Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A visit to Qutab Minar

Down the road from our house (sort of) is the Qutab Minar complex. The feature monument of the complex is the 73mtr tall minaret that is visible from all around Delhi.

It is the tallest brick minaret in the world.

It was built to celebrate the victory of Sultan Mohammed Ghori over the Rajput king Prithviraj Chauhan. His victory began the Muslim rule over northern India

Construction of the minaret started in 1192 and the fifth storey was added in 1358.

The complex also houses tombs and a mosque.

It was a quite interesting place to wander around yesterday.

It was the midday sun and it quite hazy so the photos are a bit washed out:

To give a sense of the size of the minaret

The most fascinating part of the complex that I really wanted to see was the iron pillar and this is based on a book I read as a teenager – in 1968, a German author (Erich von Daniken) wrote a book called “Chariots of the Gods”.

The main theory of the book was that the gods of ancient history and those that form the basis of religions were, in fact, based on human contact with alien astronauts.

Even better, he reckoned that certain ancient structures and artefacts represented technology far and above what was thought capable of by humans at the time, therefore it had to come from aliens.

In his book, he used the iron pillar of Qutab Minar as an example of this.

Okkkkay !!

Can I point out that since his book was published, alot of his theories have been dismissed as pseudo science.

On a more serious note - legend has it that if you could stand with your back to the iron pillar and make your hands meet behind it, you were granted a wish. The practice led to significant wear and visible discoloration on the lower portion of the pillar.

The pillar is now fenced off.

As with any monument in India, there will inevitably be a pack of dogs doing what dog’s in India do best – sleep !! Qutab Minar was no exception as the following photos show:

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