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Hall of the hundred pillars, Delhi [sic. Quwwat al-Islam mosque]

Hall of the hundred pillars, Delhi [sic. Quwwat al-Islam mosque]

Photographer: Unknown

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1880

Shelfmark: Photo 50/2(75)

Item number: 50275

Genre: Photograph

This photograph taken in the 1880s shows part of the enclosure of the Quwwat al-Islam mosque in Delhi. The Qutb Minar complex in southern Delhi was begun by Qutub-ud-din Aibak, the first Sultan of Delhi and the founder of the Slave Dynasty (1206-90), to celebrate the onset of Islamic rule in India in 1192. The Quwwat-ul-Islam or Might of Islam Mosque is one of the earliest surviving mosques in India and stands in the Qutb Minar enclosure. Further additions were made by later Sultans in the 13th and 14th centuries. It is a fine example of Islamic architecture employing Islamic principles of arcuate construction and geometric ornamentation, but utilising Indian trabeate building traditions. It was built on the site of Rai Piathora’s Hindu temple using the remains from 27 other Hindu and Jain temples. The pillars shown in this view are no exception and are constructed using Hindu temple spolia. Carved Hindu motifs on salvaged and recyled masonry are found throughout the mosque in combination with later Islamic arabesque patterns and Quranic insciptions.

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