ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Incredible India: The Shaking Minarets of Ahmedabad

Updated on October 9, 2016
Jhulta Minar
Jhulta Minar

The Jhulta Minar or Shaking Minerets

Many architectural marvels around world, be it the ancient creations like 'Pyramids of Egypt' or 'The Leaning Tower of Pisa' and many more, have always intrigued even the brightest of the minds. They arouse curiosity to uncover the secrets behind these magnificient creations, especially considering the fact that all this was achieved in absence of all the modern machinery & technology. It was pure labour (man power) and know-how that makes it more and more fascinating. India too has its fair share of ancient marvels that I would like to cover and one such creation is the Jhulta Minar or the Shaking Minarets of Ahmedabad.

The minerets are located about a mile from Ahmedabad railway station of Gujarat state in the vicinity of Siddi Bashir Mosque that dates back to 1452. Though what remains of it is only the minarets and arched central gateway; the body of the building was destroyed in 1753 during the war between the Marathas and Khan of Gujarat Sultanate. Interestingly the Siddi Bashir Mosque was named after a favourite slave of the Sultan ruling that region. However it is believed that it wasn't Siddi Bashir who build the minarets but an architect Malik Sarang, a nobleman in the court of Sultan Mahmud Shah Begada, ruler of a nearby province.

Mystery of the Minarets

There is no specific reason as to why these shaking minarets were built in the city but people believe that they were built so as to avoid damages during earthquakes. Surprisingly, when the minarets were built, there was no conscious decision made to make them shake. In fact no one noticed the minarets shook or leaned at an angle for years. It was only in the 19th century that Monier M Williams, a European Sanskrit scholar first made this observation.

These minarets are about 21.34 meters (70 feet) high. Each minaret is three storied tall with delicately carved stone balconies around each storey. They have left the best of architects and pioneering design engineers intrigued as to why if you apply a little force on its upper arc, the minaret tends to sway. In fact, a minor movement in either of the minaret results in the vibration of the other minaret after a few seconds. Amazingly, the passage between the two minarets remains free from any vibration. The mechanism behind this is still unknown.

Menar Jonban, a historical monument located at Isfahan in central Iran is another ancient marvel of 14th century. Here too the minarets sway slightly when leaned upon.

Research and Theories

This shaking feature was of common occurence to another mosque 'Bibi-ki-Masjid' which once had a pair of shaking minarets. But the British tyrants, who were then ruling India, out of curiosity dismantled one minaret to unlock the secret of its construction and the mystery behind the swinging effect.

The Archaeological Survey of India says that this medieval engineering feat could possibly be attributed to the use of ‘flexible sandstone’ (a construction material) in the foundation.

Lalit Kumar, curator of ld institute of Indology museum claimed that with the help of geologists of ongc, he found that in the kind of sandstone used to build the minarets, feldspar gets dissolved under natural conditions making the sandstone highly porous. Further dissolution leaves large spaces, making the sandstone flexible. This combined with the inner spiral structure leads to the shaking of the minarets.

Yatin Pandya, the man behind the city museum, believed it was merely an accident that the minars are shaking. However he debunked Kumar's theory stating "porous sandstone is used all over the city, but the other structures are not shaking. Neither can the 'porous' element transmit like moisture, nor can vibrations happen because of the porous quality of the sandstone."

V. Nair of archaeological survey of India Ahmedabad believed that one-third of these two slender minarets are connected to the base and the diameter of the minars reduce as it rises from the base to the top. the stones of the minars are joined by lime mortar cushion. Kinetic force in one minar travels from the top to the base through the arches, as a result of which it shakes."

But all these theories lacked substantial research and supporting facts. The only thing so far accepted is that the minarets were not built with the plan that they would be shaken. This occurred over a period of time.

Entry to the shaking minaret is now prohibited for preserving and protecting the heritage as demonstrations of the minarets shaking or vibrating have led to damages to the upper sections of the minar.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)