Photo Challenge: Over 100 Years Old – Qutb Complex

One of the things I notice when travelling to India is how new everything is back home, relatively speaking. One of our oldest cities, Quebec City, celebrated its 400th anniversary when I was there in 2008. For many places in India, this is still “recent history”.  There you get to walk around cities that are thousands of years old. In many cities, such as Delhi, there is history almost literally on every corner.  It is not unusual for me to see a building with a small plaque outside that leads me down a rabbit hole of history. Take this monument in Mehrauli:


This is the tomb of Mohammad Quli Khan, brother of one of the Emperor Akbar’s generals. But more recently, in the 1800’s, it was turned in to a house by Sir Thomas Metcalfe. This seemed like such a barbaric and disrespectful thing to do that I ended up reading more about him in The Last Mughal. I won’t spoil the book but what I can say is that it was fascinating – and Metcalfe turned out to be even MORE of a monster than I thought.

After I walked in this part of Mehrauli, I headed over to the Qutb Minar complex. While I’ve visited Varanasi and there probably saw the oldest buildings I’ve ever seen, I don’t know the specific ages – but the city has been there for thousands of years.  The Qutb Minar was built in 1193, though, and is one of the oldest things I’ve seen. Seeing something that old makes me feel a bit small and insignificant. We’re only here for the blink of an eye, after all.q5q4q3q2q


Challenge via Nancy Merrill Photography.

15 thoughts on “Photo Challenge: Over 100 Years Old – Qutb Complex

    1. I think in his case it was a few things. It was near the summer palace of the Emperor Bahadur Shah and he wanted to “keep an eye on him.” But then you still can’t get around the idea that he thought: “Oh this tomb right here will be perfect. Who could possibly object?” (Or more like “Who cares if anyone objects?” I told you he was a bit of a monster.)

  1. That’s what I felt when I came to America first, every town or village said “Historic town of XYZ” and it usually was built around the 18th century. And, I was like there are houses in my neighborhood older than that, how’s it historic? But, yeah the theory of relativity!

    And, the British were truly mean to the Mughals and to Indians, in general. But, that’s how people lived back then. Read about Aurangzeb, another Mughal emperor who killed all his brothers and kept his father captive so that he could rule 😛 His father was the one who built Taj Mahal!

    P.S I love the books of William Dalrymple!

    1. His books are really fun – especially City of Djinns – that’s one of my all time favourite books. Reading “The Last Mughal”, though, I was surprised to see how as much as you say “That’s how people lived back then.” we see similar things happening today – the same Islamophobia using the same made-up stories to justify barbaric acts. History really does repeat itself.

      I red a bit about Aurangzeb – he was something else – not just politically but socially and culturally. The arts took a real hit while he was emperor. As I read the bit about him in The Last Mughal a few months back, I thought to myself: “Imagine how it must have been to have a ruler for life. At least with Donald Trump we’ll eventually get another election.”

      1. When I wrote this – “That’s how people lived back then”, I somehow knew you would quote the current political atmosphere :). I still feel people were more barbaric and better strategists back then, though what’s happening in Syria is nothing short of that.

      2. I think I understand what you mean, though. The atrocities are the same (though the means of accomplishing them are getting more efficient. That said, I feel like there was more acceptance back then of that as “the way things are.” Obviously I wasn’t around back then and am likely not informed enough to say this but when Nadir Shah invaded and, among other things stole the Peacock Throne, it seems like that was just considered part of how countries interact. Now there is more protest and maybe more condemnation from other countries when this happens.

        I haven’t read Twilight in Delhi before but on your recommendation I just put it on hold at the library. It should arrive for me next week. Thanks for that – I’ll let you know what I think.

  2. Wonderful photos. I love the lines and the history is also interesting. Those of us from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA have such recent histories of white settlement that we do consider a building that is more than 200 years old is big deal but compared to India, China , Egypt and many other old civilisations that’s nothing. The way the British behaved in India makes me embarrassed to be English sometimes and I just hope we have all learned something since then.

    1. Thanks!

      I am especially amused watching Australian TV because of all of us, it seems that the idea of “old” there is the youngest. I never was so interested in history until I was actually able to see and touch some of it. Then it became fascinating!

      1. Yes, that’s true as Australia only celebrated its bi-centenary in 1988. Of course the indigenous peoples were there for tens of thousands of years but they didn’t build permanent structures.

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