Time Required: 1 - 2 hrs
Among the many historical monuments present within the Qutub Minar complex, Alai Minar stands apart as it has been left incomplete. The construction was started by the Ilbari ruler Alauddin Khilji as a project to build a minar higher than the Qutub Minar. The ruler had high ambitions and wanted to be credited for many monuments of grandeur and splendour. After winning the Deccan war, he indulged in making modifications to the famous Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque within the same complex. Once the mosque was doubled in size, Khilji proceeded to construct the highest tower as a mark of his prowess and victory. However, the minar was left incomplete as the king died in 1316 AD, very soon after the construction of the tower began. The complete description of the king’s intentions and the construction of the minar is mentioned in Amir Khusro’s book ‘Tarikh-e-Alai’.
Alai Minar was designed to be two times higher than the Qutub Minar and well proportioned with the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque in the area. The idea was however abandoned and as of now, the building is an 80 feet high, mammoth rubble masonry, finished only up to one storey. The unhewn structure stands bare and suggests the creator’s intentions to be adorned with dressed stones and fancy architecture. The construction was not taken up by the descendants of the Khilji dynasty and eventually the minar was left unaddressed and neglected. But, even though in a derelict and a decrepit state, the monument resonates with the majesty and the magnificence of the bygone era.
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