Pillared Cupola ''Smith' Folly'' at Qutub Minar Complex of Delhi is back to old glory

Cupola Smith' folly commons.wikimedia.org

Above image: Qutub Minar complex, Delhi. Smith's Cupola seen against the backdrop of Qutub Minar.....................

More than ones Qutub Minar,an important tourist destination in Delhi since its inception centuries ago has structurally suffered  and damaged due to natural causes such as  lightning strikes and earthquakes. The  minar after a long spell of time  was repaired by later rulers such as Feroz Shah and Sikander Lodi.  Sultan Feroz Shah Tughlaq repaired  the tower and added  two more stores. He now  increased the height of the minarand  added a cupola  (a rounded dome) on it. Now, you can see the two extended stories, but not the dome on the minar installed by Feroz Shah.

Qutub minar, ,view from Smith's Folly, Delhinavrangindia.in

In a severe earthquake in 1803 the cupola fell down from Qutub Minar. The British government under the English company instructed Robert Smith of the Royal  Engineering division  to carry out the repairs.as he was associated with the construction of James Church in Delhi. He came up with the installation of  pillared Chhatri in 1828 on the fifth storey, an incongruous  design that was a mismatch for the sultanate style structure built  several hundred years ago. The chhatri looked more or less like a cupola.    

Several years later  during the reign of  Viscount Hardinge, the Governor General of India Hardinge himself noticed the shape of cupola on the tower and realized that it was an  architectural  mismatch that was  not relevant to the era of the sultanate period. So, he  had it removed in 1848 set it on the ground level away from the minar. 

.Cupola Smith's Folly, Qutub Minar complex, Delhi.dreamstime.com/

Above image:  This cupola, set in one corner of the lawns of the Qutub Minar Complex, used to adorn the top of the  Minar. It was added by Major Robert Smith of the Royal Engineers in 1828

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in the recent past successfully completed the  conservation and restoration work. It took a while for them to fix the damaged  pillared red sandstone  cupola, popularly known as “ Smith’s Folly”, at the world heritage site Qutub Minar. In 1848 it was removed from the tower and set in this site during the English Company's rule.and since then it has been standing in the same site.  

The  badly damaged ornamental  chajja” was conserved, and if the conservation had not been taken at the right time  this pillar based structure  would have collapsed. The ASI engineers and technicians used old traditional technique in the conservation work. They used  a careful blend of  lime mortar, sand and surkhi (powdered form  of burnt bricks) mixed with liquid jaggery for  binding. As for a filling the gaps and joints they used  belgiri, gum and jaggery.