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  • Day5

    Qutab Minar and the Lotus Temple

    November 22, 2018 in India ⋅ 🌫 61 °F

    After enjoying a fancy buffet breakfast at the hotel, we met up with our tour guide Akram for a full day of sights. It took us an hour in traffic to reach Qutab Minar, an archeological site from the time of the first sultans of Delhi of the Mamluk Dynasty. Qutab was a general of the invading king from Uzbekistan who conquered Delhi, and who became the first Muslim ruler of Northern India, or Hindustan colloquially. He built a monument to his victory at this location, a large column of 5 distinct levels that was not exactly like an obelisk and a mosque. The column is 73m tall and 14m wide at the base, and has close to 400 steps to the top. Unfortunately, they no longer allow guests to climb the steps due to a deadly accident in the 1980s. The red sandstone was carved with intricate designs, Arabic calligraphy, and flowered shapes.

    Interesting fact about the mosque was that because they were in a hurry to build it, they pillaged the conquered areas for the columns and stone work to make the structure rather than carve it themselves. So all of the columns had different designs, idols, heights, and shapes, which made for a very neat aesthetic.

    Qutab died before he was able to complete the tower, but his successor, Shams, finished it. There was a lovely tomb honoring Shams on the grounds as well. There was also a separate, quite lame tomb honoring a ruler from a later dynasty named Allaudin. He supposedly killed his father for the throne and was plagued by bad luck after that. He started a tower that was supposed to be larger than Qutab Minar but never finished it. He wasn't very popular with the people either. Kharma is real!

    The next stop was the Baha'i Lotus Temple. It's a huge nine sided lotus flower of white concrete surrounded by clear blue pools and manicured gardens. The temple was modern, beautiful, and perfectly serene inside. You could even hear the eagles crying out while flying above it.

    Post 1 of 2 for day 1 in Delhi.
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