Introduction: Apparently the largest tower in the world ‘Qutub minar’ and also the tallest brick minaret in the world. Situated in the Mehrauli area of Delhi. Its design is inspired by the Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan. This beautiful tall minaret is standing in the Qutub complex with many other historically significant monuments like Quwwat-ul-Islam masjid, Iltumish tomb, Alai minar, Alai darwaza, Iron pillar and many others. Minaret was probably meant to be constructed as the tower where muezzin can call the prayer and also for calling people for prayer in Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque. The verses from the holy Quran are carved on each and every wall of Qutub Minar. Minar is 72.5 metres (239 ft approximately) high and have 379 steps in total. Qutub Minar becomes narrower as it goes up, thus decreasing the load on the lowest stories. It has a base diameter of 14.5m (46.8 feet approximately) while 2.95m (9 feet approximately) at the top story. Today public access to the inside of the tower has been stopped. Many other things are worth seeing in the qutb complex which are as given below
- Iron pillar
Another incredible attraction inside the Qutub complex is the 7 m (23 ft.) Iron Pillar known as “Iron pillar of Delhi” or “Dhwaja stambh”. Pillar is 17 inches in diameter form the base and 11 inches on the top. This Iron pillar weighs more than 6,000 kg. It is beautifully carved with sanskrit inscriptions which records that it was setup as a Dhwaja stambha of a Hindu temple. Despite being some thousand years old this pillar has not rusted till today. This is the reason that it not only attracts tourists but also draws attention of many famous archaeologists and scientists. It is belief that if you encircle the pillar while standing with one’s back facing, your wishes will come true. Fencing has been made for safety purposes. Legend has that Chandragupta II Vikramaditya erected this pillar in between 375AD and 414 AD in placed in front of a Vishnu Temple at Udayagiri around 402 AD. Later in 10th century king Anangpal shifted it from Udaygiri to Delhi.
- Alai Minar
The Alai Minar is an unfinished gigantic rubble structure monument that lies within the Qutub complex. Construction work of Alai minar was started by Alauddin Khilji after a win from one of his deccan campaign. Alauddin khilji wanted to build a structure that would double the height of Qutub Minar. The construction was completed till the first storey with the height of 24.5 meters (approximately). The construction left incomplete because of the demise of Sultan Ala-ud-din Khalji in 1316 AD. None of the other ruler could complete the construction of Alai Minar.
- Alai Darwaza
In 1311AD Allaudin Khilji ordered Turkic craftsmen to build a main gate for the Qutub Minar. It is a red sandstone structure which is 17.3 metre square, with arched opening on all sides. The walls of the Alai Darwaza are inscribed with Nashk script and have other decorative details in red sandstone and white marble. Alai darwaza adds grace to the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque to which it served as an entrance. Alai Darwaza is one of the first buildings in India to be built using an Islamic architectural style. It was considered to be one of the most important buildings of its time.
- Tomb of Iltumish
Tomb of Iltumish was built in 1235, and has an exquisite sculptural character. The central chamber is a 9 mt. sq. It has squinches which suggest that it used to be a dome. The interior west wall has a mihrab decorated with marble. Tomb has inscription from the quran on its walls which have been delicately carved giving the appearance of fine lacework in stone. Tomb is entirely made up of red sand stone and has 3 entrances on all 3 sides. Shams-ud-din iltumish who was the successor of Qutub-ud-Din Aibak built himself this tomb in 1235. This was the first Islamic construction in India.
- Quwwat-ul-Islam masjid
Quwwat-ul-Islam masjid is the earliest extant mosque in north india. It is built of red sandstone, gray quartz, and white marble. A beautiful but sophisticated carved temple ceiling with richly ornamented pillars can be seen on both sides. Legend has that these pillars were taken from 27 Hindu and Jain temples which were built by Tomars and Prithvi Raj Chauhan. This mosque was built along with the Qutub Minar in 1193 AD and finished in 1197 AD by Sultan Qutb-ud-din Aibak of the Slave dynasty. It is the only piece of the temple that stands in its original location. Just like other Delhi Mosques this mosque too is built on a raised platform and surrounded by pillared which were added by Iltutmish between 1210 and 1220 AD.
History: Qutub minar is a tower of victory built in 1192 started by Qutub-ud-din Aibak but finished by his successor Iltumish. It was built to celebrate the victory of Muhammad Ghori over the rajputs in 1192. Minar has five distinct storeys each one marked by a projecting balcony. The first three storeys are made of red stones built by Qutubuddin aibak in 1199. While the fourth and fifth storeys are of marble and sandstones were added by his son-in-law and successor, Shams-ud-din-Iltumish. In 1368 the top most storeys was destroyed completely due to a lightning struck. Firoz Shah Tughlaq restored it and added two floors which were made of white marble and red sandstone. Not only this, many a time Qutub minar got affected by earthquakes but it is still standing with the dignity.
Address: Aurobindo Marg, Mehrauli, New Delhi
Open: Daily (10:00 AM – 5:00 PM)
Entry Fee: 30 (Indians), 250 (foreigners)
Nearest metro station: QutbMinar
Best time to visit: October and March, when the weather is very pleasant.
Surroundings/markets: Nehru place
Celebrations: Qutub Festival
Contact no.: 011-24647005
Official website: http://www.qutubminar.org/