on March 22, 2010
Qutb Minar complex.This is a set of buildings built over the centuries in the Southern part of Delhi in the grounds of a fort covering an area of 100 acres consisting of a variety of ruined temples, tombs and a Mosque. The fort was built around 739 BC and was subsequently added to over the centuries by winning invaders and occupiers and is listed as a world heritage site.The Qutb Minar. This is in fact a five storied minaret the tallest brick built minaret in the world. It was built as a victory monument in 1192 to celebrate the Victory of Mohammed Ghori which would be the start of the Muslim rule. From looking at a variety of pictures of it before I visited, it is far more impressive than I had imagined it would be. It is made out of red and yellow sandstone and surprisingly enough is hardly weather worn at all. On the outer aspect of the tower there are beautiful Islamic and Hindu calligraphy which adorn and further beautify it.There are five tiers in total that have been added over the centuries and at each level there is a surrounding ornately carved stone projecting balcony. Its total height is 72.5 metres and at the base it is 14 meters deep tapering to 2.7 metres at the top. Internally there are a total of 239 steps which are now not open to the public.In the 13th Century it was hit by lightening during a storm which knocked off one of the tiers. It was replaced by two further tiers giving its five tiers in total. The top two are inlaid with marble which enhances its beauty.The crowning glory was a beautiful copular but that had been destroyed and tumbled to the ground after once again being struck by lightening. A new but Bengali styled copular was placed there by the British Raj but that was removed due to it not being in keeping with the rest of the tower. The copular can be found just adjacent to it in the corner of a lawned area and is known as Smiths Folly.This monument is well deserving of a visit in its own right.The Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque.This is adjacent to the Qutb Minar and was built from some of the stones of 27 destroyed Hindu Jain temples. The prayer yard is surrounded by ornately carved cloisters which were rescued from the temples and used to make the cloistered area. In the middle of the prayer square is the iron pole which will be described separately.To the north side of the mosque are the remains of five Persian arches which must have looked magnificent when it was all intact.The Iron Pillar.This iron pillar is unique in that it was built around 402 AD and was originally in front of a Jain Hindu temple. It was moved to the mosque in 1233 and has remained in its present position ever since. It is approximately 7.21 metres high (23.8 feet) and weighs in excess of six tons. Approximately 3 feet of it is buried below the surface. There is some Sanskrit writing on the outside of the pillar praising its existence to the glory of the lord Vishnu and also to honour a king of the time.The unique thing about this iron pillar is that there is very little evidence of corrosion. Scientific analysis puts this down to the fact that it is approximately 98% pure iron and has survived 1600 years of exposure to the elements. It is quite an amazing feat of human ingenuity to think that it is still intact all these hundreds of hears later.There are other monuments temples and the start of another Minar in the grounds which incidentally never ever was finished and looks quite rough in comparison. It truly is a wonderful historical site and one that the world should hold very dear for future generations to observe and admire.Apparently the Qutb Minar complex actually has received more visitors than the Taj Mahal.Cost of admission 10 Rupees for Indians and 250 Rupees for foreigners which is approximately just over £3.50.
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