Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi

In a complete break with all my previous (and as it turned out, subsequent) train journeys in India, the one from Bhopal to Delhi included free food. The train left just before 3pm and arrived close to midnight, closer than advertised certainly. During that time they served us five meals (well, they weren’t all full meals, let’s call them dietary interventions) of various sizes and types. By the time I got to my rather nice hotel I was stuffed and had pockets full of packaged snacks that kept me going for days.

Qutb Minar

Qutb Minar

That trip to the hotel involved joining the scrum queue at the pre-paid Police taxi booth in the station car park, finding a driver who was prepared to actually take the voucher without the promise of an extra substantial ‘tip’ and then scarpering with my backpack when we finally found the hotel, with the cry “more money” ringing in my ears. Delhi taxi drivers are rapacious.

Qutb Minar - calligraphic carving

Qutb Minar – calligraphic carving

In addition to the general attraction of being Delhi, the city has three world heritage sites, my first visit being to this one, a few kilometers south of the centre via the terrific metro (where they frisk and bag scan everyone on entry – imagine that on the Tube!)  and a slightly too long walk.

reused Hindu temple columns at Qutb Minar mosque

reused Hindu temple columns at Qutb Minar mosque

Qutb Minar is a 72m high red sandstone minaret from the early thirteenth century, with later alterations to the top, which also lost its crowning cupola in an earthquake. The surrounding monuments include the remains of two mosques, one built using stone pillars from demolished Hindu temples.

Iron pillar in mosque courtyard at Qutb Minar

Iron pillar in mosque courtyard at Qutb Minar

The site is further garnished with some ornate tombs, a 7m tall iron pillar renowned for its un-corroded state (due to serendipitous metallurgy and environment, not magic, religion or aliens) and the huge base of the unfinished Alai Minar, intended to be twice the height of Qutb.

Alai Minar at Qutb Minar

Alai Minar at Qutb Minar

Finally, there is a marble-inlaid entrance gate called the Alai Darwaza, which I chose for my Lego model.

Alai Darwaza gate at Qutb Minar

Alai Darwaza gate at Qutb Minar

My dome is a little too small, but otherwise, I felt this one turned out not too badly.

Lego Qutb Minar

Lego Qutb Minar

To the south is a scrubby wooded Archeological Park dotted with a large number of ruins from various periods. I explored them on the way back to a different (but equally inconveniently located) metro station. My favourite was this deep step well and surrounding building.

Archealogical Park near Qutb Minar

Archealogical Park near Qutb Minar

This photograph shows what is just over the lip in the foreground of the picture above.

Archealogical Park near Qutb Minar

Archealogical Park near Qutb Minar

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4 Responses to Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi

  1. MartinO'London says:

    And did you go down these stairs?
    The ‘7m tall iron pillar renowned for its un-corroded state’ made a visit to the Science Museum back in the early ’80’s for it’s ‘Treasures of India’ exhibition.

    • Jax says:

      I didn’t go down the stairs – they did not look that safe and there were some rather dubious looking men hanging around the place too, so I didn’t fancy going down a dead end.

      I’m really surprised India sent the pillar abroad and didn’t know we’d had it on loan. It is buring some way into the ground so removal ecould be interesting. Goodness!

  2. drsnyc says:

    I remain just a little unconvinced that the Alai Minar is not the work of aliens – possibly resembling termites? (In my eyes) a strange building -and considering those to which you have exposed your readers in the last couple of years ,,, My apologies for allowing my cultural chauvinism to surface on this occasion.

    • Jax says:

      What a wonderful image – huge alien termites! (Have you seen Starship Troopers?) I think the reason it looks so crappy is because all that is there is the core without a cut stone cladding.

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