Bharat Virasat-Qutub Minar

Qutub Minar

Place of Worship. Islam


The Qutub Minar is a tall tower which stands adjacent to the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque in Mehrauli, near Delhi. It was constructed between 1199 CE and 1203 CE, during the reign of Qutub-ud-din Aibak, and his successor Iltutmish. The 72.5m high tower tapers from a base of 14.32m to 2.75m at the top. It has five landings. There are 379 steps from the bottom to the top.

The Qutb Minar consists of five stories. The first three are made of of red and grey sandstone, and have a fluted surface, while the upper stories are made in marble and have a smooth surface.

A number of other interesting structures stand in the vicinity of the Qutub Minar.

The Iron Pillar that stands in the courtyard of the Qutub Complex is from the Gupta period (5th-6th century CE). It rises to a height of 7.21m, and has a diameter of 41cm at the base, tapering to 30cm at the top. 2m of the pillar are below the platform which has been built around it.
The pillar was originally made for a Vishnu temple, and it is understood that it originally had a figure of Garuda affixed on top. It was most probably cast in Udayagiri in modern day Madhya Pradesh and brought to the Delhi area by the Tomara king, Anangapala, in about 1050 AD.
There are several Sanskrit inscriptions on the pillar. The oldest inscription is about 2m above the platform, and refers to a temple of Vishnu for which the pillar was created during the reign of King Chandra. A later inscription refers to Anangapala as the founder of the city of Dehali.
The pillar was made using forge-welding technique, and is comprised largely of iron with traces of phosphorus, carbon, and other elements. The presence of phosphorus is understood to create a thin rust-protective iron hydrogen phosphate hydrate that coats the surface of the pillar.

Constructed in:

12th century CE


72.5 m


The lowest story, also known as the basement story, was completed during the lifetime of Ghiyas-ud-Din Muhammad. Qutb-ud-din Aibak added a further two stories, Iltutmish the fourth one, and the fifth one was added in the reign of Firoz Shah Tughlaq in 1369.

Evidence suggests that the Iron Pillar has been moved multiple time before it was installed at its current location, with at least one location being atop a hill near Delhi.


Legend has it that anyone who can wrap their hands around the Iron Pillar behind their back can have their wishes fulfilled.

Legend has it that the Iron Pillar does not rust, but that is not true. Examinations and excavations have shown rust formation both at the top of the pillar, and below the ground. The slight camber in the shape of the pillar helps drain the water quickly and prevent it from affecting the surface of the pillar for too long. However, its relative immunity from weather is a testament to the metallurgical skills of the iron smiths who cast it.


The lowest story is revetted with twelve semicircular and twelve flanged pilasters that are placed in alternating order. There are six horizontal bands on this story with inscriptions inscribed in naskh, a style of Islamic calligraphy.

The second and third stories are also revetted with twelve semicircular and twelve flanged pilasters that are placed in alternating order.

The red sandstone columns of the first three stories are separated by flanges and by storied balconies, carried on Muqarnas corbels.

Prior to its reconstruction and reduction, the fourth story was also decorated with semicircular pilasters. It was re-constructed in white marble and is relatively plain.

In 1369, the fourth story was repaired after lightning struck the minaret. During reconstruction, Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq elected to reduce the size of the fourth story and then separated it into two stories.




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