The Qutb Minar, with a trooper of Skinner's Horse below it (left), The Alai Minar, the unfinished tower at the Qutb mosque (right)
Author: Metcalfe, Sir Thomas Theophilus (1795-1853)
Medium: Ink and colours on paper
[From 'Reminiscences of Imperial Delhi’, an album consisting of 89 folios containing approximately 130 paintings of views of the Mughal and pre-Mughal monuments of Delhi, as well as other contemporary material, with an accompanying manuscript text written by Sir Thomas Theophilus Metcalfe (1795-1853), the Governor-General’s Agent at the imperial court. Acquired with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund and of the National Art-Collections Fund.]
[The Qutb Minar cut from a larger painting and laid down on blue paper. The Qutb Minar 72.5 m tall, built as a celebratory victory tower and as minar attached to the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque, was begun by Qutub-ud-din Aibak in 1199 and completed by his successor Iltutmish (r. 1211-36) in 1215. The two upper tiers were rebuilt at later dates.]
and moreover the entrance doorway is on the East side all right and proper, whereas in the latter you enter on the North side, a most unusual arrangement in a Mohumudan Building. It is therefore clear the two were never built to correspond.
The immediate environs of the Kootub are known to have formed the old Hindoo City of Delie, from the Zemindar of the place and from which our Dehlie is derived. And there still exist numerous specimens of the most primitive Hindoo architecture. Could not the unfinished column have been commenced by the faithful on a larger scale to outdo the idolaters, and failing to perfect the work, could not the Koran inscriptions have been added to the pillar.
[The base of the Alai Minar, the unfinished Pillar. This was begun by Alauddin Khalji (r.1296-1316). He intended to built a tower twice the height of the Qutb Minar, but he died soon after, leaving it at its first storey. ]
Inscribed: naqsha-i minar na tayar dar Qutb Sahib. ‘amal-i Mazhar ‘Ali Khan.
The 2nd and unfinished pillar above alluded to.