Qutub Minar is declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Qutub Minar is the only second tallest tower in India, the tallest being the Fateh Burj, which is 100 meters in Mohali at Chapper Chiri. The Qutub Minar is 74 meters tall, the tower is located in the Qutub Complex situated near Delhi the capital of India. The tower is in Mehrauli area of Delhi, the Complex also contains many other historic monuments belonging to the ancient and medieval period.
Red sandstones and marble are used in making of Qutub Minar. The Minar is a tall tower tapering at the top. It has a diameter of 14.32 meters, i.e. 47 feet at the base while the diameter at the top is only 2.75 meters which is 9 feet. The Qutub Minar Tower is 240 feet tall and there is a circular staircase inside having 379 steps in all from the base to the top of the tower. Formerly, visitors were allowed to climb the stairs to the top to have a panoramic bird’s eye view of the surrounding landscape and the area. But after the stampede that caused the death of 45 visitors the entry to the tower is not permitted since 1981.
The foundation of the QutubMinar was laid by Qutbud-Din Aibakin, the founder of the Delhi Sultanate in 1199 AD. He had built the structure with only one floor and the other three storeys were added later on by his successor Shamsu’d-Din Iltutmish. All the floors are surrounded by protective balcony which served as a place for the visitors to have a glimpse of the surrounding area from the top, though now no visitor is permitted to limb the inner steps and go inside the tower. The history of Qutub is narrated in the numerous inscriptions written in Arabic and Nagari script in different places of the Minar.
The Minar was damaged due to earthquake and lightening many times and was repaired by rulers in Delhi at the respective times, the British has also undertaken repairs of the damage to the monument.
There are several other monuments in this Qutub Complex. Ala’I Minar is one such structure, Allahud-Din Khilji began the erection of this with an intention to make a minar higher than the existing Qutub Minar but was able to make only single storied structure with 25 meters height only. Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque was built in 1198 and remains as the earliest mosque by Delhi Sultans. There were 27 Hindu and Jain temples in this complex and as per the inscriptions these were destroyed by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak.
There is an Iron pillar in the courtyard estimated to have been from 4th century AD and the inscriptions thereon, which are in Sanskrit point that this was set up by Hindu king Chandra as Vishudhvaja, interestingly the Iron pillar is not rusted in spite of the climatic onslaught. There was also the tomb of Iltutmish built in 1235 AD, the tomb is a square chamber made of red sandstone.
There is Ala’I Darwaza which is the southern gate of the Quwwat-ul-Mosque made in 1311 AD. Besides these the Complex also has Madrasa, graves, tombs, and other architectural structures.
The Complex is open to visitors from sunrise to sunset and the visitors are charged a small entrance fee of Rs. 10. The foreign tourists can pay U.S. $ 5 or INR250 for entry.