Apr 12, 2009

Qutb Minar compound - Delhi - 1875

Photograph from the Lee-Warner Collection of Hindu colums in the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque in Delhi, taken by John Edward Saché in the 1870s. The Qutub Minar complex in southern Delhi was initiated 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. It was begun in 1193 by Qutub-ud-din Aibak and was 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 accurate construction and geometric ornamentation, but utilising Indian building traditions. It was built on the site of Rai Piathora’s Hindu temple using the remains from 27 other Hindu and Jain temples. Carved Hindu motifs on salvaged and recyled masonry are found throughout the mosque in combination with later Islamic arabesque patterns and Quranic inscriptions. The photograph is taken from an album containing mainly architectural and topographical views of sites throughout Western and Northern India, including a number of E.D. Lyon's views of Ahmadabad. The album was formerly in the collection of Sir William Lee-Warner (1846-1912), who served in the Indian Civil Service and was a Member of the Council of India between 1902 and 1912.