Tomb of Shams ud din Iltutmish, Qutb complex, Delhi

Tomb of Shums-ood-Deen Altumash, Delhi

Google Street View

Tomb of Shams-ud-din Iltutmish, Qutab Complex (YouTube)

Shamsuddin Iltutmish was a slave of Qutbuddin Aibak. Due to the good education and wide knowledge of the Islamic world, which he acquired during the early days of his adversity, he quickly rose to be the amir- i- shikar and son in law of his master within a decade. In 1206, he held the charge of Badaun as one of the most trusted lieutenants of Aibak. He was manumitted by Aibak long before the latter received such formal manumission, himself. It was done in 1205- 1206 at the instance of Mohammad Ghori who was deeply impressed by the performance of Iltutmish in the campaign against the Khokhars. Iltutmish was not only a soldier but also a man of creative tastes. Often engaged in warfare and happily extended his patronage to the pious and learned. He was further endowed with laudable qualities; he was handsome, intelligent, sagacious and of excellent disposition and manners. He was also just, benevolent, impartial and a zealous warrior.

The hereditary succession of Aram Shah was refused by the Turkish nobility of Delhi, as he was an incompetent and unpopular ruler. Iltutmish was invited from Badaun to assume the leadership of Sultanate. Aram Shah refused to abdicate but was defeated and deposed by Iltutmish in 1211. Iltutmish was the real founder of the Delhi Sultanate. He made Delhi his seat of governance in preference to Lahore and proved to be a strong and capable ruler who enjoyed a long reign of twenty- six years.

The Qutb complex are monuments and buildings from the Delhi Sultanate at Mehrauli in Delhi in India. Construction of the Qutub Minar “victory tower” in the complex, named after the religious figure Sufi Saint Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, was begun by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, who later became the first Sultan of Delhi of the Mamluk dynasty (Gulam Vansh). It was continued by his successor Iltutmish (a.k.a. Altamash), and finally completed much later by Firoz Shah Tughlaq, a Sultan of Delhi from the Tughlaq dynasty (1320-1412) in 1368 AD.

The tomb of the Delhi Sultanate ruler, Iltutmish, a second Sultan of Delhi (r. 1211–1236 AD), built 1235 CE, is also part of the Qutb Minar Complex in Mehrauli, New Delhi. The central chamber is a 9 mt. sq. and has squinches, suggesting the existence of a dome, which has since collapsed. The main cenotaph, in white marble, is placed on a raised platform in the centre of the chamber. The facade is known for its ornate carving, both at the entrance and the interior walls. The interior west wall has a prayer niche (mihrab) decorated with marble, and a rich amalgamation of Hindu motifs into Islamic architecture, such as bell-and-chain, tassel, lotus, diamond emblems. In 1914, during excavations by Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) Gordon Sanderson, the grave chamber was discovered. From the north of the tomb 20 steps lead down to the actual burial vault.

The Mausoleum of Shams al-Din Iltutmish (reg. 1211-1236), is located in the northwest corner of the Qutb complex next to Iltutmish’s own extensions to the Qutb Mosque.
The sandstone structure is square, measuring 9.1 meters along each side, with a height of 8.41 m to the base of the (conjectured) dome. It was constructed of new material, not making use of the spolia used in other buildings in the Qutb complex. It has three entrances, on the north, east, and south elevations. The western wall, facing Mecca, houses the mihrab as the central niche of three. The upper chamber, now open to the sky, contains the richly decorated marble cenotaph. Steps on the northern side leading down to the burial chamber below.


Leave a comment