Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official eBook

William Henry Sleeman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 897 pages of information about Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official.

33.  ‘Basant’ means the spring.  The full name of this festival of the spring time is the Basant Panchami.

34.  According to Harcourt (The New Guide to Delhi, 1866), the tomb of Iltutmish was erected by his children, the Sultanas Rukn-ud-din and Razia, who reigned in succession after him for short periods, that is to say, Rukn-ud-din Firoz Shah for six months and twenty-eight days, and the Empress Razia for about three years, from A.D. 1236 to 1239. (See Carr Stephen, p. 73.) Iltutmish died in April, A.D. 1236, not in 1235.  Fergusson observes that this tomb is of special interest as being the oldest Muhammadan tomb known to exist in India.  He also remarks (p. 509) that the effect at present is injured by the want of a roof, which, ’judging from appearance, was never completed, if ever commenced’.  Harcourt (p. 120) states that ’Firoz Shah, who reigned from A.D. 1351 to A.D. 1385 [sic, 1388], is said to have placed a roof to the building, but it is doubtful if there ever was one, as there are no traces of the same.  Cunningham and Carr Stephen (p. 74) both find sufficient evidence remaining to satisfy them that a dome once existed.  Fanshawe (p. 269) says ’that the chamber was intended to be roofed is clear from the remains of the lowest course of a dome on the top of the south wall; but, if it was built for her father by Sultan Raziya, as seems probable, it is quite possible that the dome was never completed’.  The interior, a square of 29 1/2 feet, is beautifully and elaborately decorated, and in wonderful preservation considering its age and the exposure to which it has been subjected.  The walls are over seven feet thick, the principal entrance being to the east.  The tomb is built of red sandstone and marble; the sarcophagus is in the centre, and is of pale marble.

35.  Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din Balban reigned from February, A.D. 1266 to 1286.  I cannot discover any authority for the statement that he finished the Kutb Minar, and ‘added the church’.  It is not clear which ‘church’, or mosque, the author refers to.  For a notice of Balban’s tomb and buildings, see Carr Stephen, pp. 79-81, He certainly did not finish the Kutb Minar.

36.  See A.S.R., vol. i, p. 199. ’Top of the Kutb Minar.—­This octagonal stone pavilion was put up in A.D. 1826 over the Minar by Major Smith, of the Engineers, who had the superintendence of the repairs of the Kutb, but it was taken down by the order of Government’ (Harcourt, The New Guide to Delhi, p. 123).  This ‘grotesque ornament’ was removed in 1848 by order of Lord Hardinge, and bereft of its wooden pavilion, which had carried a flag-staff (Carr Stephen, p. 64; Fanshawe, p. 266).  It has now been moved farther and more out of sight.

37.  This alleged outrage does not appear to have really occurred.  The author seems to have been misinformed about the position of Ala-ud-din’s tomb, which still exits in the central room of a building, the eastern wall of which is in part identical with the western wall of the extension of the Kutb Mosque, built by Iltutmish (Carr Stephen, op. cit., p. 88).  Fanshawe agrees (p. 272).

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