Understanding Tughlaq Architecture in Delhi during Holidays to India

Tughlaq Architecture in Delhi

Tughlaq Architecture in Delhi

Delhi is an important historical centre owing to its hordes of medieval monuments. A great attraction to visit while in the city during holidays to India is Khirki Masjid, named as such, due to its numerous windows. It was built in the second half of the 13th century by Malik Maqbul. Malik was born a Hindu, but later converted to Islam and became the highest ranking official of Sultan Feroz Shah Tughlaq. He probably built the mosque to prove to the sultan, his loyalty to his new faith. Unlike other such religious sites, Khirki Masjid is built like a fortress and is mostly covered.

Plan

It is basically a square-shaped structure with each side about 52 metres in length and occupies a rough area of 87 sq metres. The fort aspect of the site is defined by its high stone walls and bastion towers on its four external vertices. On all cardinal direction-facing façades are 24 arched windows across two levels, with 12 in each level. In the centre are high arched doorways, flanked by tall conical minarets on both sides. Atop every gate and bastion are bulbous domes with 81 smaller domes, in 9 sets of 9 domes each, bringing the total to 89. Inside the mosque are four open courtyards, built to provide the much needed air and sunlight into the otherwise enclosed praying area.

All courtyards are squares with each side measuring 30 feet in length and are encircled by galleries. These galleries have arches formed by 180 stone columns, which support their vaulted ceilings. In addition to these columns, each gallery has 60 ornamental structures with the appearance of pillars. All these pillars are completely unadorned, which is highly uncharacteristic of Islamic places of worship that generally exhibit intricate carvings, tile-work and colourful calligraphy. This beautiful site is located in South Delhi and is about 4 km from the world-renowned Qutab Minar. Khirki Masjid can be visited as part of tour packages in India. All travellers have to do is to take the Delhi metro train going towards HUDA City Centre and get off at Malviya Nagar station. From there, the mosque is around 1.7 km, and rickshaws and auto-rickshaws are always available from the station.

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