Qutb Minar and its Monuments (1993), Delhi
||Qutb-Minar in red and
buff standstone is the highest tower in India. It has a diameter
of 14.32 m at the base and about 2.75 m on the top with a height
of 72.5 m.
Qutbu'd-Din Aibak laid the foundation of Minar in AD 1199 for
the use of the mu'azzin (crier) to give calls for prayer and
raised the first storey, to which were added three more storeys
by his successor and son-in-law, Shamsu'd-Din Iltutmish (AD
1211-36). All the storeys are surrounded by a projected balcony
encircling the minar and supported by stone brackets, which are
decorated with honey-comb design, more conspicuously in the
Numerous inscriptions in Arabic and Nagari characters in
different places of the minar reveal the history of Qutb.
According to the inscriptions on its surface it was repaired by
Firuz Shah Tughlaq (AD 1351-88) and Sikandar Lodi (AD
1489-1517). Major R.Smith also repaired and restored the minar
Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, to the north-east of minar was built
by Qutbu'd-Din Aibak in AD 1198. It is the earliest extant
mosque built by the Delhi Sultans. It consists of a rectangular
courtyard enclosed by cloisters, erected with the carved columns
and architectural members of 27 Hindu and Jaina temples which
were demolished by Qutbu'd-Din Aibak as recorded in his
inscription on the main eastern entrance.
Later, a lofty arched screen was erected and the mosque was
enlarged by Shamsu'd-Din Iltutmish (AD 1210-35) and Alau'd-Din Khalji.
The Iron Pillar in the courtyard bears an inscription in Sanskrit in
Brahmi script of fourth century AD, according to which the pillar was
set up as a Vishnudhvaja (standard of god Vishnu) on the hill known as
Vishnupada in memory of a mighty king named Chandra. A deep socket on
the top of the ornate capital indicates that probably an image of
Garuda was fixed into it.
The tomb of Iltutmish (AD 1211-36) was built in AD 1235. It is a
plain square chamber of red sandstone, profusely carved with
inscriptions, geometrical and arabesque patterns in Saracenic
tradition on the entrances and the whole of interior. Some of the
motifs viz., the wheel, tassel etc., are reminiscent of Hindu designs.
Ala'i-Darwaza, the southern gateway of the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque
was constructed by Alau'd-Din Khalji in AH 710 (AD 1311) as recorded
in the inscriptions engraved on it. This is the first building
employing Islamic principles of construction and ornamentation.
Ala'i Minar which stands to the north of Qutb-Minar, was commenced
by Alau'd-Din Khalji, with the intention of making it twice the size
of earlier Minar. He could complete only the first storey which now
has an extant height of 25 m. The other remains in the Qutb complex
comprise madrasa, graves, tombs, mosque and architectural members.
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