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Qutab Minar DelhiHistory & Cutlure

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Fast Facts
Location : New Delhi.
Built By : Qutub-ud-din Aibak, Iltutmish and Feroz Shah Tughlaq.
Built In Between : 1199 A.D to 1368 A.D.

Qutab Minar - Overview
Qutub MInar - DelhiIf you are an architecture lover and planning a trip to Indian capital, Delhi, then do not forget to include imposing Qutab Minar in your itinerary. Take a drive 13 kms south from Luteyn's Delhi, that is Connaught Place, to reach the Qutab complex. Although the 72.5 m high Qutab Minar or Victory Pillar is visible from long distance, but as you reach close to the Minar, your curiosity will increase many folds. Leave your vehicle, buy the entry ticket and enter inside the Qutab complex through magnificent Alai Darwaza.

As you enter inside the complex, you will see graves of historical persons who were cremated on the left and right of gateway. Of course, Qutab Minar is top priority for you in the Qutab Complex, but apart from this you will be certainly mesmerized by excellent examples of early Afghan architecture.

Qutab Minar - Architecture
Architecturally, Qutab Minar was built in Afghan style and it underwent repairing and remaking several times. When you reach close to tower, you will see Aayaats (Verses) from Holy Qoran inscribed all over the walls. In addition to this, you will also view another inscription in Kupee language that "The tower was erected to cast the shadow of God over both east and west."

The 72.5 mts Minar is slightly leaned and there are 367 revolving steps of flights reaching to top. At its root, the radius is 14.40 mts which gradually reduces to 2.44 m at the top. Qutab Minar has five distinct storeys, each marked by a projecting balcony. The first three storeys of Qutab Minar are made of red sandstone while the fourth and fifth floor are made of marble and sandstone.

Qutab Minar - History
The construction of Qutab Minar was started by Qutub-ud-udin Aibak in 1199 and it was completed by his son-in-law Iltutmish in 1236. Qutub-ud-din commenced construction of the minar but he could complete only the 1st floor, the 2nd and 3rd floor were made by Iltutmish and the 4th and 5th floor were added by Feroz Shah Tughlaq.

The earthquake of 1803 destroyed the Qutab Minar and in 1829 British Major Robert Smith re-built the tomb. Few years later the tomb was brought down from the Qutab Minar and reset in the adjacent garden. In 1981, some students died of stampede while on their way up the steps of flights, since then ascending to the Minar is forbidden.

Tourist Attractions in Qutab Minar Complex
Quwwat - Ul - Islam Mosque : Situated north-west of Qutab Minar, Quwwat - Ul - Islam mosque is one of the oldest mosques built in India. Quwwat - Ul - Islam mosque was built in between 1193 and 1198 A.D. Qutub-ud-din began the construction of this mosque in 1193 but a number of additions and extensions were made over the centuries. The original mosque was built upon a Hindu temple, an inscription over the eastern gateway states that the mosque was built with materials obtained from demolishing '27 idolatrous temples.' Initially, this mosque was small, later in 1210 - 1230 A.D, Shamsuddin Iltutmish extended the whole compact area to double and surrounded it with huge walls. In 1300 A.D, Alauddin Khilji increased the area by adding a court to the east and the huge Alai Darwaza gateway.

Even today, you can see the Hindu and Jain origins in many of the elements used in mosque's construction. The Prayer Hall is 16 mts high and it has arch-type design, while the sand-stone veil built in Indo-Islamic style has hand-written Aayaat from Holy Qoran.

Iron Pillar : Just adjacent to the Quwwat - Ul - Islam mosque is 7.2 mts high Iron Pillar. The Iron pillar stands in the courtyard of the mosque which has been here even much before the construction of the mosque. Originally the Iron Pillar was erected here in the 4th century A.D by Chandra Varman but a six line Sanskrit inscription indicates that it was brought here from somewhere else. You may see the carrier of Vishnu, Garur on the Iron Pillar and it seems that it was brought from a Vishnu Temple.

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It is believed that the Iron Pillar was built on Vishnupad hill by Chandragupta Vikramaditya (375 to 413 A.D) that might be transferred by Tomar King Anangapal, the creator of Delhi. Another interesting thing about this Pillar is that the iron has not rusted even after more than 1,500 years. Hearsay, if you can catch round the Iron Pillar by your own arms on back projection, your wish will be fulfilled, so you should take a chance.

Iron Pilar - Qutub MinarAlai Minar : Head north of the Qutab Minar and the Quwwat - Ul - Islam mosque to see the Alai Minar, the unfulfilled dream of Alauddin Khilji. While Alauddin Khilji made additions to mosque he also planned a much more ambitious project. Khilji planned that he would build a second tower of victory just like the Qutab Minar and it would be twice the height of the former. But Alauddin Khilji died during the construction of Alai Minar and the tower could reach only 27 mts high. After Khilji, no one was willing to continue his over-ambitious project and kept the construction confined right at the stage of single floor.

Alai Darwaza : Alauddin's Alai Darwaza, the main entrance to the whole complex is a popular attraction which will fascinate you with its awesome architecture. Built in 1310 A.D, this red sandstone gateway is fully enriched with zafri network and stands just south-east of the Qutab Minar. Alauddin Khilji hired architectures from Bisenstine and Turkey to build this gateway and first introduced bow-type arch in Indian history.

Other Structures : The Imam Zamin tomb is another attraction which stands beside the Alai Darwaza. Imam Zamin came to India from Turkey in 16th century. The tomb of Iltutmish, who died in 1235 lies by the north-west corner of the Quwwat - Ul - Islam mosque. To the South-West of mosque, Allauddin Khilji (1316) was cremated in L-shape graveyard of Seljuk design.

How to Reach
By Air : Delhi has two airports - Indra Gandhi International Airport and Palam Domestic Airport. Both these airports are connected with regular flights from important cities of the country and the world as well. Frequent shuttles run between these airports.

By Train : Delhi has three major railheads namely - Delhi, New Delhi and Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station. These stations are served by many express and super fast trains from various parts of the country.

By Bus : Good motorable roads including National Highways and State Highway link Delhi with nearby states and rest of the country.

Local Transport : Buses, Taxis, Cars, Auto-rickshaws are available as local modes of transport, you can reach Qutab Minar by opting any mode. Metro railway is new attraction in Delhi but presently it is not linked to Qutab Minar.

Places Where You Can Stay
Plenty of accommodation options are available in Delhi that suit your budget. Choose from wide array of hotels ranging from five star to tourist lodges and enjoy a pleasant stay during your Delhi trip.

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