Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Kos Minar: the Mile pillars of ancient India

Kos Minar or the Mile Pillar is similar to the modern Mile Stones which can be seen along the major highways of the nation build in past, standing till today.

Kos is unit of measuring distance in the ancient India. One Kos is approximately equal to 3.2 km (2 miles). Minar happens to be a Persian word which is used for Tower. In the famous book Akbar Nama which was written in 1575 AD by Abul Fazl it is quoted that Emperor Akbar ordered for the construction of Kos Minar on every Kos from Agra to Ajmer for the comfort of the travelers. These Kos Minars had many caravan sarai (motels or roadside inns) for the comfort of the travelers.

Kos Minar on Delhi Agra highway

Kos Minar or the Mile Pillars were constructed in the medieval time in Indian subcontinent. Kos Minar was initially constructed by the Afghan Ruler Sher Shah Suri which was later copied by the famous Mughal emperors. Kos Minars were constructed by the Mughal Emperors on the main and major highways across their empire to mark the distance. Kos Minar was a solid round pillar which was about 30 feet above the ground on a masonry platform. Kos Minar was build with bricks and then plastered with lime. Kos Minar was not an architecturally important or impressive building but it played an important role in respect to communication and travelling in the large empire.
Kos Minar on National Highway No. 2

Kos Minars were to be seen on the royal route that was important in the Mughal period, from Agra on route to Ajmer through Jaipur in the western part of India. Kos Minars were also visible in the northern part on the route from Agra to Lahore via Delhi and from Agra to Mandu through Shivpuri which was the southern route. Kos Minar can be seen on the modern highways of the present India as the route remains the same as that of the olden days.
Kos Minar 380 kms from Kanpur

During the reign of Emperor Jahangir and Shan Jahan many of the Kos Minars were constructed which we like following the footprints of their famous predecessors. In the later years of the Mughal rule the Kos Minars were constructed in the farthest cities of the kingdom to Peshawar in the north-west and to the Bengal in the Far East through Kannauj (city of perfumes in Uttar Pradesh). This distance is calculated to virtual geographic span of about 3000 kms having more than 1000 Kos Minars along this route which was major Mughal highway to the ratio of 1 minar on every Kos or 3 km.

Kos Minar has not been taken care and thus few are to be seen in the present time all because of the Archeological Survey of India who has taken the responsibility to preserve these monuments. On the oldest highway of India Grand Trunk Road people can see these monuments which are the milestones of the yester years.

As per the report of the Archeology Survey of India there are about 49 Kos Minars in the state of Haryana and about 5 of the Kos Minar on the Delhi Agra highway in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Few of these Kos Minars are preserved in Pakistan also.

1 comment:

  1. Mr.Nadeem
    Ihave always appreciated your blogs because of your choiced subjects.It is good to read such an informative blog which truely saying not known to me also.I am sure that majority may not be knowing.This is just not a information but a very important part of Historical information.I PERSONALLY ONCE AGAIN THANKYOU FOR SHARING.NICE EFFORT KEEP IT UP.ZIA NAQVI.