Entrance to Kootub Minar [sic. 'Alai Darwaza], Delhi.
Medium: Photographic print
This photograph records the 'Alai Darwaza in Delhi in the 1860s taken by an unknown photographer for an album entitled 'Photographs of India and Overland Route'. It shows a monumental gateway to the Quwwat al-Islam mosque complex added approximately a century after the mosque's foundation in 1192. The gateway forms part of a grandiose scheme to enlarge the mosque compound undetaken by Sultan Ala-u'd-din Shah Khalji at the beginning of the fourteenth century. He also began construction of the 'Alai Minar, a huge masonry minaret designed to reach double the height of the existing Qutb Minar in the same complex. Neither the minaret nor the mosque extension were completed. The 'Alai Darwaza itself is however complete. Square in plan with a dome resting a squinched support constructed in red sandstone and marble, it marks a new stylistic phase in the development of early Sultanate archicture in the sub-continent.