Qutab Minar (1)
This well framed view of the Qutab Minar at Delhi, the tallest brick minaret in the world, clearly shows several of the doors on its five floors.
Many thanks to Ken Creed for sending us these pictures, which were taken by his wife's uncle Terry Ruff during his time with No.357 Squadron, a special operations unit that operated over Burma, Malaya and Sumatra.
Qutab Minar (1) - History
Delhi is not only the capital of India but also a place that successfully reached the pinnacle of modern technology at the same time kept their cultural heritage intact and alive. There is something in its air which will make you fall in love with the city instantly.
The city boasts of a big population where people from all around India can be found. The city also boasts of a rich historical past, having seen a lot of dynasties which clashed with each other on a lot of ideological and other beliefs.
But even then, it stands as an example of how historical details of ideas exist all but in history books and how peace and communal harmony should be the real religion of us humans.
The city also has some of India’s most famous historical landmarks and monuments, which are always filled with tourists and visitors.
One such world-famous historical monument is none other than the Qutub Minar. The Qutub Minar Delhi stands tall today as an example to the world about what Delhi’s culture really is. Let us take a detailed look at this monument below-
Architecture of the Qutub Minar
It was ordered that this monument be constructed as a sign of victory and establishment of Muslim rule. So it was to be a grand work of Indo-Islamic architecture and design.
The exterior walls of Qutub Minar reveal its history of construction, with chiseled Parso-Arabic and Nagari character carvings. The inscriptions clearly describe the motive, way, the time taken and every minute detail about this monument.
From the intricate carvings, you’ll note an aura of Afghanistan pattern, blended with local artistic conventions having garlands and lotus borders. Fortunately, renovations of the minaret throughout time have maintained the original charm of the building.
Each of the five different storeys has a projected balcony that circles the Minar (backed by stone brackets). The first three storeys are made with red sandstone while the remaining were constructed using marble and sandstone. If you look closely the cylindrical shaft has inscriptions of the Quran.
Qutub Minar : Information, History, Architecture & Facts
With many different cultures, religions, languages and ethnicity, India has a rich and varied history. The many beautiful monuments in India which were built by our ancestors are evidence of that fact.
These monuments help us understand our past.
The past has a hand in shaping our present and future and it makes us who we are and what we are today. Therefore, it is undeniably important.
These exquisite monuments celebrate our rich and varied history, and make us appreciate our origins. They make us understand our history.
One of these beautiful monuments is the exceptional Qutub Minar. Qutub Minar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it was given this designation in the 17 th session of UNESCO in 1993.
It is located in the Mehrauli region which is in the outskirts of Delhi, the capital of India.
Qutub Minar is one of the main attractions of the capital city of India which sees a lot of visits from tourists from all around the world throughout the year.
Qutub Minar is a must visit place for all history lovers. Its spectacular build is sure to astound everyone who visits it.
There is a controversy regarding the name of the Minar.
Some say that the Minar got its name from Qutab ud din Aibak, the ruler and founder of the slave dynasty which ruled the Delhi Sultanate because he was the one who laid its foundation.
Others say that its name comes from the name of the great Sufi saint Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki because it was constructed to honour him.
Qutub Minar’s construction was started in 1192 by Qutab ud din Aibak, the first ruler of the Delhi Sultanate.
There is a controversy as to its origin. Many suggest that it was built as to commemorate the victory of Qutab ud din Aibak over the last Hindu kingdom of Delhi. Many others say that it was used to call people for faithful prayers.
It was built along with Quwwat ul Islam Mosque which is a beautiful monument on its own and one of its kind. There are many other rulers and important people who contributed towards its construction, repairs and maintenance.
Iltutmish, who ascended the throne of the Delhi Sultanate by succeeding Qutab ud din Aibak in 1211 is credited with continuing the construction of the Qutub Minar and added three more storeys to it, increasing its height and glory.
Later, in 1369, a lightning strike destroyed the top storey of the minar. This damage was repaired by Firoz Shah Tughlaq of the Tughlaq dynasty.
He not only repaired the damaged minar, but he also added another storey to it. After a while in 1505 an earthquake occurred.
This earthquake damaged the Qutub Minar profusely. This damage was reconstructed by none other than Sikander Lodi, a formidable ruler of the Lodi dynasty.
Much later, after the advent of the British in India, an earthquake occurred in 1803 which caused a lot of damage to the Minar’s structure. It was Major Robert Smith, a Major in the British army, who repaired these damages.
He also constructed a sixth storey over the fifth storey, thus creating a new storey. This storey was later considered a folly. In 1848, Viscount Hardinge the Governor General if India took the wise decision of taking the storey constructed by Major Smith down.
Today, this storey is kept to the east of the Qutub Minar for everyone to see. It is popularly known as “Smith’s Folly” as the construction of it was considered an architectural disaster, and it was nothing compared to the beautiful and masterfully constructed Qutub Minar.
Without the contributions of the aforementioned people, we wouldn’t have the Qutub Minar that we have today.
Historians suggest that the materials used for the construction of the minar were procured from the destruction of Hindu and Jain temples in Delhi. In fact, pillars from these temples can still be found in the Quwwat ul Islam Mosque.
These pillars still contain their original Brahminic inscriptions. Using these materials, the base of the Minar, that is, the bottom three storeys are built of red stone. The top storeys are built of marble and sandstone.
At 73 meters, Qutub Minar is one of the highest in the world. In fact, it is the tallest brick minar in the world.
The Minar’s base is 15 meters in diameter and it has five different storeys, constructed by different rulers at different times as stated earlier.
The three storeys that comprise the base of the whole structure are quite elaborate. Fluted shafts that are cylindrical in shape are built along with balconies.
These are built of red sandstone. The forth storey, constructed by a different ruler is quite plain. It is built of marble.
The fifth which is also the last storey is made using a combination of both marble and sandstone. Inside the Minar, a spiral staircase runs from the bottom to the top.
This staircase has 379 steps in total. These days, entry inside the tower is strictly barred.
This is because there have been cases of people committing suicide by jumping off the top of Qutub Minar. The tower is not exactly perpendicular to the ground.
It tilts 65 cm from the exact vertical perpendicular. But, this is considered to be within safe limits.
The fact that the Minar was constructed by different rulers at different times is evident from the evolution of its architecture.
The materials used for repair and constructions differ with different rulers and different times. At the bottom, Qutub Minar is 47 feet.
At the top, it is 9 feet. Thus, it is tapering. Qutub Minar also contains a lot of inscriptions in bands.
These inscriptions provide details as to who built the Minar, who reconstructed it, who repaired it, what materials were used, etc.
The Minar is also decorated with texts from the Quran written in beautiful calligraphy. Such beautiful engravings are difficult to find today. Such was the talent that was used in building this exquisite monument.
As the rulers who constructed this monument were from Iran and around it, the tower was constructed in Iranian style.
Historians suggest that the Minar has similar features as the Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan. But, this Iranian pattern of architecture is also complimented by local element of India.
For example, lotus engravings and garlands decorate the Minar. Thus, Qutub Minar’s architecture can be best described as Indo-Iranian. These spectacular features of the Qutub Minar make it one of a kind in the world.
There are constructions at the foot of the Minar, which are a part of the Qutub complex. There is the Quwwat ul Islam Mosque, the Iron pillar, Smith’s Folly, etc.
Like Qutub Minar, the Quwwat ul Islam Mosque was also built by Qutab ud din Aibak. This mosque is unique because it was the first mosque that was built after the conquest of India by Islamic forces in Delhi. It was built together with the Qutub Minar.
The Iron pillar is also a part of the Qutub complex. It was not built by Islamic rulers, but is thought to have originated in the Gupta Empire.
Historians say that it was built as a dedication to the Hindu God Vishnu. It is one of the most unique structures in the world.
The composition of the material used for the construction of the pillar is such that the metal does not rust, even today. This shows the high level of scientific knowledge that existed in those times and provides testimony to that fact.
All this contributes towards making Qutub Minar a truly spectacular monument which attracts thousands of visitors each year.
Qutub Minar reflects our cultural and historic heritage. It is a unique and important site, and the pride of our great nation.
Ten Lines on Qutub Minar
1) Qutub Minar which means pole in Arabic is the tallest single tower (73 meters) in New Delhi, India.
2) Qutub Minar is the historical monument of India, named after the famous Islamic emperor Qutab-Ud-Din-Aibak.
3) Qutub Minar structure is the tower of five storeys with 14.3 m base diameter which gets reduced to 2.7 m at the top.
4) Qutub Minar is built using red sandstone and marbles.
5) Qutub Minar comprises of spiral staircase with 379 steps.
6) Qutub Minar is located at the Mehrauli area of Delhi, India.
7) Qutub Minar has been listed to the UNESCO World Heritage site.
8) Qutub Minar was built in order to celebrate the victory of Mohammed Ghori over Rajputs.
9) Qutub Minar is surrounded by a green garden and Qutub complex is a collection of monuments.
10) Qutub Minar is a major source of attraction for tourists around the world.
1) Qutub Minar is built on the pattern of Indo-Islamic architecture similar to ‘Minaret of Jam’ in Afghanistan.
2) Qutub Minar opens every day of the week from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm and has a decorative light show in the evening.
3) Qutub Minar is surrounded by famous architectures like Alai-Darwaza, Tomb of Iltutmish, two mosques, etc.
4) Qutub Minar had been damaged in 1369 because of lightning strikes.
5) The damaged part of Qutub Minar was rebuilt by Firoj Shah Tughlaq.
6) The Qutub Minar is slightly tilted towards one side due to many renovations that were done over a period of time.
7) The walls of Qutub Minar have the inscriptions written in Urdu and are considered to be taken from verses of the Holy Quran.
8) It took almost around 75 years to build Qutub Minar and was started by Aibak in 1192 and finished by IItutmish.
9) Qutub Minar Festival is celebrated every year in the month of November and December.
10) The Minar has been affected by earthquakes in the past and has undergone a major reconstruction process in the year 1505.
1) Qutub Minar is the world's tallest brick tower built in Mehrauli, Delhi, which is made up of red sandstone.
2) It is a historical monument of India built by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak.
3) Qutub Minar is a 73 meter tall brick tower built in Indo-Islamic architectural style.
4) It has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
5) The base diameter of this tower is 14.3 meters and the top diameter is 2.7 meters.
6) There are 379 steps in its stairs.
7) It was started in 1199 by Qutub-ud-din Aibak but was finished by his successor Iltutmish.
8) Its fifth and last floor was constructed in 1368 by Feroz Shah Tughlaq.
9) The Qutub complex has several other ancient and medieval structures and ruins surrounding the tower.
10) It is the most visited monument of India where people come from every corner of the world to see it.
1) Qutub Minar is located in South Delhi at Aurobindo Marg, Mehrauli Delhi.
2) It is one of the most famous magnificent structures made up of red sandstone.
3) It is a magnificent specimen of Mughal architecture and has become a popular tourist destination in India.
4) It attracts millions of tourists every year and has been declared one of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
5) It is believed that it had seven storeys, but the top two fell down in the earthquake.
6) Some other unique structures such as Alai-Darwaza, Iltutmish's mosque, and many ruins, etc are around this tower and are also adding to its charm.
7) It is believed that the Mughals built this Victory Tower to celebrate their victory over the Rajputs.
8) The Qutub complex has an iron pillar whose height is 7 meters and believed to give good omen.
9) The walls of the minaret are written with various verses from the Quran (Muslim sacred mythological texts).
10) It also contains its own history written in Devanagari and Arabic letters.
Qutub Minar is a historically very significant monument. The iron pillar standing in the Qutub Minar complex has not rusted even after 800 years. Tourists, especially students from all around the world visit this place every year to see the beauty of a unique monument.
The Beauty of Qutb Minar Victory Tower
Located in Delhi, Qutb Minar is part of the Qutb complex which consists of many spectacular buildings and structures dating to the Delhi Sultanate. The Victory Tower was built largely of sandstone and is set in an extensive garden.
The Victory Tower measures 237 feet (72 m) high with a base diameter of 47 feet (14 m) and consists of angular and circular flutings, ornamental grooves, with an inscriptions dedicated to Mohammad of Ghor.
Beautiful detail of Qutb Minar, highest stone minaret ( kaetana / Adobe Stock)
The remaining tower is round and simple with geometric designs and quotes from the Quran, masterpieces done in Islamic calligraphy . The third story also has angular grooves, while the fourth is built of marble and has only a few inscriptions. The fifth level is constructed in a blend of marble and sandstone and also has relatively few designs. The tower has four loggias (balconies) with elaborately carved brackets.
The minaret is still in use and the faithful are called from here to the nearby Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque for prayer.
Qutab Minar (1) - History
Qutub-Minar in red and buff standstone is the highest tower in India. It has a diameter of 14.32m at the base and about 2.75m on the top with a height of 72.5m.
Qutb-u'd-Din Aibak laid the foundation of Qutab Minar in AD 1199. The minar was said to have been built to celebrate the victory of Mohammed Ghori, the invader from Afghanistan, over the Rajputs in 1192. He raised the first storey, to which were added three more storeys by his successor and son-in-law, Shamsu'd-Din IItutmish (AD 1211-36). All the storeys are surrounded by a projected balcony encircling the Minar and supported by stone brackets, which are decorated with honeycomb design, more conspicuously in the first storey.
Numerous inscriptions in Arabic and Nagari characters in different places of the Minar reveal the history of Qutb. According to the inscriptions on its surface it was repaired by Firoz Shah Tughlaq (AD 1351-88) and Sikandar Lodi (AD 1489-1517).
Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, to the northeast of Minar was built by Qutbu'd-Din Aibak in AD 1198. It is the earliest mosque built by the Delhi Sultans. It consists of a rectangular courtyard enclosed by cloisters, erected with the carved columns and architectural members of 27 Hindu and Jain temples, which were demolished by Qutbu'd-Din Aibak as recorded in his inscription on the main eastern entrance.
Later, a lofty arched screen was erected and the mosque was enlarged, by Shamsu'd- Din IItutmish (AD 1210-35) and Alau'd-Din Khalji. The Iron Pillar in the courtyard bears an inscription in Sanskrit in Brahmi script of 4th century AD, according to which the pillar was set up as a Vishnudhvaja (standard of Lord Vishnu) on the hill known as Vishnupada in memory of a mighty king named Chandra. A deep socket on the top of the ornate capital indicates that probably an image of Garuda was fixed into it.
The Tomb of IItutmish (AD 1211-36) was built in AD 1235. It is a plain square chamber of red sandstone, profusely carved with inscriptions, geometrical and arabesque patterns in Saracenic tradition on the entrances and the whole of interior. Some of the motifs viz., the wheel, tassel, etc., are reminiscent of Hindu designs. Ala 'i- Darwaza, the southern gateway of the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque was constructed by Alau'd-Din Khalji in AH 710 (AD 1311) as recorded in the inscriptions engraved on it. This is the first building employing Islamic principles of construction and ornamentation.
Alau'd-Din Khalji commenced Ala'i Minar, which stands to the north of Kutub-Minar, with the intention of making it twice the size of earlier Minar. He could complete only the first storey, which now has an extant height of 25 m. The other remains in the Qutab complex comprise Madrasa, graves, tombs, mosque and architectural members.
History of Qutub Minar
The Qutub Minar (also Qutb, Qutab) is an outstanding monument of the Muslim rule in India. Ibn Battuta, a famous Moorish travelerand commentator of the Middle Ages, spoke of the Minar as “one of the wonders of the world – which has no parallel in the lands of Islam”.
The only Muslim building known to be taller than the Minar is the Minaret of the mosque of Hassan at Cairo. The Qutub Minar, however, has a far nobler appearance and is distinctly superior to its Egyptian rival in design and finished.
The Qutub Minar, which stands a little outside the south-east corner of the original mosque – Quwwat-ul-Islam – served a double purpose, namely, as a tower of victory and as a minaret of the mosque.
The history of the Qutub Minar is writ on its Amir Khusrau’s profile. One of the Arabesques on the basement storey contains the name of Qutb-ud-din Aibak who laid the foundation of the Muslim power in India. Two other bands refer to his master, Muhammad-bin-Sam of Ghur. The inscription on the second, third and fourth stories bear the name of Iltutmish, the successor of Qutb-ud-din Aibak. On the fifth storey, a rubric indicates the restoration of the tower by Sultan Firuz Shah Tughlaq. The inlet of the tower, which is more recent, refers to its renovation by Sikandar Shah Lodi in 1503. Thus it is clear that the Minar is the work of Qutb-ud-din Aibak who is said to have commenced it in about 1200 A.D. and probably finished the basement storey.
As the Qutub Minar was damaged by lightening in 1368 A.D., Firuz Shah Tughluq rebuilt the fourth storey, added the fifth and surmounted it with a harp-shaped cupola. The cupola has since disappeared (having collapsed in an earthquake in 1803 A.D.) but the fourth and fifth stores still survive. They are essentially different, both architecturally and in medium of their construction, from the work of Aibak and Iltutmish. The fluted storeys are replaced by cylindrical shafts, and the bulk of the work is in white marble in lace of red stone. During the waning glow of the Mughal power in India, the Minar was again damaged by an earthquake. In 1828 A.D., Major Robert Smith of the Bengal Engineers carried out its repairs with skill but his innovations – the balustrades, built in ‘true Gothic style’, and the entrance gateway – are open to serious objection. Smith also added to the Minar a kiosk which appeared so incongruous that Lord Hardinge ordered its removal in 1848 A.D.
The Qutub Minar is 72.56 meters in height with a base diameter of 14.4 meters, and an upper diameter of nearly 2.7 meters. The shaft is divided into five stories of which the lover storey is 7.72 meters and that of the fifth storey are 6.8 meters. The shaft is thus 71.33 meters high, excluding Firuz Shah’s cupola, of which now only the stump,. 0.6 meters high, may be seen on the top of it. The plinth on which the shafts stand is 0.6 meters high. Thus the total height of Qutub Minar is 72.55 meters. An attractive feature of the Qutub Minar is that the lowest storey has twenty-four flutings, alternately angular and circular the second storey had circular flutings, and the third only angular. Each fluting is carried right up to the end of the storey, and this undoubtedly adds to the beauty and effect of the tower. These three storeys are of red sandstone. Above this, however, the Qutub Minar is plain and made principally of marble with belts of red sandstone. Another remarkable feature of the Minar is that it is ornamented by four boldly-projecting balconies. A doorway in each storey opens on to its own special balcony.
Another notable feature of the Minar is that unlike the Qutb Mosque its decoration is “consistently saracenic in character from base to top”.
Photography tips for Qutub Minar
I would suggest visiting Qutub Minar on a weekday with fewer tourists. Photographing the Qutub Minar at dawn and dusk will give you some amazing pictures. Check out my Instagram for the unique pictures I clicked. As most of the monuments in Qutub Minar’s complex are in ruins, so I would suggest trying clicking some unique angles like the one below.
I went on a Sunday and the Qutub Minar complex was flowing with tourists and it was difficult to click. So if you love photography with fewer people around, I would suggest going as early as possible and avoid weekends.
Best Time To Visit Qutub Minar
Since Delhi experiences really hot summers, it would be recommended if the place is visited from November to March months.
The best time to walk around the grounds would be during the evenings but the complex does get crowded during the day.
Hence, those who arrive early in the morning will get relative peace as well as a beautiful scene of Qutub Minar.
Frequently Asked Questions About Qutub Minar:
Q1. Where Qutub Minar is situated?
Ans1. Qutub Minar is situated in Mehrauli area of Delhi, India.
Q2. What is the ticket price of Qutub Minar?
Ans2. The ticket price of Qutub Minar in 2020 for Indian tourist is Rs35 and for foreigners is Rs 550. Ticket price for children below 15 years is free. Additional Qutub by Minar charges is Rs 25 for video camera use.
Q3. What are Qutub Minar timings?
Ans3. It is open on all days of the week and the opening time and closing time of Qutub Minar is from 7 am- 5 pm. The visitors must carry their identity cards to purchase the ticket and enter the monument.
Q4. Is Qutub Minar is open at night?
Ans4.Yes, Qutub Minar is open at night time as an initiative taken by the government to promote night tourism. The timings of Qutub Minar at night is 7 pm-11 pm.
Q5.Where did Qutub Minar get its name?
Ans5. It was believed that it was named after the death of Qutub-din-Aibak, who started its construction and some believed that it was named for Qutub-din Bakhtiyar Kaki, a Sufi saint.