Chor Minar as the name suggests is the ‘Tower of Thieves’ that was erected during the 13th Century AD. It is situated in the Hauz Khas area of South Delhi just near Aurobindo Marg and easily reachable by local auto rickshaws and taxis.
Chor Minar was built during the reign of Ala-ud-din Khilji aka Ali Gurshap, who was the second Sultan of the Khilji dynasty that ruled between 1296 and 1316. Ala-ud-din married his cousin sister and daughter of Jalal-ud-din who was the Sultan that ruled over Delhi since 1290. His original name is Ala-ud-din Ghiljai as per the Pashto language however, it translate as the name ‘Khilji’ due to the lack of letters as per the Arabic and Dari language. His uncle Jalal-ud-din appointed his nephew as the Governor of Kara which is a small town near Allahabad but Ala-ud-din was too ambitious to accept such a small post and in 1296, he killed his uncle to remove him from his way and marched from Kara to Delhi with Jalal-ud-din’s head stuck to a pike and in the meantime his uncle’s younger son, Rukn-ud-din Khilji ascended the Throne with the consent of his mother, Malika Jahan. After receiving this information, on 3rd October 1296, Ala-ud-din blinded Rukn-ud-din and imprisoned his aunt, Malika Jahan.
Throughout his rule in Delhi, Ala-ud-din Khilji looted all the wealthy nobles, blinded, killed and imprisoned a few. In 1297, he also attacked Gujarat with his Generals, Nusrat Khan and Ulugh Khan and looted Temples including Somnath Temple and broke the Shiva Lingam statue into pieces and carried it to Delhi. The King of Jalore in Rajasthan named Kanhad Dev Songara assisted by Muhammad Shah who was a General of the Khilji Army raged a battle with Ulugh Khan and won the Statue back. King Songara purified the statue with the Ganges River and re-established it within numerous Temples in Jalore.
Later, after the war, Muhammad Shah shifted to Ranthambore with Hammir and Ulugh Khan along with Nusrat Khan under the orders of Ala-ud-din attacked Ranthambore in 1299. They marched into the town with 80,000 soldiers to plan an attack on Hammir but were badly defeated by Hammir’s Army. Nusrat Khan was killed and Ulugh Khan fled to Delhi. Ala-ud-din wanted to avenge this defeat and planned another attack in 1301 which lasted for a long period. Despite trying every effort to plunder the Fort of Hammir, Ala-ud-din could not defeat him and resorted to strike a deal instead. Hammir suspected this sudden act but decided against resorting to war after both his councillors, Ranmal and Ratipal, also counselled against it. Hammir sent both of them to the Camp of Khilji to check on the diplomatic deal but Ala-ud-din bribed them and retrieved all the required information about Hammir which consequently led to the fall of Ranthambore. Ala-ud-din conquered Gujarat and made sure to brutally punish all the families of his Rebels.
In 1303 AD, Ala-ud-din Khilji also attacked Chittor which claimed to be one of the most historic epic battles that is remembered even today as it was a result of Khilji’s lust and desire for Rani Padmini, Queen and wife of King Rawal Ratan Singh known for her beauty, grace and bravery as she was also known to be an excellent swordsperson.
The Chor Minar came into existence as a ‘Tower for beheading Thieves’ as per the local inhabitants where heads of thieves were stuck to pikes and displayed on the spears through 225 holes that were especially made for this very purpose on this Tower. Others also state that Ala-ud-din Khilji slaughtered numerous Mughals in their current settlements to stop them from joining other Mughal settlements, which is known today as ‘Mongolpuri’ existing in Delhi and displayed their heads on this Tower. Many believe that this Pillar exudes a very creepy vibe that still reeks with the blood of those numerous dead heads and is a sure treat and curious site for those seeking lost ghost tales.
In 1305, Ala-ud-din raided Ali Beg, Targhi and Tartaq along with 8,000 Mughal prisoners and killed them. They were beheaded and their heads were also displayed on Chor Minar. Tourists can visit this ‘Tower of Thieves’ on all days and preferably between 1000 hours and 1700 hours.