in the world. This tower was damaged twice and repaired
in 1326 and 1368. This tower was the prototype of all
towers in India. Qutub Minar is not only the Delhi's
recognised landmark, but also one of the finest monument
in India and the world.
The Legend Of The Qutub
According to a legend the Qutub Minar was built by
Prithviraj Chauhan, 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.
Construction of Qutub Minar
Qutb-ud-din-Aibak was influenced by the brick victory
pillars in Ghazni in Afghanistan, so he built the Qutub
Minar in 1199 AD. The Qutub Minar is made up of red and
buff sandstone. This tower also served as the minaret
attached to the Might of Islam Mosque. From here the
muezzin could call the people for the prayer. The
building is 72.5 m high and has 379 steps from the
bottom to the top. The Qutub Minar is about 47 feet at
the base and tapers to 9 feet at the apex. The tower is
ornamented by bands of inscriptions and by four
projecting balconies supported by elaborately decorated
brackets. The Minar is tapering with the diameter of the
base is 14.3 m while at the top floor it is 2.7 m. It
took about two decades to complete this monument.
Qutb-ud-din-Aibak raised the first storey, to which were
added three more storeys by his successor and
son-in-law, Shamsu'd-Din Iltutmish. It is a red
sandstone tower covered with intricate carvings and
deeply inscribed with verses from the holy Quran.
Beautiful calligraphy adorns the adjacent edifices. The
development of architectural styles from Aibak to
Tughlak are also evident in this Minar.
The tower has five distinct storeys, each storey
surrounded by a projecting balcony. The first three
storeys are made of red sandstone, the fourth and fifth
of marble and sandstone. All the storeys are supported
by stone brackets, which are decorated with honeycomb
design. The first storey and its balcony has the curved
and fluted design. The second storey has only curved
design while the third storey has only fluted design.
The first damage occurred during Muhammed Tughlaq's rule
and he repaired it in 1332. The second damage occurred
during Firoz Shah Tughlaq rule. The uppermost storey was
damaged during his rule in 1368. Originally, the Minar
had only four storeys. He replaced the uppermost storey
by two storeys, making free use of marble but leaving
the lower portion of the fourth storey built with
sandstone in its original condition. Later in 1503,
Sikandar Lodhi also carried out some restoration in the
Quwwatu'l-Islam Mosque is located very close to the
tower and one of the most magnificent mosque in the
world. It is one of the earliest mosque built by the
Delhi Sultans and the first mosque in India. This mosque
was built by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak in 1198 AD. The main
mosque comprises of an inner and outer courtyard. The
inner courtyard is surrounded by an exquisite colonnade
enclosed by cloisters, erected with the carved columns.
It was supposed to have been built using the materials
and masonry of the remains of 27 Hindu and Jain Temples.
A lofty arched screen was erected and the mosque was
enlarged by Iltutmish and Ala-ud-Din Khalji. Alai
Darwaza, the southern gateway of the Quwwat-ul-Islam
mosque was constructed by Ala-ud-Din Khalji in 1311 AD.
The gateway is the example of the use of horseshoe arch
and true dome for the first time. This is the first
building, which employed Islamic principles of
construction and ornamentation.
The Iron Pillar
Within the mosque complex stands the famous Ashoka Iron
Pillar, which belongs to 4th century AD. This pillar
bears a Sanskrit inscription in Gupta script. This
inscription states that the pillar was set up as a
flagstaff in the honour of god Vishnu and in the memory
of a mighty king, Chandragupta II (375-413 BC) of the
imperial Gupta dynasty. A deep hole on the top of the
pillar indicates that an additional member, perhaps an
image of 'Garuda', was fitted into it to answer to its
description as a standard of Vishnu. This pillar was
brought here from somewhere else, as no other relics of
the 4th century were found at the site. The pillar also
highlights ancient India’s achievements in metallurgy.
The pillar is made of 98 per cent wrought iron and has
remained rust free for about 1600 years. According to
local belief if you stand with your back to the pillar
and hold your arms around it, your wish will be granted.