One of the most skilful and artistic Islamic architectures of Delhi is Qutub Minar. It is known for being the tallest brick minaret in the world. The basic foundation of the Qutub Minar was laid by Qutubuddin Aibak 1199 AD. People believe that this tower signified the beginning of the Muslim rule in India. While some others believe that it served as a minaret to the muezzins to call the faithful to prayer.
Qutab-ud-din Aibak could only finish the ground floor to which his son-in-law Shamsuddin Iitutmish added three more storeys in 1368. Later, Firoz Shah Tughlak raised the fifth and the last storey. All the five storeys are marked by a projecting balcony. The first three storeys were constructed using red sandstone, the fourth and fifth are of marble and sandstone. The place is also known for housing the famous Ashoka Pillar dating back to the 5th century.
This 13th century minar rises to be height of 72.5 mts (about 238 feet). It features intricate carvings and deeply inscribed verses from the holy 'Quran'. Qutab Minar has a total diameter of 14.32 m (47 feet) at the base and about 2.75 m (9 feet) at the top.
The area spread around the minar is a huge complex with many important monuments, such as:
Iron Pillar: This curious antique of Delhi is known with the name of Ashoka Pillar. This 7 m high and 1600 years old pillar is made of 98 percent wrought iron and still stands strong without rusting or decomposing. The inscription on the pillar states that it was erected as a flagstaff in honour of the Hindu god, Vishnu, and in memory of the Gupta king Chandragupta II (375-413). People believe that if anyone can encirle it with his/her hands, with their back towards the pillar, his/her wish is granted.
Quwwatu'l-Islam Masjid: Quwwatu'l-Islam is one of the oldest existing mosques in India. It is located adjacent to the Qutub Minar and is known for marvellous designs and Islamic inscriptions. The mosque was built by Qutubuddin in 1198, using carved stone slabs and materials of the remains of Hindu Temples.
The Tombs of Altamish, Alauddin Khalji and Imam Zamin: Made using red sandstone, it depicts the Arabic architectural patterns.
Alai Darwaza: The gateway built in 1310.
Alai Minar: This is a 27m high tower standing north of Qutub Minar. Built by Alaud-Din-Khalji with an intention of making it twice the size of Qutub, he could only complete one story.
With 379 steps, this world heritage site is an excellent example of the Indo-Islamic architecture of ancient India.