soaring tower of early Muslim vintage, the Qutab Minar
attracts many visitors from all across the world. Impressively
ornate, its construction began in the 12th century and
it was completed in the 13th century. Beautiful calligraphy
adorns the adjacent edifices. The Qutab Minar rises over 230
feet and can be ascended by a circular stairway for
a view that is breathtaking. The monument tapers from
a 15-meter diameter base to just 2½ metres at the top.
The tower has five distinct storeys, each marked by
a projecting balcony. The first three storeys are made
of red sandstone, the fourth and fifth of marble and
sandstone. The Qutb Minar is covered with intricate
carvings and deeply inscribed verses from the Koran.
Work on the minar was started by Qutb-ud-din Aibak in
1199, celebrating the advent of Muslim dominance in
Delhi, but the construction was completed by his successors.
To Qutb-ud-din, the tower marked the eastern extremity
of the Islamic faith, casting the shadow of God over
east and west. It was also a minaret, from which the
muezzin called the devout to prayer.
Today, this impressively ornate tower has a slight tilt,
but has otherwise remained remarkably well preserved
over the centuries.