As we made our way towards the circular park, a chill swept through the air. The stories of torsoless ghosts amid graveyards spoke voluminous about the minaret that was to follow.
Surrounded by a thick canopy of trees and residential houses, the half ruined structure stood tall. Facing the tests of time as if a candle flame flickering across the sight of moon.
Our heart thudded loud at its sight. The stench of bat and creatures of the night filled its stairway. Facing us with an amplified silence stood the Chor minar.
Chor minar or ‘Tower of thieves’ is a 13th-century minaret with 225 holes, situated just off Aurobindo Marg in the Hauz Khas area, in New Delhi. It was built under the rule of Alauddin Khalji, of the Khalji dynasty.
According to local legends, during the reign of Ala-ud-din Khilji, severed heads of thieves were displayed and exhibited on spear through its 225 holes, to act as a deterrent. Serving it a nickname- “the tower of beheading”.
This reign of Delhi Sultanate is also marked as an epoch in the history of Delhi. It is recorded that during the raid of Ali Beg, Tartaq and Targhi (year 1305), a Mongol colony comprising of 8,000 Mongol prisoners was executed and their heads displayed in the towers around Siri.
This minaret, the half ruined ghostly tower to the left of the Delhi-Qutub road, is believed to be the existing structure from that tragedy.
Today the tower lays in a tattered condition, enclosed in a park within a housing colony. The surrounding serves a bit of silence, probably a reminder of the horrors that served this place.
A reminder of our heritage.