Delhi is known for its mysterious past and monuments related to those mysterious stories. One of such structure that not only stands as an architectural marvel, but also has a mysterious past is the iron pillar present in the Qutub complex.

Location: Mehrauli, New Delhi
Entry Timings: 06:00 am to 06:00 pm
Nearest Metro Station: Qutub Minar Metro Station on Yellow Line
Nearest Bus Stand: Qutub Minar Bus Stand

When was the iron pillar built?

The Iron pillar in the Qutub complex stands in the Quwwatul Mosque which is said to be built in the year 1192, but the iron pillar is believed to be built in the fourth century, much before the mosque was constructed. Even though the pillar was built a long time before the mosque, it stands in good condition, while the mosque is almost ruined. It was not originally built and erected at its current location, but at a place named Udayagiri by Gupta king whose name is not known for sure. While some researchers believe that the pillar was made in honour of the Hindu god Vishnu, others believe that it was built to honour an emperor of the Gupta dynasty.

What is the structure of the pillar?

The iron pillar of Delhi is 7.21 metre high(approximately 24 feet), out of which 1.12 metre is not visible as it is below the ground. The iron pillar of Delhi is an architectural marvel with its lower diameter about 420 mm while the upper diameter is 306 mm and it weighs more than 6 tonnes. The rest of the structures that houses the pillar have almost fallen down while the 1600 year old pillar still stands as strong as a mountain. Tourists who visited the Qutub complex to see the iron pillar usually touched it, due to which an iron fence was erected in 1997 for protecting it from people.

What is inscribed on the pillar?

The researchers say that there are inscriptions on the pillar belonging to different eras, but the oldest inscription is said to be of the time of King Chandra. The verses have been written in Sanskrit language in the Brahmi script. As the iron pillar of Delhi is corrosion resistant, the inscriptions written on it are still present. Other than the mention of King Chandragupta II, there is another inscription mentioning the Tomara King, Anangpal.

Why is the iron pillar of Delhi famous?

The iron pillar of Delhi is not a huge monument or structure, but is a point of attraction for a large number of archaeologists and material scientists due to being corrosion free even after around 1600 of its construction. The pillar being rust resistant has always been a great mystery for a large number of people and the scientists are still working on it to find about it.
As per the scientists, the pillar is made of 98% wrought iron and has been given shape by hammering instead of casting. The fact that it is corrosion free represents the skill and the knowledge that the iron smiths had even during that time.
The main reason why the pillar is corrosion free is said to be the formation of misawite – a mixture of iron, hydrogen and oxygen because of high phosphorous content in the iron of that time. Misawite is said to have developed on the iron pillar after three years of its construction.

Even though the structure of the pillar does not attract a lot of people, but the age of the iron pillar of Delhi is what makes it worth giving a visit. Also other monuments inside the Qutub complex can be visited.

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