Medieval Trail in the Capital City

16 Jan, 2017 - Madhurima Chaudhuri

Wondering what to do on a winter afternoon?

Well, if you are in Delhi, its time to be a culture vulture!

Wear comfortable shoes, carry a bottle of water, and explore the medieval trail of what the city has to offer. Start with the Qutab Minar complex where the earliest extant mosque - Quwwat-ul-Islam was built by Aibak to legitimise his political authority. The mosque with cloisters, courtyard and a beautifully carved stone screen with floral and calligraphic bands are part of larger extensions made by the succeeding Sultans of the Ilbari dynasty. 

Pillared Cloisters of the Quwwat ul Islam Mosque, Qutab Minar Complex

However, the most popular attraction is the Qutub Minar, the stone tower composed of sandstone and marble where each level has a different aesthetic appearance. One can no longer climb the tower but its sheer size is mesmerising. An interesting addition to the complex is a 4th century iron pillar from the Gupta period. This site shows a linear evolution in the establishment of an Indo-Islamic style of art. 

A view of Qutab Minar

Next, move on to the ruins of the Purana Qila, serving as a transition between the Sultanate and the Mughal architecture. While the structures are few, some of them adorned with blue-glazed tiles is a reminder of Central Asian trade. Walk around the vast grounds, enjoy a picnic and even squeeze in a boat ride under a late evening sky. 

Qila Kuhna Masjid at the Purana Qila

To experience some Mughal architectural bliss spend a day at the Red Fort. A site of contrasts and centuries of history, the intricate marble structures of Shahjahan is sure to leave you awestruck. Walking through the ‘charbagh’ (quadrilateral Mughal garden), along with a dash of imagination would create an imagery of the luxury in which the Great Emperor lived. 

A view of Red Fort

While the medieval trail is never ending in Delhi, these would be our top picks for you to spend an afternoon walking around, understanding the heritage, ensuring that its both a productive and a leisurely day.

Topic: Art