Some of the most important characteristics of medieval Indian towns were as follows:
(1) Medieval period in India was a transitional time and it was not possible under the unstable political conditions for the planned and systematic urban growth. Only fortress towns under the patronage of chieftains and petty rulers could grow.
(2) Towns along the main routes of travel, and by the river-side had trade in food grains, cloth, swords, carpets, perfumes and several other handicraft articles.
(3) Small urban centres was the ‘rule’, and only capitals were having busy life. Jaunpur was the capital city under the rule of Firozshah.
(4) It was under the rule of Akbar that the disturbed urban life was reconstituted and redeveloped. All centres – ‘dasturs’ (districts) as well as ‘parganas’ (tehsils) beside capitals in nature were also ‘garrison towns’ where armies were invariably stationed for protection.
(5) Medieval towns, whether in India or anywhere else, were walled, encircled by an outside moat.
(6) Medieval town site was usually governed by physically significant terrain; it was either on a hill flanked on the other side by a water body, or it was guarded by a ring of mounds.
(7) Medieval town used to have its first nucleus often as a fortress of walled property of a landlord, its internal roads being controlled to connect the market place lying directly before the gate of the castle or place of worship.
(8) Urban centres of the medieval times were surrounded by agricultural land, and farmers and labourers commonly were having their dwellings near or outside the town limit. The areas within the walls of a town near its bound were occupied by artisan castes engaged in handicrafts.
Wealthy merchants were having their mansions around the market place in the central area, while the administrative officials and high-ranked army personnel’s’ residences were around the palace or castle, church, abbey and the place of worship. The entire structure of a town was divided into socially hierarchical classes controlled by the chieftain or bishop.