Since my visit to Qutub Minar, I have sat many a times in front of my laptop to write about this tallest brick minaret but I had always found myself at a loss of words. What does one write about a place which has been a part of History text books, is synonymous to a city and has a history which involves mutliple colourful, glorious characters and stories some of which may still be disputed.
On a July morning, Dipali took me to Qutub complex and the idea was also to photograph Qutub Minar.. This was my second visit and the earlier one was about some 5- 6 years earlier. The morning was the best time since it was July and later during the day it would not have been a good idea to visit the place. Needless to say, morning is the best time to click your pictures other than the dusk.
History of Qutub Minar
According to many and most of the history books , Qutub Minar was built by Qutbuddin Aibak the first ruler of Delhi Sultanate. On the contrary, his 4 year regime in India and lack of proof at many places raise a question whether this was actually built by Qutbuddin Aibak or this was actually a minar of Altamash. Rulers like Altamash, Tughlaq or Khilji have often been attributed with this minar. I am not a historian so would dare to solve this. However, built around 1192 this is the worlds tallest rubble masonry minaret and a pride of our country. Its often forgotten that the place was built by the destruction of 27 Jain and Hindu temples which used to form the Qutb Complex and this was done from the rubble of these temples.
The structure and facts about Qutub Minar
The Qutub Minar is the tallest brick minaret in world with 379 steps inside to take you to the top. I would have loved to climb up to the top but that has been banned since 1981 after a tragic accident and although throughout its history many a times there has been damages in the minar but till date this architectural marvel is standing tall and big at 72.5 meters.
Other places of interest – Tomb of Iltutumish, Alai Darwaza and many more
The qutub complex is huge area and although its best known for Qutub Minar but as we explored the place gradually there were so many things which we noticed. There is Tomb of Iltutmish with a sign of dome like structure on the top and the main cenotaph is built in white marble placed on the centre. As a photographer dont miss out the opportunity to click Qutub Minar from one of the doors of this tomb and then as it happened there were flights taking off from the airport and we successfully captured one such.
One cannot miss the L shaped erstwhile Madrasa built by Alauddin Khilji and his tomb lying there. Huge arches which are intermittently placed as one moves around the complex are the ones which belong to Quwwat ul Islam Mosque – the first mosque which was built in India by muslim emperors. The mosque is covered with cloisters which has got rows of pillars with rich carvings on their bodies. Its reported since 1997, Iron Pillar of Delhi has been encased. It was considered that if someone could make their hands meet by standing with his back at the pillar then it brings good luck. This 7.21 meter of Iron pillar going back to 3rd and 4th century with Sanskrit inscriptions referring to Chandragupta Maurya stands in the courtyard of the Quwwat ul islam Mosque. Sunrays were forming patterns of shadow as light was seeping in through the beautifully decorated gateway of Alai Darwaza – the southern gateway of the mosque built by Alauddin Khilji. When seen closely the gateway built with red sandstone and archways on all 4 sides, there are fringes of lotus buds on the archway.
If everything looks perfect in terms of successful achievement then glance at Alai Minar the incomplete minar at the north of Qutub Minar which was only 1 storey when Alauddin Khilji passed away.
After a certain point of time it seems history flows in the air here and brushes across you from all angles. So many characters, stories of triumph, defeat, impact on socio economic condition of Delhi. Now when I sit down to write about the place I realise the essence of the place and I wish to go back there again. Qutub Minar is the face but Qutub Complex gives you the complete picture.