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  • Qutub Minar is not a place of worship, nor can it be revived as one under the laws of the land, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) told a Delhi court.

What’s the issue?

  • A plea has been filled in Delhi High Court seeking restoration of Hindu and Jain temples on the premises of Qutub Minar. The plea also claimed that 27 temples were demolished to build the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque at the Qutub Minar complex.
  • While ASI submitted that the Qutub Minar was not a place of worship when it was first notified as a protected monument in 1914.
  • ASI also maintained that the remains of 27 temples were procured for the mosque by spending 2,00,000 Deliwals (coins) on each and it has nowhere in the records mentioning that these remains were retrieved by demolishing temples.

About Qutub Minar

  • Qutab Minar is a soaring, 73 m-high tower of victory, built-in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak immediately after the defeat of Delhi's last Hindu kingdom.
  • The tower has five distinct storeys, each marked by a projecting balcony and tapers from a 15 m diameter at the base to just 2.5 m at the top.
  • The first three storeys are made of red sandstone; the fourth and fifth storeys are of marble and sandstone.
  • At the foot of the tower is the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, the first mosque to be built in India.
  • An inscription over its eastern gate provocatively informs that it was built with material obtained from demolishing '27 Hindu temples.
  • A 7 m-high iron pillar stands in the courtyard of the mosque.
  • It is said that if you can encircle it with your hands while standing with your back to it your wish will be fulfilled.

About ASI

  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), under the Ministry of Culture, is the premier organization for the archaeological research and protection of the cultural heritage of the nation.
  • Maintenance of ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance is the prime concern of the ASI.
  • Besides it regulates all archaeological activities in the country as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958., Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Rules, 1959 and Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010.
  • It also regulates Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972. For the maintenance of ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance, the entire country is divided into 24 Circles.