Delhi, the capital of India is home to many magnificent, ancient monuments. There are stories lying deep in the foundations and walls of these monuments that travelers love to learn about.
One of such monuments located in Mehrauli, Delhi, is Qutub Minar. The Qutub Minar also spelled as Qutab Minar is the tallest brick minaret in the world and is part of the Qutab complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Mehrauli area of Delhi, India.
With its rich culture, heritage, and history, Qutub Minar is one of the major heritage sites in Delhi that attracts travelers and photographers from all over the world.
Its centuries-old architecture makes it a very popular site in Delhi among art, history and photography enthusiasts.
‘Qutub’ word is derived from Arabic which means ‘pole’ or ‘axis’ and ‘Minar’ refers to the tower.
‘Minaret’ refers to a tower that is typically a part of a mosque, with a balcony which is used by a muezzin to make calls to the Muslims for prayer.
Who built the Qutub Minar and Why?
There is not one person behind the construction of the Qutab Minar. Qutub-Ud-In-Aibak, the founder of the Mamluk Dynasty and the ruler of Delhi Sultanate, started the work for this Minar in the year 1192 and constructed the basement.
Later on, his successor and son-in-law Shams-ud-Din Iltutmish took over this work and constructed three storeys around the year 1230.
The last two stories were subsequently added by Firoz Shah Tughlaq during the period of 1352 to 1388.
The structure underwent many repairs and renovations. According to the inscriptions on the minaret, it was repaired by Sultan Sikander Lodi in 1503 when it was damaged by lightning.
During the 19th century, Major R.Smith also made some changes in it.
There are two major beliefs about the construction of Qutub Minar. Some believe that it was constructed as a symbol of the defeat of the Hindu rulers and celebration for the beginning of Muslim dominance in Delhi.
On the other hand, it is also believed that it was used to make calls to Muslims for prayer.
What is Qutab Minar made up of?
Qutub Minar is the tallest minaret in the world that is made up of bricks.
Red sandstone has been used for constructing the first three storeys and the last two are made up of marble and sandstone.
Looking at Qutub Minar, one can easily notice the difference in the architectural style from the time of Aibak to Tughlaq.
It is covered with intricate carvings and verses from the Quran.
Read about time ravaged monuments and interesting nuggets of history about the tomb of Balban and Quli Khan, the 16th-century step-well Rajon ki Baoli, the mystique surrounding the Jamali Kamali mosque, attached to the tomb of the Sufi poet Jamali and more: Mehrauli Archaeological Park – A date with Djinns & HIstory.
Busy? Pin it for later
What is Qutub Minar famous for?
This historical marvel of 72.5-meter height has a 14.3-meter base diameter and reduces to 2.7 meters at the top.
Leading to the top are 379 stairs inside the tower. Made in Indo-Islamic architectural style, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This structure is the manifestation of the architecture of different eras. Qutub Minar is taller than some of the other famous buildings in the world like the tower of Pisa and Great Pagoda in China.
It is also one of the most visited places in India. Visitors taking selfies or photographers clicking photos of Qutub Minar from various angles is a very common sight.
Where is Qutub Minar in Delhi & How to reach?
Qutub Minar is a very famous monument located in Mehrauli, Delhi. It is easy to reach Qutub Minar by local bus, metro or taxi.
Qutub Minar Metro station is the nearest Metro Station located around 3 km away from the monument. Auto or e-rickshaw can be hired for reaching Qutub Minar. It takes around half an hour to reach Qutub Minar from the Delhi Airport.
How long does it take to visit Qutub Minar?
Around one hour is sufficient to visit Qutub Minar. Visitors usually spend from half an hour to two hours at this place. There are some other famous monuments around Qutub Minar in the Qutub Complex that deserve to be visited.
What is the best time to visit Qutub Minar?
Early morning is the best time to visit Qutub Minar. Weekends often get too crowded so it’s better to visit during weekdays. Summer may not be the best season to visit as the weather in Delhi during this time is scorching hot. October to March is the preferable time to visit.
The area surrounding the Qutub Minar is called Qutub Complex. There are many worth-visiting monuments in this area like Quwwat-Ul-Islam Mosque, the tomb of Itutmish, Ala’i-Darwaza, Ala’i Minar, Imam Zamin’s Tomb, Ala-Ud-Din Madarasa and Iron Pillar.
Quwwat-Ul-Islam, which translates to ‘Light of Islam, is believed to be one of the oldest Mosques in India.
A touch of Hindu style in the design and ornamentation of this structure is visible.
Deployment of Hindu artisans for its construction or usage of materials obtained from old temples is probably the reason behind this.
Ala’i Minar appears to be a huge dump of rubble. It is said that Ala-u-din- Khilji aspired to construct another Minar similar to Qutub Minar in this area.
But he died while the work was in progress and nobody undertook this project of his dreams.
A 7.2 meters high Iron Pillar standing nearby is also a popular attraction. It was made during the Gupta reign in the 4th century to honor Chandragupta II. The pillar is made up of 98 percent iron but has managed to stand in good condition and free of rust.
It was left incomplete and still stands in that form.
Ala’i Darwaza is a gate built-in 1311 in the Indo-Islamic architecture. This was also constructed by Ala-u-Din Khilji.
He also built a Madrasa here to impart religious education to the children.
The tomb of Iltutmish, built-in 1235 A.D, lies just outside the Quwwat-Ul-Islam Mosque. It has three entrances and appears very ordinary from outside but the interior is very artistically decorated.
What is the geometrical shape of Qutub Minar? Is Qutub Minar symmetrical?
Qutub Minar is a tapering Minaret that has five storeys.
Qutub Minar is slightly bent towards one side. There are many inscriptions on the Minar in Arabic and Nagri characters that tell the story behind its construction and repairs.
Its cylindrical shafts are separated by balconies. The Minar tilts about 60 centimeters from the vertical.
This is the reason that it is often compared with the leaning tower of Pisa. You can find images of Qutub Minar clicked from various spots and angles.
Opening time of Kutab Minar – 7 am to 5 pm, daily
Tickets for Kutub Minar – Indians INR 40, Foreigners INR 600
If you buy the ticket online HERE use QR scanner for paying for ticket at the venue, you get the ticket at a discounted price of INR 35 for Indians and INR 550 for foreigners.
Address of Kutub Minar – Kalka Dass Marg, Mehrauli, Delhi, India
Facilities at Kutub Minar
- The Toilet facility is available but toilets may not be as clean as ought to be.
- The site is mostly wheelchair friendly but a few areas in the complex may not be easily accessible due to uneven ground.
- A cloakroom facility is available on the premises.
Is entry inside the Qutub Minar allowed?
No, entry inside the Qutub Minar is not allowed. Prior to an unfortunate accident that took place during December 1981, entry inside was allowed. Around 40 people lost their lives in a stampede when suddenly lights inside the Minaret went off and hundreds of visitors who were inside panicked.
The entry was banned after this.
Is Qutub Minar a Mosque?
No, Qutub Minar is not a Mosque but there is a Mosque in Qutub Complex called Quwwat-Ul-Islam Mosque.
Night Tourism- Qutub Minar
The Government has recently started lighting up Qutub Minar with LED lights along with many other famous monuments in Delhi- Red Fort, Purana Qila, Humayun’s Tomb, Safadarjung tomb.
One can see Qutub Complex lighted at night glowing in LED lights from 7 pm to 11 pm.
All the monuments in the complex are lighted along with the pathways so that moving around is convenient.
The monuments appear clearer and various elements of the structure are highlighted properly.
No doubt that the complex looks amazing at night and offers a chance for photographing the illuminated monuments in a different light than during the daytime, there is a huge scope for improvement.
One major issue of concern is the safety of the visitors, especially women. Also, there is a lack of awareness among common people regarding such measures taken to promote tourism.
Often there is a lack of public facilities at night and the attitude of local staff is not positive towards the visitors.
The Qutub Festival
A three day Qutub Festival is organized during the months of November- December by Delhi Tourism and Transport Development Corporation and Sahitya Kala Parishad. Classical Indian dance forms, music, Ghazals, and Quwalis are performed by various artists coming from all over India.
This festival aims at preserving and showcasing the culture, heritage, and part of India which tourists from all over the world come to India to have a glimpse of.
Detailed information can be found Here.
Why Alai Minar is incomplete?
Near the famous Qutub Minar of Delhi, is a circular monument that many visitors would easily miss. Alauddin Khilji wanted to commemorate his victories with a massive monument which would be twice the height of Qutubuddin Aibak’s great Qutub Minar.
The Minar had just reached the first storey when the Sultan died in 1316 CE. The project was abandoned soon after.
Now all that remains of Khilji’s grand monument is a rough-edged six storied circular mass, lost under the shadow of the monument it wished to outdo!
Located in the capital city of India, Delhi, Tughlaqabad Fort has seen some glorious days in the past but now stands abandoned and almost forgotten with the passage of time. With a past of more than six centuries, this ancient fort deserves a spot in the list of the worth-visiting, offbeat historical places of Delhi: Tughlaqabad Fort: Things to know before you go to this Haunted(?), Historic place.
This video by India Calling is informational.
PIN NOW TRAVEL LATER
interesting Delhi Travel Blog Posts:
Click to read how to reach from Delhi to Agra by road, air & list of best trains, travel tips for Taj mahal, Top Places to Visit beyond the Taj Mahal: the Best way to travel from Delhi to Agra: Road, Rail or Air.
Window Shopping, Street Shopping, ethnic shopping or simply people watching, the Vibrant Delhi markets will charm you. Check out when to visit, what to buy & where: 13 Best Markets For Shopping In Delhi: What To Buy & Where?
Experiencing a traveler’s diarrhea? Learn the causes, symptoms, how to prevent & what to do when infected & how to Make your own ORS at home: Delhi Belly – ‘shit happens’ and here’s how you can avoid it!
Wondering what to do in Delhi with family? Take a sneak peek at what to expect, things to do and points to remember before visiting India’s first Madame Tussauds Museum housed in the Regal building in Delhi: How MADAME TUSSAUDS MUSEUM isn’t as Bad as You Think!