March 10, 2016

Monuments in Qutb Minar Complex

Site Name: Qutb Minar Complex
Site Type: Monuments
Location:  Mehrauli, Delhi, India
Highlights: One of the most popular monuments in Delhi

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 fact, apart from Qutb Minar, there are many other monuments located in the same complex. Let us explore all those monuments in this article. 

The monuments are presented in the order of their time period, from the oldest one till the latest one.


Iron Pillar
Iron Pillar

The 7.2 m high massive Iron Pillar is located in the courtyard of Quwwatul-Islam mosque in Qutb Minar complex. 
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. 

Click here to know more about Iron Pillar. 

Qutb Minar

Qutb Minar is the tallest stone tower in India. It is an UNESCO heritage site and is one of the most popular monuments not only in Delhi but in the entire country. There are many legends and different views about who built or who started building the majestic tall minaret called as Qutb Minar. However, as per the view that was accepted by most of the scholars and historians, Qutbud-Din Aibak of Slave dynasty started constructing this.


Qutb Minar
Qutbud-Din could construct only the ground floor of the minaret which comprises of alternate circular and triangular grooves. Qutbud-Din's son-in-law Shamsud-Din-Iltutmish succeeded him as the ruler of Delhi in 1211 CE. Iltutmish made significant additions to Qutb Minar. He added three more floors to the tower.  In 1326 CE, Qutb Minar was struck by lightening. It was repaired by Muhammed Tughlaq. Later in 1368 CE, it was against damaged and the third floor was completely destroyed. Firuz Tughlaq carried out repair works and he replaced the third floor with two smaller floors.


Quwwatul-Islam Mosque
The cupola that was crowing the minaret fell down during an earthquake in the early 19th century CE. Major Robert Smith, who was serving as a British Army Engineer, took an active interest in restoring Qutb Minar complex. After restoring the entire Qutb Minar minaret in 1829 CE, he designed this vibrant red colored Bengali style cupola and placed it on top of the minaret.

For the British Viceroy Lord Hardinge, it was not looking attractive and was more like an eyesore. He brought it down in 1848 CE.

To know more about Qutb Minar, click here


Mughal Mosque
Quwwatul-Islam Masjid

Quwwatul-Islam Masjid is one of the oldest extant mosques in India. Qutbud-Din Aibak started the work of the mosque immediately after the capture of Delhi in 1192 CE and it got completed in 1198 CE. The mosque was enlarged by Iltutmish, the successor of Qutbud-Din in 1230 CE.

Click here to know more about this Masjid. 


Iltutmish's Tomb

Iltutmish's tomb is located to the north-west of theh Quwwatul-Islam mosque in the Qutb complex. It was built by Iltutmish himself in 1235 CE. It is an important monument in terms of development phase of Indo-Islamic architecture. Till then, even including the tomb of Iltutmish's son which was built by him few years ago, all the tombs were built using the materials from the demolished Hindu temples or Jain shrines. Iltutmish's tomb was built from the materials sourced entirely from the quarries. Thus, Iltutmish made contributions in terms of building one of the earliest tombs as well as in constructing a tomb without using the materials from the temples.

Imam Zamin's Tomb
Click here to know more about Iltutmish's Tomb.

Alai Darwaza

The southern gateway of the Quwwatul-Islam mosque is called as Alai Darwaza. It was built in 1311 CE by Alauddin Khalji. It is said that Khalji brought artists from Turkey to construct this structure. It is considered as the prestige symbol of the mosque and even for the entire Qutb Minar complex.

To know more about this monument, click here

Alai Minar

Alaud-Din Khalji wanted to construct a new Minar double the size of Qutb Minar. He started this ambitious project called Alai Minar sometime towards the end of 13th century or the beginning of 14th century CE. He could complete only upto one storey during his period and his successors were perhaps not interested to complete the monument. Today, Alai Minar stands in one corner in Qutb Minar complex as an unfinished monument showing off rubble and debris. 

Click here to know more about Alai Minar. 

Alai Darwaza
Alauddin Khalji's Tomb and Madrasa

Alaud-Din Khalji's desires had no limit. He conquered most parts of India. He killed millions of innocent people and his soldiers. He did not stop with that. He wanted to expand the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque, which he did. He wanted to construct a new Minar double the size of Qutb Minar, but he failed. In addition, he also wanted to build a madrasa (Islamic religious school) next to Quwwat mosque.

Today, the madrasa is in a dilapidated state. It also houses Alauddin Khalji's tomb. He was the first Indian ruler to follow the tradition of building the tomb within a madrasa. The domes of madrasa have not yet falled off; however the complex is in ruined state. 

To know more details about this monument, click here

Imam Zamin's Tomb

Imam Zamin was a Muslim saint and his original name was Muhammad Ali. He came from the land of Turks and settled down in Delhi during the period of Sikandar Lodi in the beginning of 16th century CE. It looks like he discharged some important duties in connection with the adjoining Quwwatul Islam Mosque. He himself built his tomb near the mosque. 

Click here to know more details about this site. 

Mughal Serai

Mughal Searai is located near the Mughal Mosque while entering through the eastern entrance gateway of Qutb Minar. It also belongs to the later Mughal period (18th or 19th century CE). 


Click here to know more about this place. 

Mughal Mosque

Mughal Mosque is a small and beautiful mosque. It comprises of a prayer hall with three compartments. Each compartment has an onion shaped dome. It is not known who and when it was built. Architecturally, it is assigned to the later Mughal period (18th or 19th century CE). It is located near the eastern entrance gateway of Qutb Minar.


Click here to get more information about this monument and Mughal Garden. 

Smith's Cupola

Qutb Minar was crowned with a cupola, which fell down during an earthquake in the early 19th century CE. Major Robert Smith, who was serving as a British Army Engineer, took an active interest in restoring Qutb Minar complex. After restoring the entire Qutb Minar minaret in 1829 CE, he designed this vibrant red colored Bengali style cupola and placed it on top of the minaret.

For the British Viceroy Lord Hardinge, it was not looking attractive and was more like an eyesore. He brought it down in 1848 CE.


More details about this can be found here

Sanderson's Sundial

Gardon Sanderson was working for ASI during the British period. He carried out a lot of excavations in Qutb complex and authored many notable books on Delhi. Many of his works are still used as the reference materials by historians. He was killed in his 28th year in the World War I. Sanderson's Sundial was built on his memory in Qutb Complex in 1919 CE four years after his death.

Sanderson's Sundial is a small instrument crafted in white marble. It is fitted with a blade and its shadow rotates according to the angle of the sunlight to indicate the time. 


Happy travelling.

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