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Alai Minar in India: why did they not continue with its construction?

The Alai Minar is an unfinished minaret located in the Qutb complex in Delhi, India. The complex is considered one of the great exponents of Islamic architecture and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993.

The Qutb complex is made up of three great monuments. The first is the Qutab Minar, the tallest minaret in the world, with 72.5 meters; represents the most famous construction of the whole complex. There is also the Alai Minar, which was never completed, and the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque.

These majestic buildings are accompanied by the Wing-I-Darwaza and the iron pillar. The entire complex is located in the Mehrauli neighborhoodconsidered one of the seven ancient cities that gave rise to the current state of Delhi.

Thus began the history of the Alai Minar

Let us first remember that the towers of the mosques are called minarets or minarets. The history of the complex began in 1190, when the first sultan of India, Qutb-ud-din Aibak, decided to build the work.

This ruler was first a successively sold slave. As luck would have it, he was trained and educated by his owners, and that is how he came to the service of Sultan Muhammad Guri, ruler of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkestan and northern India. He recruited him into his army, and there Qutb-ud-din Aibak rose to become a general.

Thanks to his military successes, Qutb-ud-din Aibak conquered much of what is now India and ruled these lands. Then, after Muhammad Guri’s death, he was proclaimed sultan, a position he held for only 4 years. During that time, and as a consecrated Muslim, he started the construction of the mosque that would later give rise to the Qutb complex.

New rulers, new monuments

The Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque was the first built in India, after the Muslim conquest of that territory. Everything indicates that it was built with parts taken from 27 Hindu and Jain temples that had been destroyed by Qutb-ud-din Aibak.

This ruler also built the famous gate of Ala-I-Darwaza and started the construction of the Qutab Minar, the tallest in the world. The first sultan of India died accidentally and he was succeeded by Iltumish, who continued the work. Today, only a few ruins of the mosque remain, but the Qutab Minar is intact.

The construction of the Alai Minar, meanwhile, began at the initiative of Alaudín. This was the first Muslim to rule the entire territory of India, as it is known today. He reigned between 1296 and 1316, and intrigues during his rule prevented the second minaret from being completed.

The construction of the Alai Minar

Alaudin was an ambitious and unscrupulous ruler. He took the initiative to build the Alai Minar so that it would be more majestic than the Qutab Minarbut his plans would be frustrated by the work of his own cruelty.

This ruler assassinated his own uncle, who had appointed him governor of a territory called Kara. Not happy with this entered the city with the head of his victim impaled on a pickaxe and proclaimed himself “king of Delhi”. After this, he initiated several military campaigns to stay with neighboring kingdoms.

It is said that from the beginning, and due to his delusions of grandeur, he thought of building the Alai Minar, since he wanted to go down in history as the greatest man of his time. His rule made the kingdom prosperous, but also one of the cruelest in history.

Alaudin killed or gouged out anyone who got in his way., with or without reason. It is said that in a single day he had between 15,000 and 30,000 people killed on the outskirts of Delhi.

A victory and a monument

Alaudin achieved an overwhelming military victory in the Deccan Peninsula; to commemorate her, he decided to build the Alai Minar. As we mentioned, he wanted it to be twice the height of the Qutab Minar to leave a testimony of its apparent superiority.

It is unclear whether the cruel ruler was assassinated or died a natural death. The truth is that he was succeeded by one of his generals, who could only rule for four months. Alaudin’s son overthrew him and seized powerbut not before murdering his brother so that he would not dispute the throne.

The heir was more interested in power and money. He didn’t have his father’s delusions of grandeur, so was never interested in continuing the construction of the Alai Minar. In this way, the work only reached 24 meters in height and was left unfinished forever.

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