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The Kootub, Delhi.

The Kootub, Delhi.

Photographer: Unknown

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1880

Shelfmark: Photo 50/2(73)

Item number: 50273

Genre: Photograph

This photograph of the 1880s shows the minaret known as the Qutb Minar at 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 Pithora’s Hindu temple using the remains from 27 other Hindu and Jain temples. The accompanying Qutb Minar tower is 72.5 m tall, and was built as a celebratory victory tower, begun by Qutub-ud-din Aibak in 1199 and completed by his successor Iltutmish (r. 1211-36) in 1215, although the two upper tiers were rebuilt at later dates.

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