Tomb of Qutb Ud Din Aibak

Many would have walked around the busy streets of Anarkali in Lahore buying or window shopping. But perhaps few would have known that in one of the streets of Anakarli Bazaar lies buried Emperor Qutb ud Din Aibak, considered to be the the first Muslim ruler of South Asia and builder of the famous Qutab Minar in Delhi, which is considered as the tallest brick minaret in the world.

Qutb-ud-din Aibak was born in Turk family of Central Asia. As a child he was captured sold as a slave, but was lucky to be purchased by one of the chieftains of Nishapur, who treated him like one of his own sons. Aibak received good education and was trained in the field of archery and horsemanship. However, upon death of chief Qazi, he was sold once again by the sons of the dead chief. As the luck would have had it, the famous Muhammad Ghauri bought him and became an instant favourite of his new master because of his exceptional character and qualities. Thereafter, Aibak steadily rose through the ranks and eventually became a General. Like Ghauri, Aibak performed his greatest deeds while still a subordinate. He was responsible for most of the conquests of Northern India and was appointed as Ghauri's Viceroy to Delhi. When Ghuri died in 1206, the Turkish Amirs and Generals elected Aibak as the new Sultan. It was he who shifted the capital first from Ghazni to Lahore, and then from Lahore to Delhi, and thus is considered as the first Muslim ruler of South Asia.

Qutab Minar - Delhi

Polo (Chaughan in Persian) and Aibak were synonymous to each other. Beside being a good rider, he was an avid polo player. This sport of his however cost him his life in 1206 AD and is now buried inside the Anarkali Bazaar in Lahore, where a new tomb was constructed over his grave around 1970. Though his tenure as a ruler was only four years, and most of them were spend in dealing with the revolts of nobles like Taj-ud-din Ildiz, Nasir-ud-din Qubachah and a few Hindu chiefs, yet he established a firm administrative system. He restored peace and prosperity in the area under him and roads were free from thieves and robbers. He started the construction of Quwaat-al-Islam Mosque at Delhi. He also laid the foundation of the Qutab Minar, which was completed by his successor Iltutmush. Aibak was known as Lakh Baksh (giver of hundred thousand) because of his generosity. He was also a pious Muslim. Historians have praised his evenhanded justice. He patronized Nizami and Fakh-i-Mudabbir, both of whom dedicated their works to Aibak. His successors, who ruled India till 1290, were also slaves like him and the dynasty is known as the Slave Dynasty.

The marble cenotaph is covered with a green cloth inscribed with Quranic verses.

(All photographs courtesy


This page was created on 13 March 2007

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