Chor Minar: Scare Tactic or Slaughtering Ground?

The Chor Minar may seem like a run of the mill heritage site, but its gory past has much more to reveal.

History and Purpose:

The Minar was built 7 centuries ago by Alaudin Khilji. It served as the collection site for the severed heads and skulls of thieves and enemies of the sultan. The structure served as a warning for those who dared to break the law and defy the state. It was Khilji’s way of instilling fear among the general public, and to reduce crime.

The Chor Minar was apparently meant to showcase severed heads, but today, it is a picnic spot.
Image Courtesy: Smit Sandhir

In its ‘prime’, the minar housed around 225 severed heads. In fact, there are holes to show where these are to be placed. At present, it forms a picnic spot for the general public in Delhi, and tourists and locals lounge around the area in the daytime. It is clear that the significance that this space has has been altered over time considerably. The Minar’s historic relevance has been largely forgotten and now it lies in a desolate state, frequented by local picnic goers.

The Minar may seem like any other heritage site. However, hearing the stories associated with it often leave visitors with an eerie feeling. At a closer look, the minar seems like it could fit pretty well in a horror movie too! There are even rumours of paranormal activity and hauntings in the area.


Makeheritagefun Event:

I plan to organise a #makeheritagefun event that educates people about the historical significanc eof the Chor Minar. By looking beyond the mere existence of the minar in today’s context, I would like to understand what its true purpose was. I will be engaging a group of friends and a few other participants through an interactive visit, as well as through online methods.

An information board of sorts that testifies to the fact that thievery was made an example out of through the Chor Minar.
Image Courtesy: Competent Authority, Delhi

I will engage a group of friends and other participants through offline means and word of mouth. Through this event I wish to discover the truth behind those 225 holes at the minar. Were they really meant to display severed heads? Or was it merely a scare tactic to ward off Mongols and crime? One can only find out through a more hands on experience with the place!


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