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Delhi : Smith's Cupola in Qutub Complex

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Smith's Cupola aka Smith's Folly is located near Sanderson's Sundial in the Qutub Complex, which is located near the Mehrauli Archaeological Park on the Sri Aurobindo Marg, the closest Metro station being Qutub Minar.

My first thoughts on the Smith Cupola, were. "Why is this built in the middle of nowhere?" 
Qutub Minar

Rohan, my friend and guide informed me that it was once placed atop the Qutub Minar. To which, I was like, "What?" as it didn't match the design of the Qutub Minar.

The Qutub Minar, was built to commemorate the victory of Muhammad Ghori over Prithviraj Chauhan, in the 13th century A.D. It was the first monument of Islamic Afghan architecture in India. 
Smith Cupola

Qutub-ud-din Aibak initiated the construction of Qutub Minar. Qutub building Qutub. But he could finish only the first storey in his lifetime, The Minar was made of red and buff sandstone with fluted columns on the exterior and covered with the kufic style of Islamic calligraphy. Iltutmish, Qutub-ud-din’s successor carried the work on to completion, he constructed three more storeys in the same style.

The Minar was the tallest structure then and hence had to suffer the wrath of mother nature i.e earthquakes and lightning. Due to which the top most part of the Minar fell to the ground. It was then repaired under the orders of Feroz Shah Tughlaq. The repairs were done with marble and a new Cupola was placed atop it.

Mother Nature attacked again in 1803 with a earthquake and it destroyed the Cupola built by Feroz Shah.

By this time the British, were in India. Major Robert Smith was authorized by the British Governor General of India (Name not known) to carry on the repairs. 

Major Smith was asked to re create and not re invent. Which he did. He had replaced the Indo Islamic cupola with a Bengali Styled Chattri. As the work he had done nowhere matched the Qutub Minar, it was taken off and was placed in the Qutub Minar premises. It is called Smith's Folly ever since.  


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