After having made substantial additions to the Qutb Minar & the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque within the Qutb Complex, Alauddin Khilji (AD 1296-1316), one of the foremost sultans of the Khilji Dynasty perhaps felt the need for his own magnum opus within the complex. He embarked on an ambitious project that would dwarf all other structures in the entire country, even the mighty Qutb Minar that Qutbuddin established a almost a century earlier as an axis of Islam. Sadly, Alauddin met his creator before he could create another mammoth structure to awe & behold his subjects & the coming generations. His project – the incomplete Alai Minar – still stands in one corner of the Qutb complex, its unfinished exteriors dressed with rubble & stone showing off its unabashed ugliness to all who care to spare a glimpse. Perhaps if this minaret would have been finished, it might have been a new paradigm of architectural magnificence & superiority of skill & taste. But who knows?? Alauddin left behind only the first floor of his minaret (single floor 24.5 m high, compared to the Qutb Minar’s five-storied 72.5 m), & that too tilting to some extent & sans any ornamental work or calligraphic decoration. His descendants did not care to complete his work, even though he raised Qutbuddin’s minaret to new heights. He would certainly have tossed in his grave which lies nearby the Quwwat mosque, but then the incomplete minaret is perhaps the least of his worries now. The roof of his tomb, his final resting place, fell down a long time ago leaving his grave to the mercy of nature. Fate has certainly played hard on this ruler after his death – now he might be dead & under earth, but when he was alive the whole earth was under him!!
|The Alai Minar|
Location : Qutb Complex, Mehrauli, New Delhi
Open : Sunrise to Sunset
Entrance fee : Indians - Rs 10, Foreigners - Rs 250
Photography charges : Nil
Video charges : Rs 25
Nearest Metro Station : Saket Metro Station & Qutb Minar Station are equidistant.
How to reach : Taxis, buses & autos can be availed from different parts of the city. The structures are quite a walk from the metro stations & one will have to take bus/auto from there on.
Time required for sightseeing : 30 min
Facilities available : Wheelchair access, Audio guides.
Relevant Links -
- Pixelated Memories - Alauddin's Tomb & Madrasa Complex
- Pixelated Memories - Qutb Complex
- Pixelated Memories - Qutb Minar
- Pixelated Memories - Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque