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Monday, December 29, 2008

Quwwat-ul-Islam (Might of Islam) Masjid

The Quwwat-ul-Islam Masjid can be a bewildering experience for those unfamiliar with its history. On one hand there is the beautiful, curvaceous Islamic calligraphy, the arabesque designs and then there are pillars with clearly pre-Islamic Hindu motifs. The reason is of course quite simple; the pillars were taken from the 27 temples of Qila Rai Pithora, the city of the Rajput king Prithviraj Chauhan. This in fact has been recorded by Qutub-ud-din in his inscriptions, who calls it the Jami Masjid (Friday Mosque) in his inscriptions.

The Construction of The Mosque The mosque was started in 1192 by Qutub-ud-din Aibak, the first ruler of the Slave Dynasty (called so because the founder was once a royal slave). It was finished four years later. However the masjid, much like the Qutub complex itself, never stopped growing and many subsequent rulers, like Altamash in 1230 and Alauddin Khalji in 1315, added their own bits to it.
The Exquisite Interiors As soon as you passing through the entrance (watch out for the steep steps) of the poetically beautiful Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque the intricately carved temple ceiling catches your eye. In front of you will be the spectacular courtyard of the mosque which is lined by the rows of the profusely adorned pillars talked about earlier on both sides. Hindu motifs, like tasseled ropes, bells, tendrils, cows and leaves, frolic all over the mosque. The very first indication of the Islamic character of the building come from the elegant pointed arches with curvaceous and serpentine calligraphy of texts from Quran in Arabic crowning them, towards the west of the mosque.
The Extension of The Structure Later Qutub-ud-din's son-in-law and successor, Altamash had the prayer hall screen extended, and added three more arches besides the original five. The difference between the two arches is interesting: the earlier arches are not really the 'true' arch which is such a hallmark of Islamic architecture, Altamash's arches were built by workmen from Afghanistan and are stylistically quite distinct. They use Islamic motifs such as geometrical shapes rather than naturalistic designs (which were frowned upon by the Muslim clergy) that Hindus used. Ala-ud-din Khalji added a courtyard to the mosquethe entrance to which is the amazing Alai Darwaza.In the mosque compound is the small but pretty tomb of Imam Zamim, who was the Imam (head priest) of the mosque during Sikander Lodi's (1488-1517) reign.

21 comments:

Dr. Pragya bajaj December 29, 2008 at 3:59 PM  

nice....didnt knew this...nice captures n well documented

Anonymous,  December 29, 2008 at 9:14 PM  

ice post n very nice blog

Dr.Nishi Chauhan December 29, 2008 at 9:16 PM  

nice peep into history. good captures

namaki December 29, 2008 at 11:29 PM  

good pictures.... and nice explanations

Anonymous,  December 30, 2008 at 12:00 AM  

good one sir
regards

magiceye December 30, 2008 at 10:00 AM  

this is so interesting and informative... thank you for sharing

Anonymous,  December 30, 2008 at 12:53 PM  

very informative post

Anonymous,  December 30, 2008 at 1:33 PM  

lovely to se bolography of history sir
Regards

nituscorner December 30, 2008 at 8:31 PM  

History sure is very interesting once its out of the text books and classrooms.

Anonymous,  December 31, 2008 at 2:06 PM  

lovely info

Shreya Rajput January 2, 2009 at 12:41 PM  

nice snps acompanied by better documentation

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