Qutub Complex

The Qutub Complex in Mehrauli of New Delhi, as we all know was the starting point of development. Twenty-seven Hindu and Jain temples built previously during Tomars and Chauhans were destroyed and the material was used to make the Mosque and Minar. The work was done in haste and the Indian masons could not use the structural techniques of the true arch and dome, merely imitated shapes only superficially, and most of them would collapse some decades later. However, the largest brick minaret, built as a victory tower, boasts its majestic appearance even today.

The following are the monuments in Qutub Complex

  • Alai Darwaza: Mamluk dynasty did not employ true Islamic architecture styles and used false domes and false arches. The first example of the true arch and true dome is in Alai Darwaja located in Qutub Complex. It was built by Ala-ud-din Khilji in 1311 AD.
  • Qutb Minar: The minar is originally inspired by the Afghan architecture. It was to be built as a Victory Tower, to commemorate the victory of Mohammed Ghori. Its construction, as we all know was started by Qutub-ud-din and was finished by Iltutmish and later repaired by Firoz Shah Tughlaq and Sikandar Lodi.
  • Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque: This was first mosque built in Delhi after the Islamic conquest of India and the oldest surviving example of Ghurids architecture in Indian subcontinent. Built mainly on the rubbles of the 27 Hindu and Jain temples.
  • Alauddin Khilji’s tomb and madarsa: This stands as one of the early example of amateur Islamic architecture in India.
  • Alai Minar: Alauddin wanted to build a minar that should be double of height of the Qutub Minar. But this dream could never become true as the Sultan died even when the first storey was not complete!

In the oldest courtyard stands an iron pillar 7.5m long, which is thought to have been produced by Chandragupta II, in the 4th century. It was a Stambha dedicated to a Vishnu temple according to its inscription, and it seems to have been brought here before the Islamic conquest. This wrought iron pillar, with a Gupta-style capital on the top, is so highly refined that it has not suffered rust at all in spite of its exposure to the elements for 1,600 years.

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