Qutub Minar, the pride of Delhi, is one of the heritage sites in the world as declared by UNESCO. This majestic tower is the tallest brick monument of the world. Surrounded by numerous ancient as well as medieval architectural constructions, the site is even known as Qutub complex, which attracts tourists from all over the world. This complex houses the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, the earliest mosque that was built by the Sultans of Delhi and the famous Iron Pillar.
History of Qutub Minar
Qutb-ud-din Aibak, the first Afghan emperor of Delhi initiated the construction of Qutub Minar in the year 1193, after getting inspired by Afghanistan’s Minaret of Jam. The minar was built to celebrate Muhammad Ghori’s victory over the Rajputs. In 1198, he built the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, which was later enlarged by Allaud-din Khilji and Shams ud Din Iltutmish in between the period of 1210 and 1235. The final construction of the minaret was done by Iltutmish.
There is a dual belief about the naming of this monument. Some historians say the minar was named after the Qutb-ud-din Aibak whereas, others say it was named after Transoxiana’s saint, Qutubuddin Bakhtiar Kaki to honor his stay in the country during the reign of Iltutmish.
The monument was massively hit by lightning’s and earthquakes from time to time. During Firoz Shah’s rule, the two top-most floors of the tower were damaged by lightning, which was repaired by the then ruler of Delhi. As per the inscriptions engraved on the surface of the tower, the monument was restored by Firoz Shah Tughlaq in between the period of 1351 and 1388. Those inscriptions even state that Sikandar Lodi repaired the minaret during the years from 1489 to 1517. A part of it was even affected by the earthquake of 1505, which was renovated by Sikandar Lodi.
After the earthquake of 1794, Major Smith replaced the pavilion of Firoz Shah with his own while fixing the damage caused by the earthquake. However, Lord Hardinge removed it in 1848 and presently it is based in between the Minar and the Dak Bungalow.
Architecture of Qutub Minar
Qutub Minar is one of the great masterpieces of the architecture of Mughal period. The 237.8 ft high fluted tower of red sandstone still reflects the then Indo-Islamic architectural style. The cylindrical shaped majestic tower is encircled by stone bracketed balconies. Each of those balconies is designed like honeycombs. The minaret is covered with intricate verses and carvings from the religious book of Quran. Numerous Nagari and Arabic inscriptions depicting the history of the tower is found in different parts of the tower.
The Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque inside the Qutub complex comprises of a rectangular shaped courtyard, which includes cloisters, erected with architectural columns and ruins of 27 Jain and Hindu temples.
The minar even consists of many cylindrical shafts with balconies in between. The tall Iron Pillar, located within the complex is ranked amongst one of the renowned metallurgical curiosities in the world.
Location of Qutub Minar
Qutub Minar is situated at Mehrauli towards the southern part of Delhi, the capital city of India. The distance between Connaught Place, the city centre of the state and this tower of victory is just 16 kms. The nearest railway station to the Qutub complex is Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station and the nearest airport is Indira Gandhi International Airport.
Timings: 6.00 a.m – 6.00 p.m
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