Qutb Minar is a red sandstone tower, 72.5 m high. Its construction was
started around 202 by Qutbu'd-Din Aibak, the first Muslim Sultan of
Delhi. It has five storeys, and is the highest stone tower in India.
Most remarkable in the
is the iron pillar, which was built during the Gupta Empire (a Hindu
empire in India from 320 to about 335AD). It is made of such pure iron
that it has never rusted, a standing testimony to the metallurgical
skill of ancient Indians. The Quwwatu'l-Islam mosque is the earliest
extant mosque in northern India.
In 1199 AD, Qutb-ud-Din Aibak
laid the foundation of Qutab Minar for the use of Mu'azzin (crier) to
give calls for prayer. However, only the first story was completed by
Qutb-ud-din. The other stories were built by his successor and
son-in-law, Shamsu'd-Din IItutmish (1211-36 AD).
circular stories in white marble were built by Ferozshah Tughlaq in
1368, replacing the original fourth storey. This towering structure in
red sandstone has a diameter of 14.32m at the base and about 2.75m on
the top with a height of 72.5m. All the storeys are surrounded by a
projected balcony encircling the Minar and are supported by exquisite
stalactite designs. The tapering tower has pointed and circular flutings
on the first story round and star-shaped on the second and third
The bands of calligraphic inscriptions are amazing in
perfection. Numerous inscriptions in Arabic and Nagari characters in
different places of the Minar reveal the history of Qutb. However, there
are a number of monuments within the Qutab complex apart from the Qutab
Closely stands Delhi's most interesting pillar - The
Iron Pillar. Built in the 4th century AD, the pillar bears an
inscription, which declares that it was erected as a flagpole in honour
of the Hindu Trinity, Vishnu, and in the memory of the Gupta King
Chandragupta II (375-413).
The Iron Pillar is an excellent
example of ancient India's advancement in metallurgy. The pillar's
position at this place is a mystery. The pillar is made of 98 per cent
wrought iron and has stood 1,600 years without rusting or decomposing.