Modern Indian History-Events and Personalities

Qutub Minar not a Place of Worship: ASI


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Qutub Minar

Mains level: Not Much

The Qutub Minar complex is not a place of worship and its character cannot be changed now, the Archaeological Survey of India submitted in a Delhi Court while opposing a plea challenging the dismissal of a civil suit seeking “restoration” of temples on the premises.

What is the case?

  • The original suit claimed that 27 temples were demolished to build the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque at the Qutub Minar complex.
  • This pleas was dismissed last year under the provisions of Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991.
  • The Additional District Judge (ADJ) has now reserved the order.
  • The petitioner said that the dismissal of the original suit based on the 1991 Act was wrong.
  • The Qutub Minar complex comes under the purview of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act of 1958.

Why in news now?

  • The ASI now submitted that the Qutub Minar complex was not a place of worship when it was first notified as a protected monument in 1914.
  • The ASI, explained that the character of a monument is decided on the date when it comes under protection.

About Qutub Minar

  • The Qutub Minar is a minaret and “victory tower” that forms part of the Qutb complex, which lies at the site of Delhi’s oldest fortified city, Lal Kot, founded by the Tomar Rajputs.
  • It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Mehrauli area of South Delhi.
  • It can be compared to the 62-metre all-brick Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan, of c. 1190, which was constructed a decade or so before the probable start of the Delhi tower.
  • The surfaces of both are elaborately decorated with inscriptions and geometric patterns.
  • The Qutb Minar has a shaft that is fluted with “superb stalactite bracketing under the balconies” at the top of each stage.

Its construction

  • The Qutb Minar was built over the ruins of the Lal Kot, the citadel of Dhillika.
  • Qutub Minar was begun after the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, which was started around 1192 by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, first ruler of the Delhi Sultanate.
  • It is usually thought that the tower is named for Qutb-ud-din Aibak, who began it.
  • It is also possible that it is named after Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki a 13th-century sufi saint, because Shamsuddin Iltutmish was a devotee of his.
  • Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, to the north-east of the Minar was built by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak in A.D. 1198.
  • It consists of a rectangular courtyard enclosed by cloisters, erected with the carved columns and architectural members of 27 Jain and Hindu temples, which were demolished by Qutub-ud-Din.
  • This is recorded in his inscription on the main eastern entrance.


What is the Places of Worship Act?

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