Today we are going to talk about a grand structure that speaks volumes of its times but is still relatively unknown, the Alai Darwaza. Lesser known than the Qutub Minar but completing its essence in a true manner, it is one of the structures in the Qutub complex. We will discuss what the Alia Darwazaa is famous for, its historical significance, how to reach & more.
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What is Alai Darwaza famous for?
Alai Darwaza is one of the other lesser-known structures. It is a structure of great historical significance and was in fact designated a World Heritage Site in 1993, along with the other monuments of the complex.
The Alai Darwaza, which translates to ‘Alai Gate’ is the main gateway from the southern side of the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque in Mehrauli, Delhi.
Founder of Alai Darwaza
The ornamental gateway, chiseled to perfection, was built by Sultan Alauddin Khalji, the second Sultan of the medieval short-lived Khalji dynasty in 1311.
Why Alauddin Khilji made Alai Darwaza?
- After returning successfully from his Deccan campaigns, Alauddin Khilji decided to show his gratitude to God by embarking on an ambitious project to enlarge the mosque.
- It was a part of his plan to extend the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque on four sides. Although he planned to construct four gates in all directions, only the Alai Darwaza, the southern one, could be completed as he died after its construction.
Architecture used in constructing Alai Darwaza
The geometric design of the Gateway is inspired by Saljuqian characteristics which had immensely influenced the architecture of the Khalji dynasty. This is the first building in India to employ Islamic architectural principles in its construction and ornamentation. The gate is not only huge and magnificent but captivating as it showcases the architectural acumen and the remarkable craftsmanship of the Turkic artisans who worked on it.
Remarkable Feature of Alai Darwaza
- It is a domed gateway decorated with red sandstone and inlaid white marble decorations.
- Inscriptions mention the date of establishment as 1311 CE or 710 AH.
- The base is an octagonal structure. The three arches of the gate are semi-circular which are designed in a pointed horseshoe-shaped style, whereas, the one facing the mosque is slightly circular.
- The pointed arches, the beautiful carvings, and a balance of floral and geometrical patterns on the gate are its notable characteristic.
- Some other distinct features of the gate are the latticed windows on both sides of the entrance and the Quranic inscriptions engraved in the ancient Naskh script.
Location & Timings of Alai Darwaza
The Alia Darwaza is located in Outub Complex in South Delhi. You can easily reach the location by various means.
- Nearest Metro Stations– The Qutub Minar Metro Station on the Yellow line is the nearest metro station, located about 2 km away from the Qutub complex. E-Rickshaws, Autorickshaws, and Taxis are all available from the metro to take you to the monument.
- From Delhi Railway Station- It is about 15 km from the New Delhi Railway station. You can easily get cabs, and autos or even take the metro from here to reach the Alia Darwaza. It will take about one hour to reach the location.
- From Delhi Airport – Delhi Airport is 12 km from Darwaza.
The entry fees to the Qutub Complex are Rs. 30 per person for Indian tourists and Rs. 500 for foreign tourists. The monument is open for a visit between 7.00 am to 5.00 pm.
Alai Darwaza Gate is a very beautiful structure and rightfully deserves a visit as it provides us with a nice example of the time of the Delhi Sultanate architecture and how they created something as magnificent as this monument standing tall in Delhi’s Qutub Complex.