The Qutub Minar (also known as the Qutb Minar) is the tallest minaret in the world, at 73 metres. Combined with other ancient and medieval monuments surrounding it, it forms the Qutb Complex, which is a UNESCO Heritage Site. It was built in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak immediately after the fall of Delhi's last Hindu kingdom to celebrate Muslim dominance in Delhi. The tower has five storeys, each containing a projecting balcony, and it tapers from having a diameter of 15m at the base to 2.5 at the top.
The first three storeys of the monument, which, according to the famous traveller, Ibn Batuta, is “one of the wonders of the world – which has no parallel in the lands of Islam”, are made of red sandstone, while the fourth of fifth storeys are of marble and sandstone. It is made or bricks covered with intricate carvings and verses from the Qur’an.
The construction of the Minar was started in 1192 by Qutab-ud-din, the founder of the Delhi Sultanate. The Qutb Complex, including the Qutub Minar, was constructed using the ruins of 27 Hindu and Jain temples purposely destroyed by the ruler. However he could only finish the basement before his death, and it was his successors who added three more storeys to complete the monument, making it a 4- storeyed monument in the beginning.
Around 1369 the fourth storey of the monument was destroyed due to lightning. The then Emperor of Delhi, Firoz Shah Tughlaq, reconstructed the fourth storey and added the fifth storey to it. These two storeys are easily distinguishable due to the usage of marbles along with red sandstone in the construction.
In 1503 it was hit by an earthquake and was repaired by the then Sultan, Sikandar Lodi, who constructed the 4th and 5th storeys again by using marbles.
Once again in 1828 the monument was damaged by an earthquake and it was Major Robert Smith of the Bengal Engineers who carried out the reconstruction work.
- Public was allowed inside the Qutub Minar earlier. However on 4th December, 1981, 45 people out of a crowd of 300 to 400 lost their lives due to a stampede that started due to a sudden power cut inside the monument. It has been closed to public ever since.
- This is the first Indian monument to have an E-ticket facility.
- There are a total of 379 stairs inside the tower.
- The meaning of Qutub Minar in Arabic is “pole” or “axis”
- The monument took around 75 years to be constructed.
The tower is the tallest single tower in India and it marks the site of the first Muslim kingdom in North India, making it a “must-visit” monument located on the outskirts of Delhi.