: Located at South Delhi in New Delhi, close to Mehrauli and JNU Campus.
The Qutub Minar :
Significance : The First Muslim Monument in India.
Qutub Minar was raised by Qutub-ud-Din in 1199 AD,
either as a victory tower or as a minaret to the adjacent mosque. It is one
of the finest Islamic structures ever raised and is Delhi's most recognised
landmark. However, only the first storey was accomplished by Qutb-ud-din and
the rest were built by his successor and son-in-law, IItumish (1211-36 AD).
The two circular stories in white marble were built by Firozshah Tughlaq in
1368, who used marble to face the redstone. Qutub Minar is a red sandstone
tower beautified with intricate and striking carvings and is inscribed with
verses from the holy Quran. Its projecting balconies with inscriptional
decorative bands on different storeys heighten its decorative effect.
The Architecture :
Qutub Minar is perfect example of minar known to
exist anywhere. With a height of 72.5 m and 379 steps, Qutub Minar is the
highest stone tower in India. It has a diameter of 14.32 m at the base and
about 2.75 m on the top. The uppermost storey, which was damaged in 1368
during Feroze Tughluq's reign, was replaced by him by two storeys, making
free use of marble but leaving the lower portion of the fourth storey built
with sandstone in its original condition. The original three storeys are
each laid on a different plan, the lowest with alternate angular and
circular flutings, the second with round ones and the third with angular
ones only, with the same alignment of flutings, however, being carried
through them all. Its projecting balconies with stalactite pendentive type
of brackets and inscriptional decorative bands on different storeys heighten
its decorative effect.
The History : Qutab-ud-din
Aibak, the first Muslim ruler of Delhi, commenced the construction of the
Qutub Minar in A.D. 1193, but could only complete its basement. His
successor, Iltutmush, added three more stories, and in 1368, Firoz Shah
Tuglak constructed the fifth and the last storey. The development of
architectural styles from Aibak to Tuglak are quite evident in the minar.
Though, the Minar's entire architecture bespeaks an Islamic origin, there
exists a tradition that the Qutub-Minar was built by Prithviraj, the last
Chauhan king of Delhi, for enabling his daughter to behold the sacred river
Yamuna, from its top as part of her daily worship. It is certain that Hindu
craftsmen were employed for its construction, which is evident from certain
'Devanagari' inscriptions on its surface.
It was supposed to have been built using the materials and masonry of the
remains of Hindu Temples and architecture. On one hand there is the
beautiful, exceptional Islamic handwriting and brocaded designs. Then there
are pillars with clearly pre-Islamic Hindu motifs. The reason is that the
pillars were taken from the 27 temples of Qila Rai Pithora, the city of the
Rajput king Prithviraj Chauhan. This in fact has been recorded by
Qutub-ud-Din in his inscriptions, who call it the Jami Masjid (Friday
Mosque) in his inscriptions.
The Famous Iron Pillar : Close to the mosque is one of Delhi's most
curious structures the Iron Pillar. Dating back to 4th century A.D., the
pillar bears an inscription which states that it was erected as a flagstaff
in honour of the Hindu god, Vishnu, and in the memory of the Gupta King
Chandragupta II(375-413). How the pillar moved to its present location
remains a mystery. The pillar also highlights ancient India's achievements
in metallurgy. The pillar is made of 98 per cent wrought iron and has stood
1,600 years without rusting or decomposing.
Reaching Qutub Minar -
Air : Delhi has well planned air routes, both international and
Rail : There are two major rail heads in Delhi - New Delhi Railway
Station and Old Delhi Railway Station.
Road : One can easily reach Delhi by Road, as it boasts of well laid
network of highways.