: 15-km South Of New Delhi
: Quwwatu'l-Islam Mosque, The Iron Pillar, Alai Minar & Alai Darwaza
: Afghan Architecture
Historical Construction of a Landmark
Qutab-ud-din Aibak, the first Muslim ruler of Delhi, commenced the construction of the Qutab Minar in 1200 AD, but could only finish the basement. His successor, Iltutmush, added three more storeys, and in 1368, Firoz Shah Tughlak constructed the fifth and the last storey. The development of architectural styles from Aibak to Tughlak are quite evident in the minar. The relief work and even the materials used for construction differ.
Qutub Minar of Delhi was constructed in 1192 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak, the
founder of Slave family and later finished by his son-in-law and
successor Iltutmish. The elevated tower of Qutub Minar of Delhi is made
out of brick tile and sandstones. Qutub Minar is a beautiful example of
Indo-Islamic Afghan architecture.
Nowadays, Qutub Minar is a well-known member of the World Heritage Site
community and survived the ravages of time impressively. Qutub Minar of
Delhi is enclosed by a prosperous green manicured garden, which is a
much preferential leisure pad for Delhi locals. Qutub Minar at Delhi is
a five storied tower. Each tower of the famous Qutub Minar of Delhi has
exclusive designs. Again during the time of Emperor Feroze Shah Tughlaq,
when the top most storey of the Qutub Minar was damaged, the king
repaired the floor and elevated the Qutub Minar to another level. The
first three stories of the Qutub Minar have special designs.
Qutab Minar is situated in Qutab Minar Complex, very near to Connaught
Place New Delhi. Qutab Minar is certainly one of the major tourist
attractions in Delhi and it is highly reachable. Qutab Minar is also
generally called the marble tower of success and it is indeed a charming
structure made out of red sandstone. Qutab Minar being the victory tower
is the main stone tower in India. Qutab Minar of Delhi was actually
built to celebrate the victory of Mohammed Ghori over Rajputs in 1192.
Interestingly, the word "Qutb" means "axis or pole of justice" and thus,
Qutab Minar is also measured to be an artistic symbol of Islamic justice
and the military regime of the Slave Dynasty. The Light Show in the
Qutab Minar is certainly a major attraction and you should not miss out
this one. It is yet believed that Prithvi Raj Chauhan built this tower
so that his daughter could see the holy Yamuna River from the top of the
monument during the prayer time. Let us not get into these arguments and
understand this charming piece of architecture.
Some believe it was erected as a tower of victory to signify the beginning of the Muslim rule in India. Others say it served as a minaret to the muezzins to call the faithful to prayer. No one can, however, dispute that the tower is not only one of the finest monuments in India, but also in the world.
The 238 feet Qutab Minar is 47 feet at the base and tapers to nine feet at the apex. The tower is ornamented by bands of inscriptions and by four projecting balconies supported by elaborately decorated brackets.
Even in ruin, the Quwwat Ui Islam (Light of Islam) Mosque in the Qutab complex is one of the most magnificent in the world. Its construction was started by Qutab-ud-din Aibak in 1193 and the mosque was completed in 1197. additions were made to the building by Iltutmush in 1230 and Alla-ud-din Khilji in 1315.
The main mosque comprises of an inner and outer courtyard, of which the inner is surrouded by an exquisite collonade, the pillars of which are made of richly decorated shafts. Most of these shafts are from the 27 Hindu temples which were plundered to construct the mosque. It is, therefore, not surprising that the Muslim mosque has typical Hindu ornamentation.
Close to the mosque is one of Delhi's most curious antiques, the Iron Pillar. Dating back to the 4th century AD, the pillar bears an inscription which stated that it was erected as a flagstaff in honour of the Hindu god, Vishnu, and in the memory of the Gupta king Chandragupta II (375-413). How the pillar moved to its present location remains a mystery. The pillar also highlights ancient India's achievements in metallurgy. The pillar is made of 98 per cent wrought iron and has stood. 1,600 years without rusting or decomposing.
The Legend of The Qutub
There exists a tradition that the Qutub-Minar was built by Prithviraj, the last Chauhan king of Delhi, for enabling his daughter to behold the sacred river Yamuna, from its top as part of her daily worship.
A Landmark In Islamic Architecture
The Minar's entire architecture, however, bespeaks an Islamic origin, with two of its prototypes in brick still existing at Ghazni, although Hindu craftsmen were certainly employed for its construction, as is evident also from certain 'Devanagari' inscriptions on its surface. Sometimes sculptured stones from temples have been found utilised in it.
Originally, it was surmounted by a cupola, which fell down during an earthquake and was replaced early in the 19th century with a new cupola in the late Mughal style, by one Major Smith. It looked, however, so incongruous that it was brought down in 1848, and may now be seen on the lawns to the south east of the minar.