Haunting legacy

Print edition : January 20, 2017

The Qutb Minar as seen from the main entrance to the complex. Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha

Balconies with mini alcoves separate the different storeys of the Qutb Minar. The first storey has alternate circular and angular flutings, the second has circular flutings and the third has angular flutings. Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha

The madrasa complex that Alauddin Khalji built. Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha

The Masid-i jami. The Qutb mosque has erroneously been called the Quwwat-ul-Islam, or the "Might of Islam". Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha

The interior chamber of Iltumish's tomb. One can see the squinch arches, pendentives and the marble mihrab (niche on the qibla wall) and cenotaph. Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha

Imam Zamin's grave. Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha

Vertical bands of Arabic calligraphy and leafy arabesques on the screen Qutbuddin Aibak constructed. Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha

The courtyard of the Qutb mosque. The screen Qutbuddin Aibak erected around 1199 is on the left and the portion Iltutmish added lies on the right. In the centre is the Iron Pillar, which has not rusted or corroded in over 1,600 years. Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha

The inscription on the Iron Pillar. Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha

The Qutb mosque as seen from the south. Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha

The incomplete Alai Minar. Alauddin Khalji had planned it to be twice as big as the Qutb Minar, but it was abondoned following his death. Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha

One of the calligraphic bands on the Qutb Minar. Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha

Statues that once adorned temples. Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha

Kirti mukha, a common decorative motif on the reused pillars of the Qutb mosque. Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha

A carved pillar in the eastern cloister of the Qutb mosque. Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha

The Alai Darwaza. It was the first building in India to employ wholly Islamic architectural principles of construction in terms of symmetry and ornamentation. Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha

A horseshoe arch in the Darwaza with beautifully carved lotus buds on its underside. Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha

The tomb of Imam Zamim where the dome rises from an octagonal drum decorated with a double row of kanguras (battlement motifs) and marble panelling above the chajja (eaves). Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha

Smith's Folly, the cupola that once rested on the top of the Qutb Minar and was pulled down on the orders of Lord Hardinge. Photo: Shashank Shekhar Sinha

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