The Eerie Story of Chor Minar or the ‘Tower of Thieves’

Chor Minar, Delhi
Chor Minar: The Tower With Holes
Chor Minar, Delhi
Chor Minar: The Tower with Holes

Location: Hauz Khas, South Delhi

If you think that this must be the Char Minar which has probably been misspelt, you are in for a surprise. This really is the Chor Minar of Delhi. The story behind this historical place is as bizarre as the name itself. Chor Minar, quite literally “the tower of thieves” served as a podium to display the severed heads of the thieves. This spooky tradition was followed during the reign of the Khiljis to deter the practice of theft in the empire.

Situated in the posh area of Hauz Khas, this unique minaret was built in the 13th century by the barbarian ruler Alauddin Khilji. Amidst lush greenery, the tower stands right in the centre of a platform, with arched recesses. On the east, a passage paves way to a spiral staircase that leads to the top. The most astonishing feature of this structure is the presence of around 225 holes in the wall. Legend has it that the heads of the slaughtered thieves that were caught under Alauddin Khilji’s rule were placed in each hole for public view. In case the heads exceeded the number of holes, the less important heads were piled in a pyramid outside the tower.

Today, the green patch around this horrific tower serves as a park where people spend joyful evenings. Little do they know about the horrendous tale of the tower. Crows and sparrows are seen sitting in the holes which once displayed human heads in them. The entrance of the tower’s staircase is locked, so you can only gaze at the tower from the outside. For history lovers–or only those brave of the heart?–Chor Minar is certainly worth visiting.
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