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Akbar vs. Aurangzeb: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on February 1, 2024
Akbar was a Mughal Emperor known for his inclusive policies and patronage of arts, whereas Aurangzeb, another Mughal ruler, was known for his conservative Islamic policies and military expansions.

Key Differences

Akbar, ruling from 1556 to 1605, was renowned for his progressive and inclusive governance, promoting a policy of religious tolerance and cultural integration. Aurangzeb, who ruled from 1658 to 1707, was known for his orthodox Islamic policies and less tolerant religious stance, reversing many of Akbar's inclusive practices.
Akbar's administration was marked by innovations like the Mansabdari system, a unique administrative organization, and efforts to foster harmony among his diverse subjects. Aurangzeb focused on expanding the empire's boundaries through military campaigns, often leading to internal strife and heavy taxation.
In terms of cultural contributions, Akbar was a great patron of the arts and architecture, encouraging the development of Mughal art and culture. Aurangzeb, in contrast, was less inclined towards arts and more focused on a strict interpretation of Islamic law and governance.
Akbar’s reign was characterized by economic prosperity and stability, while Aurangzeb’s long wars of expansion strained the empire's resources and weakened its economic structure.
The legacy of Akbar is often associated with the idea of a cosmopolitan and inclusive empire, whereas Aurangzeb's reign is frequently viewed through the lens of religious conservatism and empire overextension.

Comparison Chart

Reign Period

1556 - 1605
1658 - 1707

Religious Policies

Promoted religious tolerance and integration
Implemented orthodox Islamic policies

Administrative Approach

Introduced the Mansabdari system
Focused on military expansion

Cultural Contributions

Patron of arts and architecture
Less focused on arts, prioritized Islamic law

Economic Impact

Fostered economic prosperity and stability
Strained resources due to long military campaigns

Akbar and Aurangzeb Definitions


Promoted religious tolerance.
Akbar held discussions with leaders of different faiths.


Mughal Emperor with conservative Islamic policies.
Aurangzeb is known for reversing Akbar's policy of religious tolerance.


Patron of arts and architecture.
The architecture during Akbar’s era blended various styles.


Expanded the Mughal Empire's boundaries.
Aurangzeb’s reign saw extensive military campaigns.


Introduced innovative administrative systems.
Akbar’s Mansabdari system was a key administrative reform.


His reign marked by internal strife and heavy taxation.
Aurangzeb’s wars led to economic challenges in the empire.


Ruled during a time of economic prosperity.
Trade flourished under Akbar’s reign.


Implemented strict Islamic governance.
Aurangzeb enforced Islamic laws during his rule.


Mughal Emperor known for inclusive policies.
Akbar's rule is remembered for its cultural and religious harmony.


Less inclined towards arts and culture.
Cultural and artistic endeavors received less patronage under Aurangzeb.


What were Aurangzeb's religious policies?

He implemented orthodox Islamic practices and reversed earlier tolerant policies.

Did Akbar promote arts and culture?

Yes, he was a significant patron of arts and culture.

When did Akbar rule?

From 1556 to 1605.

How did Aurangzeb expand the Mughal Empire?

Through extensive military campaigns.

Who was Akbar?

A Mughal Emperor known for his progressive governance.

What is Aurangzeb known for?

His conservative Islamic policies and military expansions.

What was Akbar's approach to religion?

He promoted religious tolerance and dialogue among different faiths.

Did Aurangzeb's reign impact the Mughal Empire's economy?

Yes, his long military campaigns strained the empire's resources.

How did Akbar impact the Mughal architecture?

He encouraged a blend of various architectural styles.

What administrative system did Akbar introduce?

The Mansabdari system, an innovative administrative structure.

What was Aurangzeb's approach to governance?

He governed based on strict Islamic principles.

How is Akbar's legacy viewed?

As a symbol of cosmopolitanism and inclusive governance.

Did Akbar engage with different religious leaders?

Yes, he frequently engaged in dialogue with leaders of various faiths.

Was Aurangzeb a patron of the arts?

No, he was less inclined towards arts, focusing more on religious and military matters.

How did Aurangzeb's reign end?

It ended with the empire overextended and weakened economically.

How did Aurangzeb's policies affect the Mughal Empire's stability?

His policies and military campaigns ultimately led to political and economic instability.

What was the impact of Aurangzeb's religious policies?

It led to internal strife and diminished religious tolerance.

Was Akbar's reign economically prosperous?

Yes, his reign was marked by economic stability and prosperity.

What was unique about Akbar's administrative reforms?

They were innovative and contributed to efficient governance.

Did Aurangzeb focus on economic development?

Economic development was less of a focus compared to military and religious objectives.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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