When you are in Delhi, do not miss to explore the Qutub Minar complex. This UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Mehrauli area of Delhi is a must-visit for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts alike.
The Qutub Minar is not just any minaret or victory tower. With a height of 238 ft (72.5 metres), it is the second tallest monument in Delhi. It was built in 1192 by Qutb Ud-Din-Aibak, the founder of Delhi Sultanate, to mark his victory against the last Hindu ruler of Delhi.
Fun fact: It is not certain whether the minaret was a dedication to a Sufi saint, Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki or not. I guess we’ll never know for sure.
The construction of Qutub Minar was an impressive feat. Aibak built only the basement of the monument, and three more storeys were added by his successor, Iltutmish. The fourth and fifth storeys were built by Firoz Shah Tuglak.
But that’s not all. The complex also houses other impressive structures like the Alai Minar and the Tomb of Iltutmish. Alauddin Khilji started building the Alai Minar and wanted it to be two times higher than Qutub Minar. However, after his death in 1316, the monument was never completed by his successors. The first storey of the Alai Minar still stands today at Qutub Complex.
And did you know that the pillar at the Qutub Minar complex was constructed by Chandragupta II Vikramaditya? It is 7.21-metre high and weighs more than six tonnes. But what’s fascinating is that the Iron Pillar has not been rusted since the day it was erected.
Unfortunately, the Qutub Minar faced a few natural disasters throughout history. It was hit by severe lightning in 1369 AD, an earthquake in 1505, and yet another earthquake in 1803. But each time, it was rebuilt by the ruling Sultan. Major Robert Smith of the British Indian Army also rebuilt it in 1828 and installed a cupola atop the tower, which was later uninstalled on the command of the then Governor-General of India, Henry Hardinge. Today, that cupola is on the ground floor to the east of Qutub Minar.
The incredible Qutub Minar has a diameter of 14.3 m at the base and 2.7 m at the top. The spiral staircase consisting of 379 stairs takes one to the top of the monument, and it also tilts a little from 65 m above the ground level. I mean, who needs a rollercoaster when you have the Qutub Minar stairs?
The Qutub Festival held in November-December is a three-day festival that celebrates the magnificence of the monument and flaunts its past glory to the entire world. It includes cultural shows and art forms that allure people from all over the world. I bet even the ancient rulers of Delhi would be amazed at the attention their monument gets now.
So, if you want to time travel to the ancient Delhi and witness the impressive architecture and history of the Qutub Minar complex, be sure to add it to your travel itinerary.