Black and White Sunday: Headshot

Water Carrier – Chennai India

Please visit Paula for more head shots.

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Q for Qutb Minar

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(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

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

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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.

L for Lotus Temple

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The Lotus Temple, located in New Delhi, India, is a Bahá’í House of Worship completed in 1986. Notable for its flowerlike shape, it serves as the Mother Temple of the Indian subcontinent and has become a prominent attraction in the city. Wikipedia

Baha'i Temple (6)Delhi in winter is unfortunately plagued by fog and pollution caused by the many open fires in the city. Hence the rather hazy photographs.

Before you reach the House of Worship you need to deposit your shoes at the shoe room.  You can then enter the Prayer Hall, which is a place for silent prayer and meditation for people of all religious backgrounds. Photographs are not allowed inside, but it is very plain with rows of chairs although the roof structure is quite interesting.

Baha'i Temple (4)

The lotus has been used as a unifying symbol for all Indian religions.  The most basic idea in the design is that light and water are used as its two fundamental elements, and that these two elements alone are responsible for the ornamentation of the House of Worship in place of the thousands of statues and carvings to be found in other temples.

 

J for Jawab

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

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The Taj Mahal, still one of the Seven Wonders of the World, attracts millions of visitors each year.  The traditional southern view of the white domed mausoleum doesn’t always demonstrate the sheer scale of the building, nor take into affect the remainder of the integrated structures on the complex and its harmonious proportions.

Jawab - facing west
Jawab – facing west

At the far end of the complex, there are two grand red sandstone buildings that are open to the sides of the tomb. These identical buildings flank the main tomb effectively and help to present the white marble monument in an aesthetic setting and form an integral part of the Taj design.

At the western side is the mosque (masjid) facing east, reported to have been built by Isa Muhammed 1631-1648. More about this when we reach M. On the eastern side is the Jawab (literally “answer”; a building mirroring the mosque) and providing aesthetic balance to the site. At the time of my visit the Jawab was covered in scaffolding, so I wasn’t able to go inside.

Jawab
Jawab

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