Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, Delhi - oldest one in Northern India


 Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque. www.terragalleria.com

Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque. ornate pillars of Hindu temples. www.trekearth.com
Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque (might of Islam; also known as the Qutub Mosque or the Great Mosque of Delhi), a historical mosque of great antiquity is part of Delhi's Qutab complex and a World Heritage Monument.

Statues from the destroyed Jain temples lying near Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque . en.wikipedia.org
Any visitor to this oldest mosque in the north will be captivated by the fusion of Hindu and Muslim artistic design and style.The Mosque has  owe-inspiring  beautiful, curvaceous Islamic calligraphy of texts from holy Quran in Arabic, the arabesque designs and  ornate  pillars with clearly pre-Islamic Hindu motifs.  It is recorded that highly carved ornate stone  pillars were taken from  27  Hindu and Jain temples of Qila Rai Pithora, the city of the Rajput king Prithviraj Chauhan and Tomars. What were once parts of the Hindu temples, now adorn the historical mosque. Aibaq, like many other Muslim rulers, had destroyed numerous places of worship of other faiths in the Indian subcontinent. 
Islamic features are dominated by  highly pointed arches that flaunt and enhance the beauty of this structure. 
Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque.typical Hindu temple ambiance, www.studenthandouts.com
The mosque was  built by Qutbuddin Aibak , founder of the Mamluk or Slave dynasty as a tribute to his master Mohammed Ghori's victory over the Rajputs. Paradoxically, by the quirk of irony, he himself  became the Sultan  and  an assassin of his master  Ghori!! The  adjacent tall structure Qutub Minar was built at the same time as the 'Minar of Jami Masjid'  for the muezzin to perform adhan, call for prayer. 
ceremonial gate way to Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque and Qutub MinarComplex, Delhi, 1311
www.saylor.org
Unfortunately  the mosque is  in ruins. Considered as  the first mosque built in Northern India  after the Islamic conquest of India, it is the oldest surviving example of Ghurids architecture. It was built in 1197 AD  and it took just four years to complete the structure.  Successors ltutmish in 1230 A.D. and Ala-ud-din Khilji in 1315 A.D. took interest in this mosque and built additional structures.  Khilji extended the boundary of the mosque and built the gateways on the northern, southern and eastern  walls. The Alai Darwaza, the main gateway from southern side of the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque is highly decorated. It was built by the second Khilji Sultan of Delhi. The work remained unfinished after the death of Khiliji.  
Close up of the inscriptions on  main gate way arch - Alai Darwaza built by Alauddin Khilji. The domed gateway is decorated with red sandstone and inlaid white marble decorations; first building in India to employ Islamic architecture principles in its construction and ornamentation. en.wikipedia.org
Iltutmish’s extension of the mosque in 1230 A.D. was Islamic in character and design, although Hindu shafts, capitals and architraves are still there. The inner court yard shows the influence of Hindu architecture as revealed by the  rows of beautiful ornate pillars,  Hindu motif, tasseled ropes and bells, tendrils and leaves of flowers and the cow and the calf.  It has intricately carved temple ceiling. Muslim historian Maulana Hakim Saiyid Abdul Hai attested to the iconoclasm of Qutb-ud-din Aibak.

Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque has a majestic appearance accentuated by arches of smaller and bigger sizes. they extend in the north south direction, covering 117 meters. Among the arches, the one at the center is 16.5 meter tall and 6.7 meter wide.The bigger arches have the same height, but the width varies -7.41 meter wide. As for smaller arches, they are almost half the dimensions of the bigger ones. 


The central part of the stone screen built by Qutb-ud-din Aibak has a height of 16  meters with pointed arch built in 1196 AD. A typical Islamic design and architecture dominated by carvings of flowers, leaves, etc.

A historical place to appreciate the legacy of fusion of Hindu and Muslim architectural designs, artistic and eye-catching Islamic ornamentation and curvaceous calligraphic works.  

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qutb_complex
https://www.delhiinformation.in/tourism/monuments/quwwatulislammosque.html