1206, Qutbuddin crowned himself as the Sultan of the Slave or Mamluk dynasty,
and became the first Muslim ruler of Delhi. Qutbuddin, had however,
commenced his architectural career even before he chose to become the sultan.
The mosque was essential to the Islamic emphasis on congregational prayer, while
the burial of the dead, as opposed to cremation, introduced the tomb to India.
The earliest of these Islamic structures are to be seen in the Qutub complex
and the incorporation of many Hindu elements is due to the ready availability
of building material and the use of local craftsmen. Qutbuddin raised the Quwwat-ul-Islam
(might of Islam) mosque, which is the earliest extant mosque in India.
In 1199, Qutbuddin raised the Qutub Minar either as a victory tower or as a
minaret to the adjacent mosque. From a base of 14.32 mtrs it tapers to 2.75
mtrs at a height of 72.5 mtrs. It is still the highest stone tower in India,
one of the finest tower Islamic structures ever raised and Delhi's recognized
It was completed by the Sultan's successor and son-in-low, Iltutmish. The tomb
of Iltutmish, which he himself built in 1235, is nearby. Its interiors are profusely
decorated with calligraphy, thought the dome has collapsed.
The Khalji rulers displaced the Slave dynasty in 1290, and when Alauddin Khali
ordered renovations of the mosque in 1311, he also raised the impressive Alai
Darwaza, the southern entrance to the mosque.
It is the first example of a building employing wholly Islamic principles of
construction, including the true arch. In 1303, Alauddin, established the second
city of Delhi, called Siri, of which nothing remains but the embattlements.
He also had dug a vast reservoir, Hauz Khas, to sypply water to his city.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Delhi is the "visibility" of
its historic past. Were it not for the demands of urbanization, large portions
of the city could well be earmarked as archaeological parks.
This is because the rulers of successive dynasties between the 13th and the
17th centuries established seven cities in different parts of Delhi.
A chronological review of these cities fortunately also serves as a suitable
itinerary for tourists and highlights the important monuments amongst the 1300
Today, only the ramparts are visible near the Qutub Minar , though the city
is known to have had several Hindu and Jain temples.
Prithviraj was ruling Delhi when Muhammad of Ghur invaded India, and died fighting
the invader at the Second Battle of Tarain in 1192. Ghur returned, but left
as his viceroy, his slave Qutbuddin Aibak.
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