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Introduction

Qutub Minar is a victory tower that is part of the Qutb complex in the Mehrauli area of New Delhi, India. It is one of the highest minarets in India with a height of 73 metres, and is also the tallest brick minaret in the world.

Qutub Minar was added to the list of World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993. It is one of most visited tourist spots in Delhi.

History and Architecture

Qutub Minar was built over the ruins of the Lal Kot, a citadel of Dhillika – ancient Delhi. The construction of its first storey began in the year 1199 by a deputy Qutb-ud-din-Aibak, who also founded the Delhi Sultanate – an Islamic empire based in Delhi at the time, and also became its first ruler.

Shamsuddin Iltutmish, who was Qutb-ud-din-Aibak's successor and son-in-law completed the next three storeys over the first one. A lightning strike in 1369 damaged the topmost storey of the three that Iltutmish built. This was then the topmost storey of the minar, and Firuz Shah Tughlaq, who was the ruler at that time replaced the damaged storey, and built one more in its place. 

Years after this, an entrance to it was also added by Sher Shah Suri at the time when he when he was ruling Delhi, while the Mughal emperor Humayun was in exile.

The Minar is now surrounded by several historically significant monuments of the Qutb complex. The Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, which is situated to the north-east of the Minar was also built by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak in A.D. 1198.

The building of Qutub Minar actually begun after the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque was done, which was started around 1192 by Qutb-ud-din Aibak. This mosque complex is one of the most ancient buildings in India today.

In 1505, an earthquake heavily damaged Qutub Minar, and it was repaired by Sikander Lodi – who was an Afghan sultan of the Delhi Sultanate between 1489 and 1517.

On 1 September 1803, a major earthquake again caused serious damage to it and it remained that way until 1828 when Major Robert Smith of the British Indian Army renovated it, and installed a pillared “cupola” over the fifth storey which was the topmost one then and this cupola became the sixth.

However, the cupola was taken down in 1848, under instructions from The Viscount Hardinge, the then Governor General of India, and was reinstalled at ground level to the east of Qutb Minar, where it remained since then. It is known as "Smith's Folly” – after Robert Smith who first constructed it.

Additional Information for Visitors

Qutub Minar is located about 12 away from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport.

The quickest way to get from Delhi Airport (DEL) to Qutub Minar is to hire a taxi which will take around 15 minutes

The nearest train stations from here include:

Alternatively, you can also take the metro on the yellow line and get down at the Qutub minar station, from where it is 1.5km away – which is easily walkable or a rickshaw can be hired.

There is also a direct bus that departs from IGI Airport Terminal 2 and arrivies at Qutub Minar Metro Station.

The visiting hours for the public to Qutub minar are from 6 am to 6 pm every day. The entry fee is Rs.10 per head for Indian citizens, while foreigners are charged Rs. 250 per head.