Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Qutb Minar – The Brand Ambassador of India

Qutb Minar  قطب مینار क़ुतब मिनार is a minaret which is a magnificent building placed in New Delhi. A minaret which is masterpiece of art and culture, built in the time when technology was not as advanced to the present days still was the best.

To make history the human beings have done immense labour and left many remarkable things for us to praise them. It is our endeavour to show you some of the historic monuments which are part of the glorious past and the land mark of cultural heritage of present.
Qutb Minar (file photograph)
India has been the land of rich cultural heritage, natural wealth, and natural beauty, which attracted many foreign invaders, who left the marks of their glory and these monuments which came into existence became quiescent but still clamant of the cultural fusion with harmony.

A city silently previewed the rise and fall of many citadels of mighty emperors even before the human history was penned. A city whose ruins are the tell tale of the cultures and the dynasties. The sole witness to the 5000 years history full of illustriousness and prestige is the eternal Jamuna, river which flows through this city majestically. Pandavas transformed barren gift of the Kauravas into a manmade heaven, Indraprastha being the initial name of the present Delhi.

Sultan Muhammad Ghuri and his slave lieutenant Qutb-ud-din Aibak led their first invasion in 1175 and then lately conquered the city in 1193; therefore Delhi became the first capital under Turkish rule.

Sultan Mohammad Ghuri returned to his land leaving behind his slave lieutenant Qutb-ud-din Aibak, to take charge of the land they won. Aibak was a young and ambitious ruler who started the slave dynasty and was proclaimed the Sultan of Delhi after the assassination of Mohammad in 1206.

To commemorate the victory over the conquered land of Delhi a memorial monument was thought about.

The inspiration for such a building, which is an example of Indo – Islamic Architecture inspired from the Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan.  Qutb-ud-din Aibak also had a thought to surpass it.

The minaret is a combination of red sandstone and white marble towering to the height of 72.5 metres. One could scale to the tower climbing 379 steps. The structural dimensions of this magnificent tower are 14.3 metres at the base in circumference and narrowing to the top to about 2.75 metres.

It was Allauddin Khilji who started to build a new tower unlike Qutb Minar. Alau Minar was just constructed to the height of 24.5 metres when the construction was ceased due to demise of Allauddin Khilji.
Qutb Minar having Quranic Verses (file photograph)
The exterior of the minaret is decorated with the Quranic Verses Aayaats, honeycomb designs and other ornamental craftsmanship. This monument which is a master piece in it own has five stories having a protecting balcony supported by stone brackets. The initial construction was commenced by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, but after his demise the work of the minaret was carried on by his son-in-law and the ruler of Delhi, Iltutmish. The first three stories of this minaret are made of red sandstone which was under the guidance of Iltutmish. The sequential floor numbering to fourth and fifth are made from the artistic blending of marble and red sandstone which was completed by Firoz Shah Tughlak.

The inevitable question which haunts the observer on the first sight of this building is as to what was the need for building of this kind? There can be number of assumption which can be given to suppress the query. It could have been used to make the call for the prayers for the congregation at the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque or may the building signify the might of the ruler of that era or to use it as a watch tower, because the bird’s eye view from the tower could capture the movements of the enemy from a safe and to a great distance. These are the mere speculations which have not been answered till date. Some have even associated the tower to a towering saint Qutb-ud-din Bakhtiar Kaki, whose rest place is near this masterpiece, and this saint from Baghdad was greatly venerated by Iltutmish, but others argue it to be named after the first slave ruler Qutb-ud-din Aibak.

The entrance to this ornate tower is colossal Alai Darwaza, which was an addition to the personality of it by Allauddin Khilji in 1310 standing to the south-east of Qutb. This gateway is said to have been constructed by the architectures hired from Byzantine and Turkey and is the first ever gateway made in India with a bow-type arch.

The complex of Qutb Minar has many other awesome attractions once you enter the Alai Darwaza. The tomb of Imam Zamin who came to India in 16th century, tomb of Iltutmish to the north-west corner of Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque said to be the first mosque made on the Indian soil. There is an L-shaped graveyard of Seljuk design where Allauddin Khilji was cremated to the south-west of the mosque.

The most amazing thing in this complex is the world’s foremost metallurgical curiosities the Iron Pillar. Chandragupta II Vikramaditya who ruled from 375 to 414 BC is the person behind this pillar which is seven metres tall and six tons in weight. It has never got rusted which make it to be a unique thing.

Nature is the best test for the building which may be the memorial of strength, power, and might. But, Qutb Minar is standing for the last 800 year and has braved number of major earthquakes. Sikandar Lodi repaired the minar in 1505 after the earthquake damaged some portion.  In the year 1794 the damaged was take care by Major Smith but he also removed the pavilion of Firoz Shah Tughlak with his own and in the year 1848 Lord Hardinge restored the pavilion.

It is a dream come true when one is standing next to this minar which is the tallest brick minar in the world. The visitors also try to clasp their hands around the iron pillar, proving themselves to be auspicious. Indeed once entering the complex one feel being teleported to the glorious past of the 12 th century.
Qutb, standing doughtily for the past eight centuries leaning 60 centimeters of vertical in a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Ubiquitous is this majestic placard of India which can be seen on everything which speaks for India. Qutb is one of the brand ambassadors of the biggest democracy of the world that is India.

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