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Qutb Minar

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Qutb Minar
Qutb Minar 2011.jpg
Minar in Delhi, India
CoordinatesCoordinates: 28°31′28″N 77°11′07″E / 28.524355°N 77.185248°E / 28.524355; 77.185248
Height72.5 metres (238 ft)
Architectural style(s)Islamic Architecture
TypeCultural
Criteria4
Designated1993 (17th session)
Reference no.233
Country India
ContinentAsia
ConstructionStarted in 1199 by Qutb-ud-din Aibak / completed in ~ 1220 by his son-in-law Iltutmish[1][2]
Qutb Minar is located in India
Qutb Minar
Location of Qutb Minar in India

The Qutb Minar, also spelled as Qutub Minar and Qutab Minar, is a minaret and "victory tower" that forms part of the Qutb complex. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Mehrauli area of New Delhi, India.[3][4] It is one of most visited tourist spots in the city due to it being one of the earliest that survives in the Indian subcontinent.[5][6][3]

It can be compared to the 62-metre all-brick Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan, of c. 1190, which was constructed a decade or so before the probable start of the Delhi tower.[7] The surfaces of both are elaborately decorated with inscriptions and geometric patterns. The Qutb Minar has a shaft that is fluted with "superb stalactite bracketing under the balconies" at the top of each stage.[8][9][10] In general, minarets were slow to be used in India and are often detached from the main mosque where they exist.[11]

A Synthesis of South Asian and Islamic Architecture

This victory tower is a symbol of the synthesis of traditional Islamic architecture and Southwestern Asian design. Elizabeth Lambourn’s Islam Beyond Empires: Mosques and Islamic Landscapes in India and the Indian Ocean studies the introduction of Islam in South Asia and how the region influenced the Islamic religious architecture.[12] These newly arrived Muslims from the Islamic West escaped the Mongol Empire and emigrated to India, where they constructed religious centers. The Qutb Minar serves as a central marker to these new Muslim communities as well as being a reminder of Islam's presence in the area.[12] The architecture of the minaret varies greatly from that of the typical style and design of the mosques constructed in the Middle East. The style of these structures is heavily influenced by the local architecture such as the Indic temples. This affected the different materials, techniques, and decoration that were used in the construction of the Qutb Minar.[12]

The minaret is unique in that historically, these tower minarets were uncommon in South Asian-Islamic design until the 17th century. This lag is due to the slow adoption of the typical Middle Eastern style in India.[12] It is also detached from the main mosque, showcasing how the native culture affected the design of a Middle Eastern structure.[11] The Qutb Minar is seen as the "earliest and best example of a fusion or synthesis of Hindu-Muslim traditions" according to Ved Parkash in his essay The Qutb Minar from Contemporary and Near Contemporary Sources.[12] Like many mosques built in South Asia during this time period, the minaret was constructed by Hindu laborers and craftsmen but overseen by Muslim architects.[12] This led to a construction that synthesized both Hindu and Islamic religious architecture. Since the craftsmen were Hindu and unfamiliar with the Quran, the inscriptions are a compilation of disarranged Quranic texts and other Arabic expressions.[12]

History

The Qutb Minar was built over the ruins of the Lal Kot, the citadel of Dhillika.[6] Qutub Minar was begun after the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, which was started around 1192 by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, first ruler of the Delhi Sultanate.[13]

Kuttull Minor, Delhi. The Qutb Minar, 1805.

It is usually thought that the tower is named for Qutb-ud-din Aibak, who began it. It is also possible that it is named after Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki a 13th-century sufi saint, because Shamsuddin Iltutmish was a devotee of his.[14]

The Minar is surrounded by several historically significant monuments of the Qutb complex. Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, to the north-east of the Minar was built by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak in A.D. 1198. It is the earliest extant - mosque built by the Delhi Sultans. It consists of a rectangular courtyard enclosed by cloisters, erected with the carved columns and architectural members of 27 Hindu and Jaina temples, which were demolished by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak as recorded in his inscription on the main eastern entrance.[15] Later, a lofty arched screen was erected, and the mosque was enlarged, by Shams-ud- Din Itutmish (A.D. 1210-35) and Ala-ud-Din Khalji. The Iron Pillar in the courtyard bears an inscription in Sanskrit in Brahmi script of fourth century A.D., according to which the pillar was set up as a Vishnudhvaja (standard of god Vishnu) on the hill known as Vishnupada in memory of a mighty king named Chandra.[15]

The mosque complex is one of the earliest that survives in the Indian subcontinent.[5][6]

The nearby pillared cupola known as "Smith's Folly" is a remnant of the tower's 19th century restoration, which included an ill-advised attempt to add some more stories.[16][17]

In 1505, an earthquake damaged Qutub Minar; it was repaired by Sikander Lodi. On 1 September 1803, a major earthquake caused serious damage. Major Robert Smith of the British Indian Army renovated the tower in 1828 and installed a pillared cupola over the fifth story, creating a sixth. The cupola was taken down in 1848, under instructions from The Viscount Hardinge, who was the Governor General of India. at the time. It was reinstalled at ground level to the east of Qutb Minar, where it remains. This is known as "Smith's Folly".[18]

It was added to the list of World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993.

The Ghurids

The construction of the Qutb Minar was planned and financed by an Afghani tribe, the Ghurids, who emigrated to India and brought Islam with them. The Ghurids, historically known as the Shansabanis, were a clan of Tajik origin that hailed from Ghur, the mountainous region of modern-day western Afghanistan.[19] In the late eleventh century to the early twelfth century, the different sects of this nomadic clan united, losing its nomadic culture. During this time, they also converted to Islam.[19]

They then expanded into modern-day India and quickly took control of a substantial part of the country.[19]The Ghurids annexed the Multan and Uch in the western Punjab in 1175-76, the northwestern regions around Peshawar in 1177, and the region of Sindh in 1185-86. In 1193, Qutb al-Din Aibek conquered Delhi and implemented a Ghurid governorship in the province, and the congregational mosque, the Qutb Minar complex, was founded in 1193.[19] In the past, scholars believed that the complex was constructed to promote a conversion to Islam amongst the Ghurids' new subjects as well as a symbol of the Ghurids' adherence to a socio-religious system.[19] There is now new information to suggest that conversion to Islam was not a top priority of the new annexes and instead the Ghurid governors sought to make a synthesis of the local culture and Islam through negotiation.[19]

The Patrons and Architects

Qutb-ud-din Aibak, a deputy of Muhammad of Ghor, who founded the Delhi Sultanate after Muhammad of Ghor's death, started construction of the Qutb Minar's first story in 1199. Aibak's successor and son-in-law Shamsuddin Iltutmish completed a further three stories.[14] After a lightning strike in 1369 damaged the then top story, the ruler at the time, Firuz Shah Tughlaq, replaced the damaged story and added one more. Sher Shah Suri also added an entrance while he was ruling and the Mughal emperor Humayun was in exile.[1]

Architecture

Qutb Minar in Mehrauli in Delhi. Clifton and Co., around 1890

Pesrian-Arabic and Nagari in different sections of the Qutb Minar reveal the history of its construction and the later restorations and repairs by Firoz Shah Tughluq (1351–88) and Sikandar Lodi (1489–1517).[20]

The height of Qutb Minar is 72.5 meters, making it the tallest minaret in the world built of bricks.[2][21] The tower tapers, and has a 14.3 metres (47 feet) base diameter, reducing to 2.7 metres (9 feet) at the top of the peak.[22] It contains a spiral staircase of 379 steps.[13][1]

The whole tower contains a spiral staircase of 379 steps.[13] At the foot of the tower is the Quwat Ul Islam Mosque. The Minar tilts just over 65 cm from the vertical, which is considered to be within safe limits.[23]

Qutb Minar was an inspiration and prototype for many minarets and towers built. The Chand Minar and Mini Qutub Minar bear resemblance to the Qutb Minar and inspired from it.[24]

The Stories of the Qutb Minar

The stories of the Qutb Minar vary in size, style, and material due to varying architects and builders constructing each section.

The Basement Story of the Qutb Minar

The Qutb Minar consists of five stories of red and grey sandstone. The lowest story, also known as the basement story, was completed during the lifetime of Ghiyeth al-Din Muhammad, a sultan during the Ghurid dynasty.[25]

It is revetted with twelve semicircular and twelve flanged pilasters that are placed in alternating order.[25] This story is separated by flanges and by storied balconies, carried on Muqarnas corbels.[26] The story is placed on top of a low circular plinth that is inscribed with a twelve-pointed star with a semicircle placed with each of the angles between the star’s points.[25]

There are also six horizontal bands with inscriptions inscribed in naskh, a style of Islamic calligraphy, on this story. The inscriptions are as follows: Quran, sura II, verses 255-60; Quran, sura LIX, verses 22-23, and attributes of God; The name and titles of Ghiyath al-Din; Quran, sura XLVIII, verses 1-6; The name and titles of Mu’izz al-Din; and Qur’anic quotations and the following titles in this much restored inscription: "The Amir, the most glorious and great commander of the army."[25] This level also has inscriptions praising Muhammad of Ghor, the sultan of the Ghurids.[14]

The Second, Third, and Fourth Stories

The second, third, and fourth stories were erected by Sham ud-Din Iltutmish, the first Muslim sovereign to rule from Delhi.[27] He is considered to be the first of the Delhi Sultan dynastic line.[27] The second and third stories are also revetted with twelve semicircular and twelve flanged pilasters that are placed in alternating order.[25] These red sandstone columns are separated by flanges and by storied balconies, carried on Muqarnas corbels.[26] Prior to its reconstruction and reduction, the fourth story was also decorated with semicircular pilasters.[25] It was re-constructed in white marble and is relatively plain.[26]

The Fifth Story

In 1369, the fourth story was repaired after lightning struck the minaret. During reconstruction, Sultan Firuz Shah Tughlaq elected to reduce the size of the fourth story and then separated it into two stories.[27]

Controversy

On 14 November 2000, Delhi newspapers reported that the Hindu nationalist groups, Vishva Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal, planned to host a yajna, a ritualistic Hindu ceremony related to cleansing or purification, at the Qutub Minar complex where the minaret is located.[15] The Delhi police detained 80 activists led by Ram Krishan Gaur that were located by the Qutb Minar and were stopped from performing the yajna inside the tower. Due to a police barricade, the activists instead performed the ritual on the streets outside the mosque complex.[28] Since the spolia of Jain and Hindu temples were used to construct the minaret, the right-wing Hindu groups believed that they needed to perform a cleansing at the complex in order to free the Hindu icons that were "trapped" in the minaret and the mosque complex.[15]

Accidents

Before 1976, the general public was allowed access to the first floor of the minaret, via the internal staircase. Access to the top was stopped after 2000 due to suicides. On 4 December 1981, the staircase lighting failed. Between 300 and 400 visitors stampeded towards the exit. 45 were killed and some were injured. Most of these were school children.[29] Since then, the tower has been closed to the public. Since this incident the rules regarding entry have been stringent.[30]

In Literature

Letitia Elizabeth Landon's poem The Qutb Minar, Delhi is a reflection on an engraving in Fisher's Drawing Room Scrap Book, 1833.

In Popular Culture

Bollywood actor and director Dev Anand wanted to shoot the song "Dil Ka Bhanwar Kare Pukar" from his film Tere Ghar Ke Samne inside the Minar. However, the cameras in that era were too big to fit inside the tower's narrow passage, and therefore the song was shot inside a replica of the Qutb Minar[31]

The site served as the Pit Stop of the second leg of the second series of The Amazing Race Australia.[32]

A picture of the minaret is featured on the travel cards and tokens issued by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. A recently launched start-up in collaboration with the Archaeological Survey of India has made a 360o walkthrough of Qutb Minar available.[33]

Ministry of Tourism recently gave seven companies the 'Letters of Intent' for fourteen monuments under its 'Adopt a Heritage Scheme.' These companies will be the future 'Monument Mitras.' Qutb Minar has been chosen to part of that list.[34][35]

Gallery

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c "Qutub Minar". qutubminardelhi.com. Archived from the original on 22 June 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  2. ^ a b History And Civics - Page 40. ISBN 9788131763193.
  3. ^ a b "WHC list". who.unesco.org. 2009. Archived from the original on 27 November 2018. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  4. ^ Singh (2010). Longman History & Civics ICSE 7. Pearson Education India. p. 42. ISBN 978-81-317-2887-1. Archived from the original on 28 May 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  5. ^ a b "Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque". qutubminardelhi.com. Archived from the original on 25 July 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  6. ^ a b c Ali Javid; ʻAlī Jāvīd; Tabassum Javeed (1 July 2008). World Heritage Monuments and Related Edifices in India. pp. 14, 105, 107, 130. ISBN 9780875864846. Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2009.
  7. ^ Also two huge minarets at Ghazni.
  8. ^ Ettinghausen, Grabar & Jenkins 2003, p. 164.
  9. ^ Harle 1994, p. 424.
  10. ^ Blair & Bloom 1996, p. 149.
  11. ^ a b Harle 1994, p. 429.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Lambourn, Elizabeth A. (2017). "Islam beyond Empires". A Companion to Islamic Art and Architecture. pp. 755–776. doi:10.1002/9781119069218.ch30. ISBN 978-1-119-06921-8.
  13. ^ a b c "Qutub Minar". Archived from the original on 16 January 2018. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  14. ^ a b c "Qutub Minar Height". qutubminardelhi.com. Archived from the original on 29 June 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  15. ^ a b c d Rajagopalan, Mrinalini (2012). "A Medieval Monument and Its Modern Myths of Iconoclasm: The Enduring Contestations over the Qutb Complex in Delhi, India". In Kinney, Dale; Brilliant, Richard (eds.). Reuse Value: Spolia and Appropriation in Art and Architecture from Constantine to Sherrie Levine. Ashgate Publishing. pp. 199–221. doi:10.4324/9781315606187. ISBN 978-1-4094-8684-8.
  16. ^ Wright, Colin. "Ruin of Hindu pillars, Kootub temples, Delhi". www.bl.uk. Archived from the original on 30 June 2019. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  17. ^ Wright, Colin. "Rao Petarah's Temple, Delhi". www.bl.uk. Archived from the original on 8 July 2019. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  18. ^ "Qutub Minar and Smiths Folly - an architectural disaster." 👌👍Archived 7 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine, WordPress.
  19. ^ a b c d e f Patel, A. (2004). "Toward Alternative Receptions of Ghurid Architecture in North India (Late Twelfth-Early Thirtheenth Century CE)". Archives of Asian Art. 54: 35–61. doi:10.1484/aaa.2004.0004. JSTOR 20111315.
  20. ^ Plaque at Qutb Minar
  21. ^ "World's tallest buildings, monuments and other structures".
  22. ^ "Qutb Minar Height". qutubminardelhi.com. Archived from the original on 29 June 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  23. ^ Verma, Richi (24 January 2009). "Qutb Minar tilting due to seepage: Experts". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 31 October 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  24. ^ Koch, Ebba (1991). "The Copies of the Quṭb Mīnār". Iran. 100: 95–186. doi:10.2307/4299851. JSTOR 4299851.
  25. ^ a b c d e f Pinder-Wilson, Ralph (2001). "Ghaznavid and Ghūrid Minarets". Iran. 39: 155–186. doi:10.2307/4300603. ISSN 0578-6967. JSTOR 4300603.
  26. ^ a b c "Qutub Minar". Archived from the original on 16 January 2018. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  27. ^ a b c Shafiqullah, Shah Muhammad (1 January 1993). "The Qutb Minar: An Observation on Its Calligraphy". Islamic Quarterly. 37 (4): 281–286. ProQuest 1304273557.
  28. ^ "VHP yajna thwarted". The Tribune. Chandigarh, India. 14 November 2000.
  29. ^ "Around the World; 45 Killed in Stampede at Monument in India". The New York Times. 5 December 1981. Archived from the original on 16 February 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  30. ^ Khandekar, Nivedita (4 December 2012). "31 yrs after tragedy, Qutub Minar's doors remain shut". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 14 February 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  31. ^ Mehul S Thakkar, Mumbai Mirror 22 Nov 2011, IST (22 November 2011). "30 years later, Qutub ready to face the camera". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 2 September 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2012.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  32. ^ "Mehrauli Qutub Minar UNESCO World Heritage Complex Tour Guide - Destination Overview". Holiday Travel. 12 December 2011. Archived from the original on 31 December 2019. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  33. ^ "Qutub Minar in MEHRAULI, Delhi - 360-degree view on WoNoBo.com". Places.wonobo.com. Archived from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  34. ^ "Adopt a Heritage Scheme, Qutub Minar, Delhi - to be adopted by Yatra.com". India Today. Archived from the original on 30 December 2019. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  35. ^ "Clean water to free WiFi: What Yatra.com will provide after adopting Qutub Minar". theprint.in. Retrieved 2 November 2018.

References

  • Blair, Sheila S.; Bloom, Jonathan M. (1996). The Art and Architecture of Islam 1250-1800. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-06465-0.
  • Harle, James C. (1994). The Art and Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-06217-5.
  • Ettinghausen, Richard; Grabar, Oleg; Jenkins, Marilyn (2003). Islamic Art and Architecture 650-1250: 2nd Edition. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-08869-4.

External links