Photo by Stefano Paterna/age fotostock
Qutub Minar Complex
Delhi's Qutub Minar, at 72.5 meters or 238 feet tall, is the tallest tower in India. Built as an Islamic monument in the early 13th century of red sandstone and marble, the minar is not without controversy. Some believe the tower was built to celebrate Muslim rule in the country, and others claim it was erected to call the devoted to prayer. The surrounding complex houses the first mosque to be built in India, tombs, a madrassa, and an iron pillar that is mysteriously resistant to corrosion, even after being exposed to the natural elements for centuries. Until 1981, visitors were able to climb the 379 stairs to the top of Qutub Minar, but the interior is now closed.
By Allison Sodha, AFAR Local Expert
Capital, Culture, Courtyards, Crumbling Walls, and History
I found some parrots perched on the ancient walls of Qutub Minar, Delhi, and they made for a delightful sight! Qutub Minar is the tallest minaret in India and one my favourite ancient sights in Delhi. The red sandstone tower is surrounded by ancient medieval structure and ruins and is collectively known as Qutub Complex. Mughal art and architecture is one of my most preferred in Indian architecture, and this place with its crumbling walls has many stories to tell. This UNESCO World Heritage site is not to be missed!
One of the sites to visit while in Delhi is the Qutub Minar. My friend and I met Ranjan Gaur -our Indian friend and official guide in India- who took us to know the city. We had the opportunity to taste more than 20 different foods and visit more that 15 places around the city. One afternoon we ended looking at the Qutub Minar. This tower-like structure was handcrafted by local artists more than 300 years ago. The details in the sides of the minar show the exquisite knowledge and handling of the red stone found near Delhi.
Qutab Minar in Delhi
The Qutab Minar is notable for being one of the earliest and most prominent examples of Indo-Islamic architecture. It is surrounded by several other ancient and medieval structures and ruins, collectively known as Qutub complex. Within the Qutab complex, amidst the ruins of the Quwat-ul-Islam Mosque, stands one of the legendary Ashoka Pillars. This large iron pillar has withstood the ravages of Delhi's weather (and recent pollution) and has not rusted in over 1500 years.
The Might of Islam
The first stop in Delhi should be the Qutub Minar complex as it is the first Muslim incarnation of Delhi, built upon the the remains of the former longstanding Hindu city dating back to the Mauryans. The first Muslim conquerors wanted to show their might and victory over the infidels by constructing this grand minaret. As you explore Delhi, you will find that its history is like the layers of an onion. The Qutub Complex is the outermost layer to peel off laying on the outskirts of town and the Rathpath is the most recent vision of Delhi and is the final layer to peel away from the present.
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