General view of the exterior of the Alai Darwaza, Delhi
Photographer: Caney, W.
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Alai Darwaza at Delhi from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections, taken by W. Caney in the 1890s. The Alai Darwaza was erected by Ala-ud-Din Khalji, a Sultan of Delhi (r.1296-1316) in c.1305 as the southern entrance gateway to the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque. The mosque is the earliest surviving in India and stands in the Qutb complex . The Sultan planned an enlargement of the mosque, uncompleted due to his early death, tripling the ground plan and extending the perimeter wall. The Alai Darwaza is thought to have been one of four gateways planned along the walls and is the only one surviving. It is a small domed square building with pointed horseshoe arches on three sides, a rounded arch on the inner side, and lattice-screened windows. It was constructed in red sandstone and white marble inlaid with black marble and blue schist, all richly carved in low relief. It is considered to be the first building conceived on Islamic principles in the Qutb complex. This is a general view of the exterior.