home thoughts from abroad

Home thoughts from abroad is a new series on Travel Words featuring a single photograph that reminds me of a country visited and showing something that uniquely identifies it as being ‘abroad’.

Wearing Feetbells (Ghungrus)

India. 2008. Almost exactly 35 years since my first visit in 1973 as a young woman travelling overland from England. This time I wasn’t roughing it, but staying in a resort at Fisherman’s Cove near Chennai. A comfortable beach cabin with a marble bathroom. Buffet meals with dosa pancakes for breakfast. The sweet scent of frangipani and the wild waves of the Indian Ocean sending me to sleep at night.

Just looking at the dancers with their feet-bells brings back the memory of the gently resonating bells representing precisely the rhythmic movements of the dancing feet.

June Squares | Roofs

It’s June and another 30 day challenge from Becky.  ‘The Life of B’ This month she is looking for a roof or roofs or even rooves. Follow the link for the rules.

Resembling the lotus flower, the Baha’i Temple in  New Delhi, India displays the richness of imagination of the architect behind the design.

June Square | 3rd June

Q for Qutb Minar

frizztext hosts a weekly A – Z Challenge

A_Z logo

Event Type: General Blogging

Start Date: Tuesdays, recurring weekly

Description: Every Tuesday I offer the “A to Z challenge”, walking step by step through the alphabet.

If you would like to join in then please click here 

(A special post today as this is the 200th on this blog!)

The Qutb Minar is in Delhi, India.

Originally the minar had only 4 storeys, faced with red and buff sandstone. The uppermost storey which was damaged in 1368 during Firuz Tughluq’s reign was replaced by him by 2 storeys, using marble but leaving the lower portion of the 4th storey in original red sandstone.

The minar narrows from the bottom to the top. It has a diameter of 14.3 meters at the bottom, while at the top it is only 2.7 meters

Verses of the holy Quran in Naskh style on the walls of Qutb Minar

With a height of 72.5 m and 379 steps, it is the highest stone tower in India and a perfect example of minar known to exist anywhere.

Verses of the holy Quran in Naskh style on the walls of Qutb Minar

close-up

The mosque is in ruins today but indigenous corbelled arches, floral motifs, and geometric patterns can be seen among the Islamic architectural structures. Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, constructed by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak, dates back to the year 1198. (below and header photo)

Alai Gate
Alai Gate

Alai Darwaza is the name given to the southern gateway of the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque. Ala-ud-Din Khalji got the gateway constructed in the year 1311. It boasts of being the first gateway with a horseshoe arch and true dome. Along with that, it was also the first structure, which employed Islamic principles of construction and decoration.

Q = Pillars
Jain Temple Pillars

All the artisans employed for the construction of Qutb Minar were Hindus and even the raw material for the monument was obtained from existing Hindu and Jain temples. Since human and animal figures are not allowed in Islam, the motifs illustrating them were later disfigured.

M for Mosque, Minarets and Mausoleum

frizztext hosts a weekly A – Z Challenge

A_Z logo

Event Type: General Blogging

Start Date: Tuesdays, recurring weekly

Description: Every Tuesday I offer the “A to Z challenge”, walking step by step through the alphabet.

If you would like to join in then please click here

The five principal elements of the Taj Mahal complex—main gateway, garden, mosque, jawab  and mausoleum (including its four minarets)—were conceived and designed as a unified entity.

A couple of weeks ago I used the Jawab to illustrate architecture for the letter J  so this week I am going to show you the Mosque, Minarets and Mausoleum which were mentioned in that post. Remember, the Jawab is simply a building mirroring  the Mosque for symmetry in the design.

Mausoleum and Minarets
Mausoleum and Minarets

At the western side is the mosque (masjid) facing east, reported to have been built by Isa Muhammed 1631-1648. It is built of red sandstone and has one dominant portal known as an iwan.

Mosque
Mosque

Either side of the major iwan are two smaller arches sandwiched between four towering pinnacles. The spandrels above the arches are studded with coloured marble inlay and the mosque dados feature naturalistic floral designs.

mosque

On the roof and complementing the arches below are three marble-coated domes. Inverted lotus shaped designs cloak the top of the domes, surmounted by gilded finials. On the four corners of the mosque are chattris, or domed kiosks, which have a marble coated veneer.

Mosque
Mosque

I will also include a minaret, four of these form part of the mausoleum, which have the same chattris as on the corners of the mosque and jawab.

Minaret and Chattri
Minaret and Chattri

One of the most beautiful structural compositions in the world, the Taj Mahal was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.