Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Qutb Minar - Sight of the Week

Hey, there! I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day and Whit Monday (and maybe a spring bank holiday?). I had a great one that I hope to tell you about later this week. 

In an effort to not totally drone on and on about sights I saw in India, I'm going to try to spread them out and talk about no more than two each week. At least, that's what I hope. :)

On one of my first days in Delhi, I took the wonderful Delhi Metro (I LOVED Delhi's subway system) to South Delhi to one of the city's most distinctive sights. While India is a majority Hindu country, there has been a long history of Muslim influence and rulers who built gorgeous monuments. You might know one called the Taj Mahal. ;)

One of them, Qutb Minar, is an imposing but beautiful red sandstone tower/minaret inscribed with verses from the Qur'an. It was built in the 14th century after Delhi, and many of the surrounding areas, came under Muslim rule. The Qutb Minar is the ultimate "I am no joke. I just took over your country. Hear me roar" monument. Northern India's new rulers wanted to make a statement, and I think they did.

If it looks tall in the picture, I can confirm that it is.

From afar it may not look like much, but I think you really need to get up close and personal with this tower to see how intricate and beautiful it really is. 

 A close up of one of the cylindrical shafts. I love the different shades of red sandstone. 

The Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque, a few steps from the Qutb Minar, is pretty special because it's one of the first mosques built by the Delhi Sultans. 

Entrance to the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque

Quwwat-ul-lslam interior 

Intricate pillars inside Quwwat-ul-Islam

When you enter this part of the complex, don't miss the Iron Pillar. Apparently if you can stand with your back to the pillar and encircle it with your arms, you can have your wish granted. So many people tried to do this that the government had to erect a barrier! I'm not that flexible, so I'll keep looking for other ways to fulfill my dreams. 

The Iron Post

The modern day tourist entrance to the Qutb Minar is actually different from its original entrance, the Alai Darwaza. 

It was starting to rain, so it was pleasant to hang out underneath the Alai Darwaza for a few minutes. 

Right outside the main portion of the complex, another sultan had wanted to build a similar structure to the Qutb Minar called the Alai Minar, but that didn't really work out. Even unfinished, I think it's still pretty cool looking. 

Even if it is a little bit of a trek into the southern most parts of South Delhi, you should definitely take some time to see the Qutb Minar. For me, it was a great way to get some historical perspective on some of the striking Islamic architecture that I'd be seeing throughout Rajasthan. 

Do you ever touch places or things thought to be good luck? Do you throw coins in fountains? I never have change. :(


Erin said...

Sometimes I get into the good luck thing while traveling. I threw coins into Rome's Trevi Fountain when I visited with one of my best pals. In China we lit incense at one of the temples and wrote wishes on little wooden postcards that you hang. You can read other people's wishes and that felt a little intrusive ;) But I would probably skip the Blarney Stone.

Monique said...

Sometimes I do. It depends on how many people are already there trying to get their photo op on. Sometimes I just take my picture and run.

Ekua said...

The detail on here looks amazing. I never made it here. Something I appreciated about a lot of the well known sites in India was that they looked even more beautiful when you could see all the details up close.


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