Quwwat al-Islam Mosque complex: Iron Pillar: Iron Pillar in mosque courtyard, view framed by an ogee arch



An inscription on the eastern gate of the Quwwat al-Islam Mosque hints at the lost splendour of ancient (Tomara) Delhi when it states that 27 temples were destroyed and their stone reused to build the mosque complex. In the middle of the mosque’s courtyard is the Iron Pillar (ca. 400), a relic of the Gupta period cast in a pure, non-corrosive iron. According to the Sanskrit inscription, the tapering column (7.21 m) was a victory standard (Skt dhvaja) in honor of Vishnu and was probably crowned by a garuda figure, which no longer survives. Qutb al-Din Aybak probably placed (or retained) the standard as a victory symbol when he founded the mosque in 1192.


Attribute NameValues
Alternate Title
  • Iron Pillar of Delhi

  • G. Massiot & cie

  • Columns

  • Architecture

  • Mosques

Date Created
  • 1910-01-01

Date Digitized
  • 2007-01-01

Cultural Context
  • Gupta

Place of Creation
  • Delhi, Delhi, India

  • +28.524656+77.185069

  • Delhi

Departments and Units
Member of
Temporal Coverage
  • before or circa 1910

Record Visibility Public
Content License


Collections Featuring this Image
Architectural Lantern Slides of India (includes present-day Pakistan)


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