Qutub Minar is the tallest brick minaret in the world, and an important example of Indo-Islamic Architecture. The tower is in the Qutb complex in South Delhi, India. The Qutb Minar and its monuments are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Qutub Minar is 72.5 metres high (237.8 ft) and requires 399 steps to get to the top, although it has not been possible for visitors to ascend the tower for some years, due to safety reasons. The diameter of the base is 14.3 metres wide while the top floor measures 3.8 metres in diameter. (As a comparison, the 111m Saturn V rockets used during the Apollo moon landings stood one-and-a-half times taller).
Inspired by the Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan and wishing to surpass it, Qutb-ud-din Aybak, the first Muslim ruler of Delhi, commenced construction of the Qutub Minar in 1193; but could only complete its basement. His successor, Iltutmish, added three more storeys and, in 1368, Firuz Shah Tughluq constructed the fifth and the last storey. The development of architectural styles from Aybak to Tughluq are quite evident in the minaret. Like earlier towers erected by the Ghaznavids and Ghurids in today's Afghanistan, the Qutub Minar comprises several superposed flanged and cylindrical shafts, separated by balconies carried on Muqarnas corbels. The minaret is made of fluted red sandstone covered with intricate carvings and verses from the Qur'an, and is built on the ruins of Lal Kot, the Red Citadel in the city of Dhillika.
According to John Keay's "History of India," 27 previous Hindu and Jain temples were destroyed and their materials reused to construct the minar.
The purpose for building this beautiful monument has been speculated upon, apart from the usual role of a minaretthat of calling people for prayer in a mosquein this case the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque to the northeast of minar in AD 1198. It is the earliest extant mosque built by the Delhi Sultans. Other reasons ascribed to its construction are as a tower of victory, a monument signifying the might of Islam, or a watch tower for defence. Controversy also surrounds the origins for the name of the tower. Many historians believe that the Qutb Minar was named after the first Turkish sultan, Qutb-ud-din Aibak but others contend that it was named in honour of Khwaja Qutb-ud-din Bakhtiar Kaki of Ush, a saint from Baghdad who came to live in India who was greatly venerated by Iltutmish. According to the inscriptions on its surface it was repaired by Firuz Shah Tughlaq (AD 135188) and Sikandar Lodi (AD 14891517). Major R.Smith also repaired and restored the minar in 1829
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