Mughal Architecture

Kos Minar

Kos MinarKos Minars or Mile Pillars are medieval milestones that were made by the 16th-century Afghan Ruler Sher Shah Suri and later on by Mughalemperors. These Minars were erected by the Mughal Emperors on the main highways across the empire to mark the distance. The Kos Minar is a solid round pillar,around 30 feet in height that stands on a masonry platform built with bricks and plastered over with lime. Though not architecturally very impressive, being milestones, they were an important part of communication and travel in a large empire.

Kos Minars were used to mark the royal route from Agra to Ajmer via Jaipur in the west, from Agra to Lahore via Delhi in the north and from Agra toMandu via Shivpuri in the south. Modern Indian highways have come up along roughly the same routes as those marked by these minars.

Kos is an ancient Indian unit of distance. It can represent either a distance of approximately 1.8 km (1.1 mi) or 3.2 km (2.0 mi). Minar is a Persian word for tower.

Kos Minars became an institution during the rule of the Mughals that Emperor Jahangir and Shah Jahan,following in their predecessors footsteps added to the existing network of Kos Minars. In the north they were extended as far as Peshawar and in the east to Bengal viaKannauj. The geographic span makes for nearly three thousand kilometers of Mughal highways, accounting for nearly 1000 Kos Minars, i.e., 1 every Kos or 3 km. There is no record as to how many of them have survived.

Over the years these road monuments have gone into a state of disrepair and are almost lost in obscurity. Along India's old highways, particularly the Grand Trunk Road, one still finds Kos Minar.

According to a report of the Archeology Survey of India, there are 49 Kos Minars in Haryana. There are also five kos minars aroundLudhiana city. Of late some of these Minars have been restored and attempts for preserving many others are online.

Go to Navigation