The world’s tallest brick minaret, Qutub Minar is a fascinating attraction of Delhi. It reflects a fine example of Indo-Islamic architecture. Towering to a height of 73 meters, Qutub Minar is believed to be the Tower of Victory. It was built by Qutab-ud-din Aibak , after defeating Delhi’s last Hindu King, in the year 1193. Later more structures were added by his successors. The Minar is surrounded by several ancient and medieval structures and ruins which have their own beauty and significance. It is a World Heritage Site.
Qutub Minar has five stories with the first three fashioned out of red sandstone and the fourth and fifth ones are made up of marble and sandstone. All the stories open into their respective balconies. There are two legends associated with the construction of Qutub Minar. One legend says that it was built to commemorate the victory of the Mughal king marking the beginning of the Muslim rule in India. The other legend goes that it was constructed to serve as a minaret to the muezzins to call the faithful to prayer.
Qutub Minar has numerous inscriptions in Nagari and Arabic characters which depict the history of Qutub. The Minar consists of numerous superposed flanged cylindrical shafts, separated by balconies. The Minar is beautified with exquisite carvings and verses from the Quran. Adjacent to Qutub Minar is the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, the first mosque of India. It is said that it was built from the remains of the Hindu temples which once stood here. It was decorated with beautiful brocade designs and Islamic inscriptions. Inside the mosque complex lays a 7 mtr high iron pillar. It is believed that if one is able to encircle it with ones hands while standing with one’s back to it, one’s wish gets fulfilled.
The iron pillar dates back to the 4th century which is evident from the inscriptions on it. It is truly a wonder that the iron has not rusted over the centuries. It shows the exceptional purity of iron made in the bygone era. However, the portion of the iron pillar below the ground has started showing signs of rusting, but at a very slow pace. The inscriptions on the pillar indicate that the pillar was originally present outside a Vishnu temple. There is a deep hole on the top of the pillar wherein an image of Garuda used to be fitted as a symbol of the Lord.
Near the mosque is the tomb of Iltutmish which was constructed in 1235 by Shamsu’d-Din Iltutmish himself. Unlike his predecessors, he refrained from using the material obtained from the demolition of Hindu temples to build the tomb.
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