Comparing the Taj Mahal and Qutub Minar

Qutub Minar Dec 13, 2019

There are similarities in the designs of both the Taj Mahal and Qutub Minar. Both are a part of mausoleum complexes. But the Taj Mahal was built for housing the remains of Shahjahan’s beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, after whom the mausoleum is named. And Qutb complex has the tombs of various rulers who added to the structures in the complex during their own rule, like, Alauddin Khilji, Illtutmish. Both the compounds have mosques within them.

However, there are differences in the two complexes on both design level and a philosophical level.

The Taj Mahal, standing at the height of 73 meters, is taller than the Qutub Minar, the tallest brick minaret in the world, which measures 72.5 meters. The construction of Qutub Minar was commissioned by the founder of Delhi Sultanate Qutub ud-Din Aibak in 1199, whereas that of the Taj Mahal was commissioned in 1632 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.

The Qutb complex also has an unfinished tower called Alai Minar, which was conceived by Alauddin to commemorate his victory in the Deccan region. It was initially planned to be twice the height of Qutb Minar but was left unconstructed after his death in 1316 AD.


Philosophies behind construction

There is one striking difference in the theory behind the complexes.

The Taj Mahal was built in the memory of a beloved wife across the river Yamuna and Shahjahan’s fort. While, the Qutb Complex was built near the former ruler’s fort, the Tomar Rajput’s Lal Kot commemorating military victories.

It is said that Mumtaz, on her deathbed during childbirth, had Shah Jahan promise that he would build her the most beautiful tomb ever known to man.

The design of the Taj Mahal also seems to be in the proclamation of Shah Jahan’s love for his wife. The principal mausoleum also went on to hold the remains of Shah Jahan himself, next to Mumtaz’s tomb, and the four minarets which surround the Taj are designed having a slight outward tilt, to not damage the main mausoleum of Mumtaz in case of a collapse.

The inscriptions on Qutub Minar and other structures in the complex, talk of its construction and the people who conceived the idea of its creation like for example:

Rustamji Nasarvanji Munshi, a historian, in his book, writes the translation of an inscription on the Quwwat-ul-Islam, “Kutb-ud-Din Aibak, on whom be the mercy of God, constructed this mosque.”

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