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Iron Pillar: History, Architecture and Relocation Delhi

Iron Pillar is around 24 meters tall and 16 inches in diameter pillar in Delhi India. According to Indian history, this pillar was constructed for the memory of King Chandragupta II.

Today this pillar stands in the Qutub Complex that locates in Mehrauli, Delhi. It is a very famous pillar for the rust-resistant composition of the metal. Mehrauli Iron Pillar weighs around 3000 kilograms or about 7000 lb.

About Iron Pillar of Delhi

Iron Pillar rust-resistant composition has attracted many metallurgists and archaeologists. It has been known as a testament to ancient Indian Blacksmiths skills. It is highly resistant to corrosion. Resistance to corrosion means there is an even crystalline iron hydrogen phosphate layer.

Thus it gets protected from the local climate of Delhi. The height of the Iron Pillar from the bottom of the base to the top of the capital is around 7.21 meters. Out of this, 1.12 meters is underground. Bulb shaped base has a height of 0.71 meters, and the bell pattern capital height is 1.07 meters.

Above the base, there are iron bars on which it rests. The lower diameter of the pillar is 16.4 inches, and the upper portion diameter is 306 mm or 12.05 inches. This gigantic Iron Pillar is expected to weigh around six tons. The fencing of this iron Pillar of Delhi was done in 1997 because visitors cause damage to it.

While once you visit, you will find many inscriptions on The Iron Pillar. The oldest inscriptions show the name of King Chandragupta II Vikramaditya in the Sanskrit language in the inverse form. No matter if this Iron Pillar stands in Delhi, but it is still a fact to know the original location of this pillar.

Iron Pillar History

This rust-resistant Iron Pillar stands in the middle of Empty Square in Delhi from around 1600 years back. It is older than someone who can expect to non-rusting exposed iron. According to people, this pillar must have become a pile of dust in such long years. People usually think that this Iron Pillar must have come from another place and another time.

According to the history of the Iron Pillar of Delhi, the pillar was made in the memory of the King of the Gupta Period. It was also constructed to honor the important god of Hindus – Lord Vishnu. But still, it is not clear for which Gupta King, this pillar was made for. But always, people believed that the inscriptions on the pillar show the name of Chandragupta II, who ruled from 375 to 415 CE.

Who built the Iron Pillar?

old Iron pillar image

The purpose of building this Mehrauli Iron Pillar is still a big mystery. Many people believe that this pillar was a sundial in MP, while many believe it was in the memory of King. However, again, people do not know why it is not in MP these days. It is also a big mystery.

Still, no answer moved Qutub Minar, Iron Pillar, 1000 years ago. People do not know they someone has touched it and reason for this movement. However, one thing is clear that this pillar is part of Delhi for a long time back.

Relocation of Iron Pillar

People believed that the Iron Pillar was used as a Trophy to build the complex Qutb and the mosque Quwwat-ul-Islam. However, it is not yet sure if a pillar was moved from another original place to Delhi. However, many say that relocating the pillar occurred with Muslim rule in Delhi. According to the scholars, the movement of the Iron Pillar happened in 1300 CE.

However, the original location of the pillar causes a big debate between people in the present time too. According to the inscription, the pillar was made at Vishnupadagiri. However, when it was the Gupta period, Mathura was a center for Buddhism.

Many others ensure that The Iron Pillar got erected at Udayagiri as this pillar has a close association with the King and Hindu god Vishnu. Also, Udayagiri was famous for iron mining and working. Later, people said that King Iltumish must have brought this pillar to Delhi in the 13th century.

Iron Pillar Art and Architecture

Since the above, there is a physical description for Iron Pillar of Delhi. Here is the architecture of this famous mysterious pillar.

At the top of the pillar, there are adorned carvings. Iron Pillar is full of inscriptions carvings on its surface. There is a deep socket known as the base of Iron Pillar, and here state of Lord Garuda is fixed. Inscriptions of this mysterious pillar describe its origin. However, people are still not clear about its exact origin.

There is a prominent indentation from ground level at 400 cm in the middle of the Iron pillar. There is a sign of destruction, too, which is believed to be because of the firing of a cannonball from close. According to the Indian history, people thought that Nadir Shah has even ordered for Iron Pillar destruction in the year 1739. However, many have researched if some precious jewels are present in it.

The fascinating fact of Iron Pillar Mehrauli architecture is that it did not destroy even in 1600 years. Researchers have been working on it to find the reason behind it. Researchers believe that the material used to build this pillar is resisted to corrode. Many believe that it is the weather of Delhi, which did not pillar to rust and corrode. Delhi has a dry and less humid climate.

Inscriptions on Mehrauli Iron Pillar

Iron Pillar delhi

Iron Pillar is mostly known for its inscriptions. It has an engraving of several dates that are still not known despite the easy access and prominent location of this pillar.

Inscription of the King Chandra

The eldest inscription states the name of King Chandra, and it is identified to be of Gupta emperor Chandragupta II.
The total area covered under inscription is 2’99.5” x 10.5”. The ancient inscription on this Iron Pillar is all safe because the pillar has not destroyed yet.

However, some letters are imperfect due to some strokes. The inscription has verses in the Sanskrit Language. Also, some inscription is written in eastern Gupta script. The size of engraved letters ranges from 0.3125” to 0.5,” and these letters have a bit resemblance to the notes on the Allahabad pillar. However, mantras are different from both of them. The character edges are straight ones. The inscription of Delhi is on the hard material.

A short inscription is also associated with Tomara King. Also, the primary inscription is for King Chandragupta. But still, the date of the pillar is a matter of debate. However, many believed engraving is also in the memory of Hindu Lord Vishnu. This pillar is supposed to continue for many years ahead of being rust-resistant.

Scientific Analysis of Iron Pillar of Delhi

Wrought iron pieces are believed to be used for constructing the Iron Pillar. According to a report published, the pillar is rust-free because it has a passive film to protect the iron rust interface. Also, many believed that there is the presence of phosphorus in the metal, and thus, it has adapted according to the existing atmospheric conditions of Delhi.

Upon iron oxidation, Goethite and Lepidocrocite are first amorphous oxy-hydroxides appears. Rust rates are high initially, and then chemical reactions take place. With this second phase, particle formation takes place. With this slow passivation of iron takes place, which reduces its rusting.

The second phase particles start acting as a cathode, while metal itself acts as the anode, which would lead to mini galvanic corrosion. There is the formation of a passive protective film on a metal that does not let it rust and corrode. Hence according to scientific analysis, this is a reason why Iron Pillar is famous for being rust-free.

How to reach the Iron Pillar of Delhi?

You will find this pillar presently standing in the Qutub Complex in Mehrauli. You can easily reach the Iron Pillar using public transport. Also, you can visit city buses to the Qutub Complex. Also, many people prefer using the metro for the same.

For the tourists, it is advised to reach Qutub Minar Metro Station on its Yellow Line. This station is the nearest one to your destination. 

  • Address: Qutub Complex, Mehrauli, New Delhi, Delhi 110030
  • Nearest Metro Station: Qutub Minar Metro Station on Yellow Line is the Nearest Metro Station of Iron Pillar
  • Timings: 7 am–9 pm
  • Entry Fee: Rs. 35 for India and Rs. 500 for other countries


Man is only responsible for making and destroying. And this is the reason for fence formation around this iron pillar because of damage caused by the visitors to this place. However, it is good luck if one stands to show its back to the pillar and make his hands meet behind it.

However, a passive layer formed on the surface of iron would have destroyed if people would keep touching it. Also, due to this, you can see discoloration at the bottom part of the pillar. This led the keepers to make a fence around the pillar area such that no one would touch it.

Places to Visit near Iron Pillar:



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