Mystery of the ancient iron pillar in India

(ORDO NEWS) — The Iron Pillar of Delhi, almost 7 meters high, is located in the Quvwat-ul Mosque at Mehrauli in Delhi, India. It weighs over 6 tons and is 98% wrought iron.

It is believed that the column was made using forge welding. The column is richly decorated, but it is unlikely to cause awe, if you do not know how long and mysterious its history is.

Pillar that is 1600 years old

The Quwwat-ul Mosque dates back to 1192. She stands around the Iron Pillar in ruins, betraying her great age. The mosque is a relic of Islamic India. The iron pillar dates back even further than the ruined Islamic building surrounding it.

But at first glance, the iron pillar does not betray its age. It was forged 1,600 years ago (sometime in the 300s) and brought to Delhi about 1,000 years ago, before the mosque was built.

Such an old iron pillar should have crumbled into dust long ago and scatter from the wind. However, the Hindu pillar stands firmly above the Islamic ruins, which will crumble to dust long before it.

King Chandragupta II

According to a popular translation of the Brahmi inscription on the Iron Pillar of Delhi, the pillar was made for the king. The king is presumably of the Gupta period, given the era of his creation. It was also made in honor of one of the most important Hindu gods – Vishnu.

For which Gupta king the Iron Pillar was made, the inscription does not specify. However, it is widely believed that the inscription refers to King Chandragupta II, who reigned from approximately 375 to 415 CE.

mystery of the ancient iron pillar in India 2
Close-up of the inscription on the Iron Pillar

An 1888 translation of the inscriptions by John Fleet reads:

“He, on whose hand glory was inscribed with a sword, when in a battle in the countries of Vanga (Bengal) he kneaded (and turned) back (with his) chest the enemies, who, having united together, opposed (him); – he, whom, having crossed in the war, the seven mouths (rivers) of Sindhu, the Vahliks were conquered; – he, whose breezes still smell fragrant of the southern ocean.

He, the remnant of great zeal, whose energy, having completely destroyed (his) enemies, like (the remnant of a great blazing heat) a burnt out fire in a large forest, does not even now leave the earth; although he, the king, as if weary, left this land and went to another world, moving (bodily) from to the land (paradise), conquered (by the merits of his) deeds, (but) remaining on (this) earth (by the memory of his) glory .

By him, the king, the only supreme sovereignty in the world was achieved, acquired by his own hand and (which he enjoyed) for a very long time; (and) who, having the name of Chandra, wore the beauty of the face like (the beauty of) the full moon – with faith fixing his mind on (the god) Vishnu, this exalted standard of the divine Vishnu was installed on the hill (called) Vishnupada ”

Why was it created?

The purpose of the Iron Pillar in Delhi is one of many mysteries. Some say it was a flagpole made for the king mentioned in the inscription. Others say it was a sundial in its original location in Madhya Pradesh. Why he is no longer in Madhya Pradesh is another mystery.

There is no evidence of who moved the pillar 1,000 years ago, how it was moved, or even why. All we can say with certainty about this aspect of the pillar’s history is that it has been part of the Delhi landscape for a very long time.

How had she seemingly remained untainted for so long? It seems that the column does not rust. Although now we know that this is not entirely true. For his age, he is in incredible condition. However, it is not without rust.

A small amount of rust appeared on the column. This does not make the state of the column any less mysterious. As mentioned above, it should not exist. How does she survive the years? It is not easy to answer this question.

mystery of the ancient iron pillar in India 3
Photograph of John Edward’s Column taken in the 1880s

Possible explanations for its preservation

One of the main catalysts for rust is humidity and Delhi is not very humid. This may be one factor in the natural preservation of the iron pillar in Delhi. Other possibilities include the craftsmanship of the people who made the pole, the quality of the materials used, and the fortunate conditions that resulted in the protective layer on the pole.

A study conducted in 1963 by M.K. Ghoshem of the National Metallurgical Laboratory, suggests that during the construction of the column, pieces of red-hot iron were struck in turn with a hammer to give it shape.

Each piece weighed between 44 and 66 pounds. On closer examination, traces of a hammer used to forge iron are visible on the surface of the pillar. According to Ghose, 120 workers spent two weeks building the column.

The low level of iron rust is likely due to the high phosphorus, low sulfur, low manganese, and high slag content of wrought iron.

The design of the pillar is still a mystery. An analysis of the pillar itself, or a study of India’s rich history, may ultimately provide the answer.


Contact us: [email protected]

Our Standards, Terms of Use: Standard Terms And Conditions.