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Qutab Minar

Fast Facts:

When it was built: 1199

By whom it was built: Qutub-ud-Din Aibak

Nature of the architecture: Afghan architecture

General Introduction:

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 in droves.


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 members.

Don't Miss:
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. offers complete information on Qutab Minar and other Tourist Attractions in Delhi