This article describes Mamluk architecture patronized by the slave dynasty in India from 1206 to 1290. The Mamluk architecture was characterized by minarets, mausoleum, and madrasas. The architectural structures include Qutb Minar, the Mausoleum of Prince Nasirud-din Mahmud, the tomb of Balban, etc.
Description of Architectural monuments
The following is a description of architectural monuments of the Mamluk/slave dynasty:
1. Kutub Minar
The Qutb Minar was the tallest minaret of its time in India commissioned by Qutb-ud-din Aibak in 1206 to mark the addition of parts of India to the Ghurid empire. Aibak could not only complete the construction of the first storey of the minaret in his lifetime. However, the second Sultan, Shamsuddin Iltutmish added three more storeys to the minaret after the death of Aibak.
The top storey of the minaret was damaged in a lightning hit in 1369 which was replaced by a new storey on directions of then ruler Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq. Sher Shah Suri, who ruled India for a brief period, is said to have added an entrance to the minaret.
Verses from Holy Quran and floral motifs feature the walls of the minaret. The walls of the first storey contain inscriptions training the great Sultan of the Ghurid Empire, Muhammad Ghori.
2. Sultan Garhi, the first Islamic Mausoleum in India
Built 1231-32, Sultan Garhi is said to be the first Islamic mausoleum built in modern-day India. The mausoleum contains the remains of Prince Nasir ud din, the eldest son of the third king of Delhi, Sultan Iltutmish. The only earlier Islamic Mausoleum built in the Indian subcontinent is the tomb of the founder of the Delhi Sultanate, Qutb ud din Aibak, in Lahore in modern-day Pakistan.
3. Balban’s tomb
Built in 1287, the tomb of the second last ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, Ghiyas ud din Balban in Mehrauli is another architectural monument of the slave dynasty. According to some accounts, for the first time, the Islamic arch was constructed in India as part of the tomb which, however, the arch did not survive today. Ghiyas ud din Balban ruled the Delhi Sultanate from 1266 to 1287. Earlier he was the deputy to the Sultan during which he acted as the de facto Sultan.
The Alai Darwaza
Built by Sultan Alauddin Khalji in 1311, the Alai Darwaza is the main gateway of Qutb Minar. The Alai Darwaza holds great importance as it contains the earliest real Islamic dome despite a lapse of 800 years since its establishment.
Red stone and decorated white marble have extensive use in the construction of the structure. The walls of the entrance are adorned with intricate engravings of Islamic calligraphy.