security matters.[3]


Early jali work was built by carving into stone, generally in geometric patterns, while later the Mughals used very finely carved plant-based designs, as at the Taj Mahal. They also often added pietra dura inlay to the surrounds, using marble and semi-precious stones.[1][4]

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  1. ^ a b Lerner, p. 156
  2. ^ "Yatin Pandya on 'jaali' as a traditional element". Daily News and Analysis. 16 October 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  3. ^ Satyaprakash Varanashi (30 January 2011). "The multi-functional jaali". The Hindu. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  4. ^ Thapar, Bindia (2004). Introduction to Indian architecture. Singapore: Tuttle Publishing. p. 81. ISBN 9781462906420.


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