Located in Mehrauli, South Delhi, just 16 Kms from the central circle of Connaught Place (Rajeev Chowk), stands the world famous, red sandstone and marble, tower of victory, the Qutub Minar. Built in the early 13th Century, it is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Qutab-ud-Din Aibak, Muhammad Ghori’s chief general and Turkish slave laid the foundation of the world’s tallest brick minaret with a height of 72.5 meters (237.8 ft). It tapers from 2.75 meters in diameter at its peak to 14.32 meters at its base.
Built to celebrate the victory of Muhammad Ghori over the Rajputs in 1192, Qutub Minar is a stone minaret in India, with 379 Steps in 5 distinct storeys. The best example of a ‘Minar’ to exist anywhere in the world, its storeys alternate from angular sections to different styles of rounded flutings and projecting balconies. Visitors are not permitted to enter or climb up the Qutub Minar.
Construction Of Qutub Minar
Only the first storey of the Qutub Minar was built during the lifetime of Qutab-ud-Din Aibak, who ruled from 1206-1210 A.D., as the first Sultan or Muslim King of the Slave Dynasty in Delhi. His son-in-law and successor Iltutmish, who ruled from 1211-1236 A.D., eventually completed the remaining 3 Storeys. The Nagari and Persian inscriptions on the tower mention that lightning damaged it twice in 1326 and 1368. Muhammad Tughlaq was the ruler when it was first damaged. He apparently repaired the tower in 1332. The second instance of damage was in 1368, when the uppermost storey was almost destroyed, during the reign of Firoz Shah Tughlaq. He replaced the top storey with 2 more storeys and topped it with a cupola. The 2 Storeys were built of white marble and sandstone.
In 1503, Sikander Lodi too repaired this majestic tower. Exactly three centuries later, in 1803, an earthquake destroyed the cupola. A British engineer replaced it with a Mughal style cupola but it spoilt the beauty of the tower and was replaced in 1848. It can be seen on the lawns to the southeast of tower. Because of various earthquakes and the wear and tear of time, the minar is not perpendicular and leans 60 cm off the vertical. It is closely monitored by the engineers of the Archaeological Survey of India.
The word ‘Qutub’ means ‘axis or pole of justice.’ Thus the Qutub Minar was built not just as a victory tower but also as a symbol of Islamic Justice and of the military might of the Slave Dynasty. It was also probably intended to serve as the minar attached to The Quwwatul Islam Masjid (Might of Islam Mosque) for the muezzin to call the faithful to prayer. However good the muezzin might be in his calling, it is difficult to believe that he could have been heard from a height of 72.5 meters. A theory also exists that Prithvi Raj Chauhan built the tower so that his daughter can see the sacred Yamuna River from the top of the tower during her daily worship. However facts does not support this belief as two proto-types of the tower in brick are there at Ghazni. It is possible that Prithvi Raj Chauhan or his uncle Vigraharaja may have started building it, but it was certainly completed by Aibak and Iltutmish.
Special Events At Qutub Minar
Some of the events which takes place at the Qutub Minar everyday are :
The Light Show: Costing INR 20 for Indian Citizens / INR 250 for foreigners/ Timings: 7.00 pm- 9.30 pm
Views from the top of the tower shown through a camera: INR 10 through the day.
Structures To See At Qutub Minar
The Qutub Minar complex has many interesting structures to see. Some of these are the Alai-Darwaza, Quwwatul-Islam Mosque, Iron Pillar, Alai Minar, Tomb of Iltutmish, Imam Zamin’s Tomb and Ala-ud-Din Madarsa.
Famous Places To Eat Close To Qutub Minar
Some of the Famous Places to eat close to Qutub Minar complex includes Thai Wok at the Ambavata Complex, Osaka at Aurobindo Marg, Red Snapper at Aurobindo Marg and a number of roadside food stalls for the adventurous street food eater.
Shopping Venues Near Qutub Minar
The Ambavata Shopping Complex in Mehrauli, has fashionable Indian designer stores and boutiques. Hauz Khas Village, a short distance away, has boutiques and exclusive stores of leading Indian designers and Select City Walk Mall in Saket are the famous shopping venues that comes into the mind of tourists who are visiting Qutub Minar.
Location: Qutub Minar Complex, Mehrauli, 16 Kms from Connaught Place.
Time To Visit: Open on all days, from sunrise to sunset
Preferred Timings: 10 am – 4 pm
Admission Fee: INR 10 for Indian citizens / INR 250 for foreigners
Photography charges: INR 25
Parking: Free Parking
How To Reach: Tourists can either take local buses from various points within the city to reach Qutub Minar, located in South Delhi, or they can hire auto-rickshaws and taxis or metro rail.
Nearest Railway Station: Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station
Nearest Metro Station: Qutb Minar
Nearest International Airport: Indira Gandhi Intenational Airport
Time Required For Sightseeing: Approximately 1 hour