When it was built: 1199
By whom it was built: Qutub-ud-Din Aibak
Nature of the architecture: Afghan architecture
The Qutab Minar is the highest tower in India built of red
sandstone. The foundations of this architectural marvel were
laid by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak in the 12th century. But he did not
remain alive to see the completion of this marvelous structure,
which was completed later by Iltutmish and Firuz Shah Tughlaq.
The Qutab Minar is one of the best examples of Indo-Muslim architecture.
The Qutab Minar, 239 feet sandstone tower in India best exemplifies
Indo-Muslim architecture. This magnificent piece of architecture
is located in the Qutab complex in the Aurabindo Marg, near
Mehrauli, 14 Km south of Connaught place in Delhi.
The history of the origins of the Qutab Minar is shrouded in
mystery. Legend has it that the foundations of this tower was
laid by the founder of the slave dynasty Qutub-ud-Din Aibak
in the 12th century as a mark of victory against the last Hindu
ruler in Delhi. Muhammad of Ghur defeated Prithwiraj Chauhan,
the last Hindu ruler. He went to Afghanistan but left Qutub-ud-Din
as his viceroy. He crowned himself as the ruler of Delhi after
the death of Muhammad of Ghur.
Another version regarding the origins of the monument is that
it was built to proclaim the supremacy of Islam. Some others
point out that it was the holy sanctum for the Muslims to pray
to their almighty. Much against popular perception, some scholars
believe that it was not named after Qutub-ud-Din Aibak, but
after Khwaja Qutub-ud-din Bakhtiar Kaki, a saint from Baghdad
who was revered by Akbar. However what it is, it can well be
said that the monument was started by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak.
Qutub-ud-Din started the construction of the minaret in 1199
A.D. The Qutub Minar is itself built on the ruins of Lal Kot,
the red citadel the capital of the Jat, Tomars and the Chauhans.
He was inspired by the Jam of Afghanistan to build this fascinating
minaret. But he could not see the completion of this huge tower.
The tower has five storeys each with a projecting balcony. The
monument was built in three stages. The first was built by Aibak
himself, while the second and third storeys were built by his
son and successor Iltutmish. The fourth and fifth storeys were
built by Firuz Shah Tughlaq. The monument is marked by distinctive
features of architectural designs. This fascinating piece of
architecture has withstood nature's fury over the centuries.
Today the monument has a slight tilt, but still attracts tourists
The word Qutab Minar means 'axis minaret.' It is a 239 feet
tower built in red sandstone. The tower has five storeys each
with a projecting balcony. The highest stone tower in India
has a diametre of 14.32 metres at the base and about 2.75 metres
at the top. The first three storeys are made of red sandstone
while the fourth and fifth storeys are built with marble and
sandstone. The monument bears an Islamic character. Inscriptions
in Nagari and Arabic are engrafted in the plain fluted masonry
of the Minar. There is a door on the northern side, entrance
to the tower, which leads to a winding staircase with 379 steps
that leads to the balcony in each floor culminating in a platform
at the top. At the left side of the Minar is a Bengali styled
chatri known as Smith's folly.
The major attractions with the Qutab complex are Quwwat-ul-Islam
Mosque, lofty arched screen was erected by Shamsu'd- Din IItutmish
(AD 1210-35) and enlarged by Alau'd-Din Khalji and the tomb
of Iltutmish. The southern gate of are Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque
was built bu Alauddin Khilji. The Alai Minar north of the tomb
was built by Alauddin Khilji. The other attractions in the Qutab
complex are the Madrasa, graves, tombs, mosque and architectural
The intricate balconies held together by stalactite vaulting
technique and designed with honey combing is a special feature
of the Minar.
The Qutab Minar is a spectacular piece of architecture. You
should begin your tour of Delhi by visiting this mammoth architecture.
Indiaprofile.com offers complete information on Qutab Minar
and other Tourist Attractions in Delhi