iStock/DVrcan
iStock/DVrcan

Qutub Minar: an architectural icon of Delhi

2 minutes to read

It is quite preposterous and almost unimaginable to go around Delhi (or perhaps even India) and not witness, or at least hear about, the grandiose Qutub Minar. The epochal minaret and the tallest building in the world made from bricks is not just an architectural icon of Delhi but even a cultural symbol of everyday life. The 73 metres high tower built from red sandstone is a part of daily aphorism, metaphors and proverbs in the quotidian conversations in Delhi and around India. The process of establishing the infrastructure of the minaret dates back to 1192 AD. It took 28 years to complete this exemplary tower with subsequent additions/restorations all the way from the 12th and 14th centuries.

© iStock/kaetana_istock
© iStock/kaetana_istock

Exemplary history

The Qutub Minar marks quite an important chapter in the rich cultural and architectural history of Delhi. Qutub Minar is one of the most prominent monuments situated in the Qutub complex in the South of Delhi. The Qutub complex is an array of monuments, full of sardonic examples of iconoclasms from different rulers and empires Delhi has witnessed. Qutub Minar is the cardinal instance of the same. The Minar was erected to commemorate the victory of the Ghorid Empire over the ruling Rajput dynasty and marks the dawn of the Islamic conquest of India. The construction of the Minar was ordered by the general of the Ghorid Empire, Qutb-ud-Din Aibak who became the first Islamic ruler of North India. This makes Qutub Minar an impeccable work of Indo-Islamic architecture and design.

Vivid details

The design of the Minar was inspired by and pays homage to the Minaret of Jam, a UNESCO heritage sight in Ghor Province of Afghanistan. However, it involves careful incorporations and amalgamations of the local artistic conventions. This makes Qutub Minar stand out amongst most of the other Indo-Islamic or Mughal monuments. The exterior red sandstone construction of the Minar is adorned with intricate details and carvings that represent this unique era of fusion with elements from the Afghani design. The Minar bears inscriptions in Parso-Arabic and Nagari characters that narrate the minute details of the construction of the Minar. Additionally, the subsequent restorations present the carvings of the Quran on the cylindrical shaft. The Minar was reconditioned by rulers of Tughlaq and Lodhi dynasty in the 12th and 15th centuries respectively.

© iStock/undefined undefined
© iStock/undefined undefined

Historical, cultural and architectural intersections

The Minar is an exceptional intersection of cultural, historical and architectural marvel. In 1993, it was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The five-storey high Minar consists of superposed tapering storeys. The first three storeys are from red sandstone with intricate carvings, while the fourth storey is comparatively plain and is made in marble. The last storey added in the Tughlaq dynasty is built using both red sandstone and marble. This magnificent grandiose of the Minar can be witnessed from most parts of the city, making it the most admired architectural icon of Delhi. Standing tall for more than eight centuries, the Minar has become an integral part not just of the history but even the culture of the city.

Qutub Minar, New Delhi
Qutub Minar, New Delhi
Mehrauli, Seth Sarai, Mehrauli, New Delhi, Delhi 110030, India

Interesting activities close by


The author

Rajat Sharma

Rajat Sharma

I'm a visual artist from Delhi who holds an MA in Media Arts and Practices with a specialization in Films. I am a curious flaneur, who is very intrigued by different cultures, lifestyles, cuisines, architecture and people.

View more stories

Stories you might also like