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World Heritage Site - Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi

Qutub-Minar in red and buff sandstone is the highest tower in India.
Built in the 13th century, the magnificent tower stands in the capital, Delhi. It has a diameter of 14.32m at the base and about 2.75m on the top with a height of 72.5m. It is an architectural marvel of ancient India.
qutub minar
The complex has a number of other important monuments such as the gateway built in 1310, the Alai Darwaza, Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque; the tombs of Altamish, Ala-ud-din Khalji and Imam Zamin; the Alai Minar, a 7m high Iron Pillar, etc.
Qutub-ud-Din Aibak of Slave Dynasty laid the foundation of Minar in A.D. 1199 for the use of mu'azzin (crier) to give calls for prayer and raised the first storey, to which were added three more storeys by his successor and son-in-law, Shams-ud-Din Itutmish (A.D. 1211-36). All the storeys are surrounded by a projected balcony encircling the minar and supported by stone brackets, which are decorated with honey-comb design, more conspicuously in the first storey.
Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, to the north-east of minar was built by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak in A.D. 1198. It is the earliest extant - mosque built by the Delhi Sultans. It consists of a rectangular courtyard enclosed by cloisters, erected with the carved columns and architectural members of 27 Hindu and Jaina temples, which were demolished by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak as recorded in his inscription on the main eastern entrance. Later, a lofty arched screen was erected and the mosque was enlarged, by Shams-ud- Din Itutmish (A.D. 1210-35) and Ala-ud-Din Khalji. The Iron Pillar in the courtyard bears an inscription in Sanskrit in Brahmi script of fourth century A.D., according to which the pillar was set up as a Vishnudhvaja (standard of god Vishnu) on the hill known as Vishnupada in memory of a mighty king named Chandra. A deep socket on the top of the ornate capital indicates that probably an image of Garuda was fixed into it.
The tomb of Itutmish (A.D. 1211-36) was built in A.D. 1235. It is a plain square chamber of red sandstone, profusely carved with inscriptions, geometrical and arabesque patterns in Saracenic tradition on the entrances and the whole of interior. Some of the motifs viz., the wheel, tassel, etc., are reminiscent of Hindu designs.
Alai- Darwaza, the southern gateway of the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque was constructed by Ala-ud-Din Khalji in A.H. 710 (A.D. 1311) as recorded in the inscriptions engraved on it. This is the first building employing Islamic principles of construction and ornamentation.
Alai Minar, which stands to the north of Qutub-Minar, was commenced by Ala-ud-Din Khalji, with the intention of making it twice the size of earlier Minar. He could complete only the first storey, which now has an extant height of 25 m. The other remains in the Qutub complex comprise madrasa, graves, tombs, mosque and architectural members.
UNESCO has declared the highest stone tower in India as a world heritage.

Architecture
One of the unsurpassed illustrations of Indo-Islamic architecture is the brilliant brick minaret used in the construction of the Qutub Minar. With an elevation of 72.5 m, with a circular staircase of 379 steps which ends to the top, the building is a minaret of five storeys. Constructed in a gradual decreasing order towards the top, the basement of the Qutub Minar is of 14.3 m diameter, whereas the top most floor possess only 2.75 meter diameter. Qutub-ud-in Aibak, the grand slave empire king initiated the construction process of Qutub Minar with the first floor. This was then followed by Sultan IItutmish who builds the successive three storeys. In 1368, Feroz Tuglaq constructed the fifth and last storey. The first floor of Qutub Minar is made of red sandstone whereas the remaining storeys are built of sandstone and marbles.
There is an inscription from versus of Holy Quran, floral motifs, few intricate carvings and arabesque in this holy tower. They took twenty years to accomplish this marvelous building with a diameter of 14.32 at its basement and 2.75 m diameter towards its top. Surrounded by few illustrations of the Indian artwork, this wonderful building will definitely behold one’s attention at the first sight with its amazing altitude and architectural excellence.

Tourist attractions near Qutub Minar
iron pillar
Qutub Minar has some adjoining structures that lend shine of some of its fame. The Qutub complex houses the iron wonder nearby. The Iron Pillar is one of the metallurgical interests of the world. It is a thing to study as well as famous tourist destination. Traditionally people believe that if anyone standing in front of pillar with his back towards the column can encircle it with their arms, all his wishes will be fulfilled. Government has built a fence around it for safety.
An earthquake damaged top two floors of the minar during the rule of Firoz Shah; but was repaired by Firoz Shah himself. He built marble pavilions here. In the year 1505, earthquake again damaged it and was repaired by Sikandar Lodi. Once again the minar faced earthquake in the year 1794, then Major Smith refurbished the affected parts of the minar and replaced Firoz Shah's pavilion with his own pavilion. This pavilion was again removed in the year 1848 by Lord Hardinge. Now it can be seen lying between the Dak Bungalow and the Minar in the garden.
Many natural conditions weathered the minar but it is still standing with all the might owing to time to time renovations and reinstated and renovated by the respective rulers.

HOW TO REACH
By Metro
Qutub Minar can be easily reached by Delhi Metro services (DMRC). Metro facility is available from Gurgaon and Central Secretariat. One can board Delhi Metro from any station and carry on the rail route to reach Qutub Minar.
By Bus
The tourist spot can be easily reached with the help of DTC buses. There are tourist packages available with Delhi tourism covering Qutub Minar.
Other Services
One can also hire private taxis, auto or cars.

Also read other world heritage site Click here


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