Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Alai Minar, unfinished tower built by Aladdin Khilji (1311 AD)

Alai Minar Backdrop:Qutub Minar, Delhi. Bestourism.com

unfinished tower, Alai Minar,Delhi Alamy
The Alai Minar, a massive structure  lies
15 km from New Delhi Railway Station. This monument  is incomplete  and stands just north of Qutub Minar in the Qutub Complex. The construction work was started by  Sultan Aladdin Khilji of Khilji dynasty in 1311 AD. He won many a war and battle and was a great warrior. The intention of Aladdin Khilji was quite clear, being over zealous, he wanted to have a  giant structure built to commemorate his victory over one of his Deccan campaigns. He wanted his name to be etched in history  for his monumental structure that was more spectacular and impressive than his earlier feats. He wanted to have the new structure built twice the height of Qutub Minar. He also  increased the size of the enclosures of the Quwwat-Ul-Islam Masjid by four times its original size to provide a ceremonial entrance gateway on either sides of the mosque. He wanted the  new structure - the Alai Minar to match the grand mosque with  increased height. In addition, he was desirous of  a second tower of victory under his name and hence the Alai Minar was initiated. Famous Sufi poet named Amir Khusro, in one of his works named 'Tareekh-i-Alai',  made a reference to  the Sultan's intentions to increase the size of the mosque and the plan to construct the Alai Minar.

The construction came up  to the first floor and later stopped midway owing to  the death of Sultan Ala-ud-din Khalji in 1316 AD. His successors could not continue the further construction  because the political scenario changed. The Khilji rulers were defeated and the Delhi Sultanate  came under the  the Tughlaq dynasty. That what is is in store for us in the future is true in the case of Sultan Khilji. His grand ambition never came to fruition. The subtle fact is he did complete a grand tower - Qutub Mimar that is being visited by thousands of people every day.

Alai Minar's has a total height of 24.38 m (80 feet) and a circumference of 77.72 m (255 feet). The tower's outer wall is unusually thick - 5.8 m (19 feet)  and is divided into 32 faces of 2.43 m (8 feet) each. There is a central column in the interior where there would a stairway to reach higher level.  The central column itself is 8 m (26 feet) in diameter. The passage was 3 meter wide to allow the construction of stairway. The doorway is on the eastern side of the tower.