The Colonade [sic], at the Kootub, [Delhi].
Photographer: Bourne, Samuel
Medium: Photographic print
This photograph of the 1860s shows a pillared corridor at the side of the main courtyard of the Quwwat al-Islam mosque. The 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. It was begun in 1193 and completed four years later, with further additions 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 here are made up of spolia taken from such temples. They were originally plastered over to conceal their elaborate carvings, but the plaster has since fallen away revealing the temple motifs behind.