It was my third visit but I am still quite awed by the magnificence of this edifice along with all the other ruins and architectural marvels spread around it. I wanted to go slow and cover each and every curve and the angle of the place but we were in a hurry. I felt a tinge of disappointment when we had to finally turn back as the sun was setting upon it.
The Minar was built by Qutub-ud-din-Aibak in 1193 and is considered one of the tallest brick minaret standing today in the world. Muhammed Ghori had defeated Prithvi Raj Chauhan. Qutub-ud-din-Aibak was the slave of Muhammed Ghori and he was left to take care of all the Indian possessions when Ghori went back to Afghan. He became the ruler of Hindustan when Ghori died. I kept wondering what would have inspired him to build such a tall building in the first place. Was it pride or security or to show the world his power and dominance. One would never be able to find the true answer. This tower is so tall that if one goes up to the top floor and looks around, he/she would be able to see the entire stretch of Delhi from all the sides. So this could have been used like a watch tower to monitor activities of enemies or attacks planned on the city. However, some believe that it was built to celebrate his victory over the Hindu rulers. It is also said that it was built along with the Mosque to be used for the call for prayer.
We decided to go in from the south side this time. On the southern side is the tomb of Imam Zamin or Imam Muhammed Ali who came from Turkistan and was in some way connected with the Quwwat-Ul-Islam Mosque. The tomb stands on 12 pillars with perforated carvings of red sandstone with a dome standing on marble and red sandstone terrace. It has a marble door on one side. From there, we entered the Alai Durwaza.
I fell in love with Alai Durwaza!
The tall arched gateway looked stunning. The intricate carvings and engravings on the walls of this tall square domed building look splendid and superb. I couldn’t just take my eyes and hands off and move on. These looked liked blocks of ornamental artworks placed one upon the other going up to the roof. It was a marvel how these constructions were carried out. The masonry work, the building architecture and designs had influences of various cultures. Some of the designs seem to be from Central Asia – probably done by artisans who had taken refuge in India due to Mongol attacks.
From the Alai Durwaza, we came into the Mosque area. The courtyard was surrounded by pillars of cloisters ornately designed with Indian art motifs. There are various stories surrounding the construction of these places. Some say that many Hindu temples were destroyed and this building came up in place of that and the other concept is that Indian artisans were used to construct the building in the beginning and therefore there is influence of indian designs while in the additional structures added on by other rules have more Islamic designs incorporated.