Emily Dickinson once said that the past isn't a package that one can lay away. In Mignon McLaughlin's "The Neurotic's Notebook" (1960), the past is likened to a strap on our back. We don't have to see it, but we always feel it. This sentiment is gravely palpable roaming around Qutub Minar, one of Delhi's World Heritage Sites.
My experience with the Qutub, considered the world's tallest brick minaret (i.e. if you care about minarets) reflects every visitor's foray at the Qutub, I suspect. For the uninformed, a minaret is a slender tower (turret) attached to a mosque, often furnished with balconies from which the muezzin (a mosque crier) calls the people for prayers (this happens about 5x daily). From a distance just before entering the complex, the tower beckons like a proud phallic symbol. This probably was one of the reasons why its maker conceptualized the Qutub Minar - to remind the might of the new ruler.
If creating an impression was one of his goals, he obviously succeeded. The temples are still there, and the tower is immaculately preserved, although no one is allowed to climb it anymore. The mosque is in ruins, but the Iron Pillar stands right in front of it. There is an eerie presence surrounding it, what with tombs visible within the complex. But my favorite moment is when I'm just gazing at the intricate designs on walls. Such brilliant artistry at the time when they didn't even have electricity and power tools. It is very humbling.
I'd say, the perfect time to visit the Qutub Minar is when the sun starts to dip its incandescent head down the horizon. The effect of the shadows shrouds into a very dramatic exit.
This is the Eye in the Sky!
Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque started construction in 1193 by Qutbuddin to mark his victory over Rajputs. Take note of the fenced Iron Pillar (also see photo below) believed to have "magic lamp" capabilities, i.e. it grants wishes.
Basic facts and information (history, founder, fees, etc.) can be read from the previous post. - http://eye-in-the-blue-sky.blogspot.com/2011/07/qutub-minar-as-worlds-tallest-brick.html
Alauddin Khilji's Madrasa - Madrasa is arabic term for any educational institution. Khilji was the second Sultan of Delhi from Khilji dynasty, who ruled from 1296 to 1316 AD.
Ticket booth at the Qutub Minar: 250 rupees for foreigners, 10 rupees for locals, 25 rupees for cameras, 5 rupees for the use of the cloak room (However, the cloak room minders will further ask for "donations", as if 250 rupees wasn't adequate for at least a storage space).
Continuation of our 1st Indian Trip:
- Getting the Boot from Jama Masjid - http://eye-in-the-blue-sky.blogspot.com/2011/08/dusk-over-jama-masjid-old-delhi.html
- Tantrums at the Red Fort in Old Delhi - http://eye-in-the-blue-sky.blogspot.com/2011/08/red-fort-tantrums-and-drop-dead-drunk.html
- Chasing the Taj Mahal Dream 1 - From Delhi to Taj Ganj (Agra) - http://eye-in-the-blue-sky.blogspot.com/2011/08/chasing-taj-mahal-dream-1-from-delhi-to.html
- Finally Seeing the Taj Mahal - http://eye-in-the-blue-sky.blogspot.com/2011/08/chasing-taj-mahal-dream-2-loving-like.html
I will be on the road again very soon so I shall update this site with daily adventures as they happen. Not many pictures, am afraid - and a lot of "words". Once you see "on the road" pasted somewhere here, I would have taken my next journey. To the other wanderers, have safe travels!
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