Published On: Sun, Nov 11th, 2018

Delhi Monuments, Indian Heritage & Architecture

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From the 12th century onwards, domes, minarets, delicate arches and spacious courtyards became part of the landscape, using red sandstone as the main material and later incorporating marble. Best examples of ancient architecture among Delhi monuments include the Red Fort and nearby mosque, Jama Masjid, the Qutub Minar and the tomb of early Mughal Emperor Humayun.

Delhi Monuments, Indian Heritage & Architecture

Spanning over 400 years, these monuments bear witness to Delhi’s long history and the talent of unknown architects who shaped so many facets of the rich Indian heritage.

Ancient Indian Heritage, Qutub Minar

In the late 12th century, the victorious Qutub-ud-din-Aibak from Central Asia pulled down Hindu temples to build India’s first mosque and proclaim the triumph of Islam. Today the Qutub Minar complex is a World Heritage site and an outstanding example of early Indo-Islamic architecture.

Most striking is the free standing fluted tower, rising over 72 metres with projecting balconies and rippling waves of pink sandstone and brick. Watch tower or minaret, no one knows its real purpose and the same mystery surrounds the 4th century Iron Pillar which shows no sign of rust. Mosque and tombs mingle with the remains of Hindu temples , on a quiet site set among lawns and trees fragrant with frangipani.

Mughal Emperor and Delhi Monuments, Red Fort and Jama Masjid

The Red Fort was the central piece of the new capital when Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan moved from Agra to Delhi. Work started in 1639 and took nine years and ten million rupees to complete, palace and fortress all in one. The Red Fort has greatly suffered over time but from the Pearl Mosque to the Royal Baths, from the Palace of Colours to the Audience Hall, it’s still a stunning display of red sandstone and white marble, a maze of courtyards and galleries with foliated archways and inlaid decorations.

On the nearby hill, a majestic flight of steps leads up to the Jama Masjid built by the same emperor for afternoon prayers. Seating over 20 000, the courtyard is surrounded by cloisters and gateways with an ablution tank and a sanctuary facing Mecca. It’s open to visitors except during prayers.

Mughal Emperors and Humayun’s Tomb

Humayun’s tomb is Delhi’s finest example of Mughal architecture, considered by many as the precursor of the Taj Mahal. Built mostly of red sandstone and topped with a white marble dome, it’s a simple elegant structure with perfectly aligned gates and symmetrical arches. It was completed in 1565 for Humayun, son of Babur, the first Mughal emperor, and served as a refuge for the last Mughal emperor during the British take over, almost 300 years later.

The mausoleum stands in a lovely Mughal garden, traditionally divided into squares by causeways and water channels. Filled with bird song, especially at dusk, it’s one of Delhi’s most atmospheric monuments.

About the Author

- Paul Linus is an eminent online journalist who has been writing news, features and editorials on different websites from across the world for about a decade. He can be contacted at

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