The Qutub Minar is a minaret that forms a part of the Qutab complex. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Mehrauli of Delhi. Qutub Minar is a 73-meter (239.5 feet) tall tapering tower of five stories. It has 14.3 meters (47 feet) base diameter which is reducing to 2.7 meters (9 feet) at the top. It contains a spiral staircase of 379 steps. Its design has been based on the Minaret of Jam, in western Afghanistan which is 62-meter (203 ft) high and built around 1190 entirely of baked bricks.
The construction of the Qutub Minar’s first story started around 1192 by the founder of Delhi Sultanate Qutub-Ud-Din-Aibak. In 1220, Aibak’s successor and son-in-law Iltutmish completed a further three stories of this minaret. Iltutmish tomb is also situated in the Kutub Complex. A lightning strike destroyed the top story in 1369. The other emperor Firoz Shah Tughlaq replaced this damaging story and added one more. The emperor Sher Shah Suri also added an entrance to this minaret while he was ruling and Mughal emperor Humayun was at an exile.
The name of this minaret is derived from the Sufi saint Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki. Qutub Ud-Din-Aibak revered and follower him. The Minaret is surrounded by several historically monuments. At the foot of the tower is the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, the first mosque to be built in India by any Islamic invader. An inscription on eastern gate of mosque informs that it was built with material obtained from demolishing nearby 27 Hindu and Jain temples.
In the Kutub complex, an incomplete tower known as Alai Minar was commenced by the ambitious Sultan Alauddin Khilji (1296-1316). His intention to build double in the dimension of Kutub Minar. But unfortunately he died while the construction was in progress and he could not complete even its first story.
A seven-meter high iron pillar stands in the courtyard of the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque which has been brought from somewhere. It is a legend that if you can encircle it with your hands while standing with your back to it your wish will be fulfilled. According to the article written on the iron pillar, it was built by the Gupta emperor of India, Chandragupta Vikramaditya.