The iron pillar of Qutub Minar in Delhi is nearly 24 feet tall and weighs 6 tons. This pillar is made of wrought iron. Recent studies into the structure have revealed that the pillar was crafted with the use of forge welding. Though a marvelous structure but it is well known for an ancient mystery. The pillar stands in the Quwwat-ul Mosque and was constructed in 1192. It stands among many ruins found in the area. The mosque is an testimony of Islamic India. But the pillar is much ancient then the other structures surrounding it. But onlookers will not be able to guess its age. Though the iron pillar was forged about 1600 years ago and moved to Delhi nearly 1000 years ago (even the mosque was built). Though such a pillar should have fallen to dust due to erosion and rust but till date the pillar stands tall. Though some of the other pillars in the locality are found in a dilapidated condition this is not the case with the Iron Pillar of Qutub Minar.
The inscription on the Iron Pillar states that the pillar was made for a king. The year prescribed for the creation of this Pillar roughly collides with the Gupta period. This pillar was constructed to honor one of the most important Gods of Hindus – Vishnu. Though the name of the Hindu king is not specified in the inscription but most researchers hold the king as Chandragupta Vikramaditya. But what was the purpose of this Iron Pillar? While some say it was a royal symbol for the mentioned king others opine that this was a sun dial in its original location in Madhya Pradesh. Why was it moved? No one seems to have a proper answer as to why and who moved this pillar from Madhya Pradesh to Delhi.
But the biggest talking point about the Iron Pillar at Delhi is how has it gone untarnished through the ages? Many explanations have been cited for this rust free nature of the pillar. The pillar is in unbelievable condition given the age of its creation. Though it has a small amount of rust but that does not undermine the mystery in any way.
One of the main catalysts for rusting is humidity and Delhi is not very humid. This is one of the factors that has contributed to the rust free nature of the Iron Pillar of Delhi. Other reasons are the master skills of the men who made this marvel. May be there was a protective coating provided to the iron which has made it withstand for so many years. Though there are extensive studies going on to determine the key to rust free pillar but the keys might have been lost in time.
Today the Iron pillar of Qutub Minar simply stands as a marvel of Indian architecture and a mystery to the world.