Qutub Minar

The Qutub minar is the first iconic and tallest minar of stoned masonry in the world. Signup for full VR Experience ! Book a holiday package to Qutub Minar.

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Qutub Minar


Qutub Minar

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Mehrauli, New Delhi, Delhi 110030, India



The Qutub minar symbolizes with grandeur the victory of Islam on Indian soil. It is the first iconic and tallest minar of stoned masonry in the world. It was envisaged as a marker of the shadow of God over the east and the west. It was intended to be a watchtower for defense purposes. Its construction was started in 1199 AD by Qutbuddin Aibak, the first Islamic ruler in India, and was completed in 1219 AD. It is located in the grand complex of Qutb mosque. It was constructed with stones acquired by demolishing Lalkot, the citadel of Hindu king Dhillika. Its height is 73 M, its diameter at the base is 14.3 M and at the top is 2.75 M. The minar comprises a stoned external circular masonry wall, a cylindered central core and helicoidally stairs with a total of 379 steps rising five stories in a tapering form. The Indian craftsmen, the local material and the Islamic ruler made it an example of Indo-Islamic style of architecture.


Architectural Delineation

The first awesome view of the great qutb minar that the visitors enjoy is from Alai darwaja side. Since both together create a superb asymmetrical composition of an imposing verticality of the minar and the contrasting horizontality of Alai darwaja with its gentle domical silhouette. The five stories of the minar have decreasing heights since in a tapering form equal heights of the floors would have weakened the minar’s imposing strength both visually and structurally.

The Minar

The circular ground floor plan consists of alternate cylindrical shafts and star shaped triangular flanges, which creates a rhythmic and pleasing contrast. It visually and structurally enhances the strong and heavy character of this gigantic minar. The first floor has cylindrical shafts while the second floor has triangular flanges that break the monotony. All the floors veneered with red sandstone streaks maintain the rhythmic rising continuity of the minar as well as the richness. The last two plain tapering cylindrical shafts faced with white marble streaks enhance the minar’s visual extent of height. This consecutive change in floors’ features is based on the visual distance and perceiving ability of each floor’s architectural features from the ground by the visitors.


The masterstroke feature of the Qutb minar is its amazingly aesthetic balconies, which heighten the beauty of this minar. The five balconies are in red sandstone and their parapets of buff sandstone panels follow exactly the plan of the minar below. The balconies are supported by a system of stalactite bracketing or Muqarnas corbels. This means that they are projected with the support of two layers of brackets – a vertical one at the top and an inclined one at the bottom made out of a bunch of mini arches acting as squinches aligned with the profile of the balcony. The cylindrical shafts and flanges with capital like top express as pilasters holding the bracketed balconies so elegantly.

Islamic art features

The verses of the Holy Quran in calligraphy and some intricate carvings, floral motifs and arabesque, inscribed in the form of bands provided at intervals all around in its red sandstone streaks hold all the elements in unity and accentuate the magnificence of this great Indo-Islamic Qutb minar. 


Dr. Prof. S.Y.Kulkarni

Professor and Former Head (Retd.)

Department of Architecture and Planning

Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee




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