Ranveer Singh as Alauiddin Khilji in Padmavati (2017)
After what seems like a lifetime, director and filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali has released the trailer of his new magnum opus, Padmavati. The film is based on the epic poem Padmavat, the first important piece of Awadhi literature, that tells the tale of Khilji’s long siege of Chittor Fort in 1303 CE after he was smitten by the beauty of Padmavati, the queen and wife of the ruler Ratan Singh. And while the trailer promises an unforgettable performance of Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji, we thought we’ll take this opportunity to look at the remnants of his legacy that still survive to this day. Alauddin Khilji’s reign marked a new phase in medieval architecture in India, improving upon the works of earlier Sultans. Here’s a look at his contributions. ALSO READ: Hill Forts of Rajasthan that you must explore Also Read - Coronavirus: National Museum, Qutub Minar, Red Fort to Remain Closed Till March 31
Alai Minar at the Qutub complex in Mehrauli, Delhi
Khilji, a remarkably ambitious builder, ordered most of his monuments to be built in the Arabic architectural style that dominated the time. He famously tried to build a tower even taller than the Qutub Minar, just a few meters away. But his death ended the ambitious project. You can still see the base of the incomplete Minar in the Qutub complex. Also Read - Delhi Violence: SC Lawyer Files FIR For Immediate Arrest of Tahir Hussain; Death Toll Touches 42 | Highlights
Alai Darwaza (Alai Gate) in Qutub complex
Another example of Khilji’s architecture also lies in this complex: the Alai Darwaza. This grand gate marks the entrance to the south side of the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque within the Qutub Minar complex. The red sandstone structure is square with a round dome on top, with arched doorways leading out to all four sides. The surface uses white marble, carved with decorative patterns and Islamic calligraphic inscriptions. The Darwaza was the start of an ambitious project by Khilji, cut short by his death. Also Read - India Committed to Strategic Partnership With US, President Kovind to Donald Trump | Highlights
View of the landmark Hauz Khas Complex
The historic Hauz Khas complex has its roots in the Sultanate of Alauddin Khilji. The king built the the Hauz-i-Khas or Hauz-i-Illahi in 1296 CE. Hauz-i-Khas translates to Royal Tank, and at the time it covered nearly 70 acres with a stone wall around it. The tank provided water to Delhi for the year. The centuries have stripped away much of Hauz Khas, but its remnants are now an important cultural site within the modern capital. CHECK OUT: Did you know these interesting facts about Amber Fort in Rajasthan?
The fortified city of Siri was the second of Delhi’s seven historic cities, built by the Sultans and kings that ruled over the land over millennia. The Hauz Khas was, in fact, a part of Siri itself. Located north of Qutub, construction of Siri began in 1303 CE, with a palace of a thousand pillars. While the city fell under Sher Shah Suri, Siri fort remains. The fort, built in the style of the Mongols that it fought against, still stands with its bastions, battlements and gallery. According to the 6th century historian Firishta, the heads of 8,000 Mongols were used for building this fort.
Jamat Khana Masjid
Also called the Khilji mosque, the Jamat Khana is the oldest mosque in Delhi and continues to be used by communities. It was built by Alauddin’s son, Khizr Khan, and is the biggest structure in the large Nizamuddin Basti or Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah complex. In the traditional style, this mosque has three domes on top with the central one being bigger. It shares certain elements with the Alai Darwaza, and is one of the first examples of accurate Islamic architecture in India. NOW READ: Padmavati Trailer: Magnificent Rajasthani Chittorgarh Fort Recreated in Bhansalis Magnum Opus Starring Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor
In a cruel and ironic twist of fate, much of Alauddin Khilji’s architectural contributions suffered the same fate as the monuments and palaces that he conquered. His extension of the Quwwat-ul-Islam to nearly double its size at the time still remains, and the architectural ideas he brought came to be used by other Sultanates. Blending in with the craftsmanship of Hindu artisans, this resulted in some of the most breathtaking examples of architecture in the world.