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Qutub Minar

Qutub Minar, the pride of Delhi was built in 1192 by Qutub-ud-din Aibak. The minaret, also the tallest tower in India, is conical in shape and is surrounded by several other architectural marvels of the last Hindu rulers, the Tomers and the Chauhans. The Qutub Minar and the structures around it, for sure intrigues the lonely traveler in us.

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Introduction

The minaret is 237.8 feet high and has 379 steps to reach the top most aisle of the monument. Red sandstone has had a lot of influence on Mughal and Afghan architecture. Qutub Minar reinforces that belief.

It has gleaming red sandstone exterior with verses from the Holy Quran in Arabic running vertically throughout the circumference of the building. This architectural marvel has a wider base with a diameter measuring 14.3 meters and goes narrower on the top with a diameter of 2.7 meters. It is superimposed by several cylindrical shafts. Each floor is separated by balconies which also helped the Mughals to keep a watch on predators such as the Timurs and the Mongols. The top most story of the building gives a bird’s eye view of entire Delhi and makes it a perfect clicking moment. You can see Humanyun’s Tomb, Jama Masjid, Tughlaqabad Fort and Purana Qila from the topmost arenas of the monument. It is amazing how this tall masterpiece has seen Delhi changing its contours over the years and continues to stand gracefully.

History

Qutub Minar was constructed in the twelfth century when the slave or the Mamluk dynasty was at its prime in Delhi. The then ruler of Delhi Qutub-ud-din-Aibak wanted to register the culture and magnanimity of the Mamulk dynasty. To signify the valor and the pride of their people, Aibak aimed to build the tallest minarets in the world. The structure is inspired by Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan. The building was conceptualized to be built in red and buff sandstone. Its construction was brought to halt after the death of Qutub-ud-din-Aibak in an accident in Lahore in 1210 AD. His next successor, from the Mamluk dynasty, Iltutmish completed the work in 1230 AD. We know that Iltutmish completed the remaining three storey of the minaret from inscriptions in Arabic on the exteriors of the monument which highlights Iltutmish’s efforts to complete this architectural marvel.

There are many stories linked to Qutub Minar and the monuments around it which makes it even more interesting for a traveler. It is said that the site on which the Qutub Minar stands, belonged to Prithvi Raj Chauhan. Chauhan is said to have started the initial construction of the minar but after the Tomer and Chauhan rulers were uprooted from Delhi, Aibak took over the site and claimed to have laid foundation stone for this monument.

Folklore says that the Khilji dynasty’s ruler Alauddin Khilji, after his victory in Deccan India, aimed to build a similar victory tower just opposite Quwwait - ul - Islam, Qutub - ud-din’s mosque. Even before the first storey was completed, Alauddin Khilji passed away. This folklore is further testified by the ruins of a tower like structure just adjacent to the mosque.

 

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