February 28, 2016

Iltutmish's Tomb - Qutb Complex, Delhi

Site Name: Iltutmish's Tomb
Site Type: Monument
Location:  Qutb Minar Complex, Mehrauli, Delhi, India
Highlights: One of the earliest tombs in India; the beginning of constructions by Muslims without using the materials from the Hindu or Jain temples

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. Let us discuss about a very important site named Iltutmish's tomb, situated within the complex of Qutb Minar, in this article.



History


Prithviraj Chauhan III, who was also called as Rai Pithora, extended the Lal Kot by constructing another fort and named it as Qila Rai Pithora, and was ruling Delhi. Muhammad bin Sam of Ghur invaded Qila Rai Pithora twice. In his second attempt, he defeated Prithviraj and captured Qila. His slave Qutbud-Din Aibak was made as the Viceroy of Delhi. He enthroned himself as the Sultan of Delhi in 1206 CE and thus started the rule of slave dynasty in Delhi. 

Qutbud-Din's son-in-law Shamsud-Din-Iltutmish succeeded him as the ruler of Delhi in 1211 CE. Iltutmish made significant additions to both the Qutb Minar and Quwwat mosque, which were started by his predecessor Qutbud-Din. Later, he built the tomb for his eldest son Nasirud-Din, who died in 1228 or 1229 CE. It is called as Sultan Ghari's tomb and was built in 1231 CE. It is the earliest existing monumental Muslim tomb. (There are some pre-Sultanate tombs found in Kutch area in Gujarat which were constructed with the materials from the demolished Hindu temples). In 1235 CE, he built his own tomb.

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.

The tomb located within a square enclosure look simple from outside, but its interior is intricately carved with geometrical patterns and intricate caligraphy. Originally, the structure had a dome. It fell down and Firuz Shah Tughlaq replaced with a new dome. Even that does not exist today and the structure has open space as the roof.

The cenotoph of  Iltutmish is made of marble. It rests on a raised platform. The actual remains of Iltutmish is located in the underground chambers. Only the cenotoph is exposed outside. 

The interior on the west is occupied by three mihrabs, whereas there are three entrances in the other three directions. (The niche in the wall of a mosque is called as mihrab). The central mihrab is higher and is made of marble, while the other two mihrabs made of red sandstone are pieced by arched entrances. 

The entrances and the interiors are carved with inscriptions in Kufi and Naskh characters as well as geometrical patterns. As the Indian artisans were involved in building this structure, some Hindu traditional designs such as diamond, wheel and lotus are also found. 

It is said that the domes were not known to the Indian architects. In this tomb, the small arches were added on the chamber's upper corners in order to convert the square chamber into an octagonal one towards its roof so that the dome could be placed on top.  

Happy travelling.




Alai Minar - Qutb Minar Complex, Delhi

Site Name: Alai Minar
Site Type: Monument
Location:  Qutb Minar Complex, Mehrauli, Delhi, India
Highlights: The 14th century unfinished monument by the Khaljis

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. Let us discuss about a well known unfinished monument called Alai Minar in this article.

History

The Slave Dynasty ruled Delhi till 1290 CE. Firuz Shah of the Khalji tribe captured the throne in 1290 CE and thus started the Khalji Dynasty's rule in Delhi. Alaud-Din of Khalji was the popular King in Khalji Dynasty. He laid the foundation of Siri, which was the second city of Delhi. 

He was one of the most cruel kings of India. Had he suspected anyone as a threat to his powers, he did not hesitate to kill them along with their entire family members including women and children. It is said that he had once slaughtered around 30,000 people in a single day in Delhi. To retain power, he had even killed his own family members. 

Alai Minar, the unfinished monument in Qutb Minar complex, was built (or rather planned to be built) by this King.


Alai Minar

Alaud-Din Khalji doubled the size of Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque, which is found in Qutb Minar complex. Similarly, he 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. The single floor of minaret is 24.5 meters high compared to the five storied Qutb Minar's height of 72.5 meters.

Today, Alai Minar stands in one corner in Qutb Minar complex as an unfinished monument showing off rubble and debris. 

Happy travelling. 

February 27, 2016

Mughal Serai - Bengal style architecture in Qutb Minar

Site Name: Mughal Serai
Site Type: Monument
Location:  Qutb Minar Complex, Mehrauli, Delhi, India
Highlights: The later Mughal period monuments

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. Let us discuss about some of those little known monuments located within the complex of Qutb Minar in this article. 

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). 

The word Serai means a place to provide accommodation, somewhat similar to today's guest house. 

Now, Mughal Serai is reduced only to its enclosure walls which have multiple arched designs. The second arched gateway to Qutb complex is also believed to be originally the part of Mughal Serai. Importantly, there exists a high rectangular platform where four graves are found in the open space. It is not known whose graves these are. The interesting part of this section is Begali style pavilion with a curved roof and three arched entrances. It is not known why the later Mughal period structure should follow the Bangla style architecture.

Happy travelling.




February 26, 2016

Mughal Mosque, Garden and Serai - Qutb Minar, Delhi

Site Name: Mughal Mosque, Garden and Serai
Site Type: Monument
Location:  Qutb Minar Complex, Mehrauli, Delhi, India
Highlights: The later Mughal period monuments

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. Let us discuss about some of those little known monuments located within the complex of Qutb Minar in this article. 

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.

ASI does not seem to care about providing more details about this site. The name of the mosque is Tarikh-ul-Islam mosque. 

Mughal Garden

The beautiful garden located near Mughal Mosque is named as Mughal Garden. It is laid according to Charbagh pattern of the Mughal period. It is square on plan and is further sub-divided into four quarters with paved walkways (which are called as Khiyaban). It also belongs to the later Mughal period.


Mughal Serai

The word Serai means a place to provide accommodation, somewhat similar to today's guest house. Mughal Serai is a small structure located near Mughal Mosque. It is also assigned to the later Mughal period.

Happy travelling.


Jahanpanah - The Fourth City of Delhi

Site Name: Jahanpanah
Site Type: Historical
Location:  Mehrauli, Delhi, India
Highlights: The fourth city of 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

I am just wondering if there is any other city/town in India which enjoys the continuity of status for such a long period like Delhi. Excluding the Mahabharat period and the other pre-historic periods, if we go purely on the basis of historical records, we can call Delhi as 'The City of Seven Cities'. Jahanpanah is the fourth city. ILet me talk about this site in this article.

History

Anangpal Tomar is believed to be the founder of Delhi. Nothing much is known about his period or other details. He belonged to the Tomar Rajputs dynasty. They were probably feudatories of Gurjara-Pratihara rulers. Tomars established themselves in the Aravalli hills south of Delhi. The period must be sometime in the 10th century CE (It cannot be 8th century as claimed by Wikipedia or other websites).

Anangpal Tomar is said to have built Lal Kot, the first known defence work in Delhi. Lal Kot is the core of the first city of Delhi. 

King Vigraharaja IV, who was also called as Visaladeva or Bisaldeo, of the Chauhan dynasty (a.k.a. Chahamana dynasty) of Sakambhari (modern day Sambhar region) captured Delhi from Tomars in the second half of 12th century CE. 

Vigraharaja's grandson was Prithviraj Chauhan III, who was also called as Rai Pithora, the popular historical figure and who is the hero of the stories of Hindu resistance against the Muslim invaders. He extended the Lal Kot by constructing another fort and named it as Qila Rai Pithora. 

Muhammad bin Sam of Ghur invaded Qila Rai Pithora twice. In his second attempt, he defeated Prithviraj and captured Qila. His slave Qutbud-Din Aibak was made as the Viceroy of Delhi. He enthroned himself as the Sultan of Delhi in 1206 CE and thus started the rule of slave dynasty in Delhi. 

The Slave Dynasty ruled Delhi till 1290 CE. Firuz Shah of the Khalji tribe captured the throne in 1290 CE and thus started the Khalji Dynasty's rule in Delhi. Alaud-Din of Khalji Dynasty laid the foundation of Siri, which was the second city of Delhi. 

In 1321 CE, the Tughlaq Dynasty started their rule in Delhi. Among the eleven rulers of Tughlaq Dynasty which ruled Delhi till 1414 CE, only the first three were interested in architecture. Interestingly, each one of them added a new city in Delhi. 

Ghiyathud-Din Tughlaq built Tughlaqabad, the third city of Delhi. His successor Muhammad bin Tughlaq built Jahanpanah, the fourth city of Delhi. 


Monument

Jahanpanah was originally constructed as a walled enclosure between Qila Rai Pithora and Siri with the objective of providing protection to the people living there. It was constructed by the Tughlaq Emperor Muhammad bin Tughlaq in 1326-27 CE.  The walled city is in ruins today. Its ramparts can be seen in Delhi-Mehrauli road, near IIT, to the north of Chiragh Delhi and few other places. Malviya Nagar park is a better site to get glimpse on its ramparts. 

Happy travelling.