History of Tomb of Iltutmish
Iltutmish himself built it in about 1235, only five years after the construction of Sultan Ghari's tomb. Yet, it is different from the latter and illustrates the development of Indo-Islamic architecture, when the builder had ceased to depend for material on the demolition of temples, although the arches and semi-domes below the squinches were still laid in the indigenous corbelled fashion. The building was made from foundation up and not assembled. It seems that there had been plans to cover the tomb chamber with a dome, but it fell. It was replaced by Feroze Shah Tughlaq and then again it fell and was not replaced.
Architecture of Tomb of Iltutmish
The rich interior and plain exterior are the highlights of this tomb. Inside the tomb there are three mihrabs (prayer niches). The central one of these is located higher than the other two and is profusely decorated with marble. The tomb of Iltutmish in Delhi itself is quite simple, but its entrance is intricately carved with geometrical and arabesque patterns. There are some Hindu motifs too though - like wheels, the lotus, diamonds and so on.
Its tomb-chamber has a cenotaph in its centre, internally nearly 9m-sq and faced with red sandstone. The interior on the west is occupied by three 'mihrabs' or prayer niches, the central one higher and ornamented with marble, to serve as a place for prayers, while the other sides are pierced by arched entrances. The tomb of Iltutmish in Delhi is plain on the outside, but is profusely carved on the entrances and in the interior with inscriptions in 'Kufi' and 'Naskh' characters with geometrical and arabesque patterns in saracenic tradition, although several motifs among its carvings are reminiscent of Hindu decoration. Ferguson described it as "one of the richest examples of Hindu art applied to Muhammadan purposes".
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