March 4, 2016

Iron Pillar - Qutb Complex, Delhi

Site Name: Iron Pillar
Site Type: Monument
Location:  Qutb Minar Complex, Mehrauli, Delhi, India
Highlights: More than 1500 years old pillar without showing any major signs of corrosion

Nearest Railway Station: Delhi
Nearest Airport: Delhi
How to reach: Well connected by road, rail and air

Hotel: A lot of options are available within Delhi city
Restaurants: Many options and varieties across the city

Delhi, the capital city of India, is famous for monuments. It has around 1300 monuments. Qutb Minar is one of the most popular monuments in Delhi. In Qutb Minar complex, apart from Qutb Minar, there are so many other monuments also located. In this article, let us discuss about an interesting monument, an ancient Iron Pillar located in Qutb complex, which stands as a testimonial to the technological skills of ancient Indians.

Iron Pillar

The 7.2 m high massive Iron Pillar (of which 93 cm is buried below the ground) is located in the courtyard of Quwwatul-Islam mosque in Qutb Minar complex. 

It is evidently a flag staff (called as dhwaja stambha) of some Vishnu temple. As per the historians, it was probably an integral part of a Vishnu temple in the modern day Udayagiri caves in Madhya Pradesh state of India. (As per the inscription in the pillar, it was from a Vishnu temple in Vishnupada hills.)

Based on the inscriptions, most of the historians conclude that the iron pillar was made during the reign of the Gupta Emperor Chandragupta II Vikramaditya of 4th century CE. It is believed that Anagpal Tomar, the ruler of Delhi, brought this pillar from Vishnupada and erected in Delhi.

Later, when the Qutb Minar was erected by the Slave dynasty, the temple areas were converted into mosque. However, the iron pillar remained in the courtyard of the mosque. 

Except for few signs of rusting at a very slow rate in the portion below the ground, this massive iron pillar has not much deteriorated in all these 1600+ years. This is definitely a standing testimony for the metallurgical skill of ancient Indians.  

Probably, this iron pillar is the only thing which has witnessed the ups and downs in the historic city of Delhi in all these 1000 years.

Happy travelling.

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