The Tale of the Iron Pillar

Bespoke Traveler

Qutub-Minar-columnsThe Qutub complex in Mehrauli is a melange of archeological dilapidation. Sunburnt minarets of Kufic calligraphy tower next to embellished Jain cloistered columns. The tallest of these turrets soars above arched gateways, brick hallways, and rubble masonry. Strolling from one empty decay to the next I marvel at how empires come and go, their marks forever mysterious to future generations. Once, this area was filled with Hindu and Jain worshipers who weaved their way into mandaps built by merchant princes to offer libations to their deity. When the Ghurids overtook this part of India, the temples gave way to a different wave of worshippers who stepped reverently into mosques and saints’ tombs. Yet, like their predecessors, these subsided as well.

“Dynasties vanished, powerful rajas and sultans died leaving only scraps of names and wind-eaten standards.”

The throngs, however, continue to swell and ebb through the deserted edifices as…

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