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Qutab Minar

The Qutab Minar is a masterpiece of Mughal architecture.  A tall and regal minar made of red sandstone, it was commissioned by Qutub-ud-din-Aibak, who laid the foundation stone in 1192 A.D. and oversaw the building of the first level.  The next three storeys were added by his successor and son-in-law, Shams-ud-din Iltutmish.  It has a base diameter of 14.3 metres, which narrows to 2.7 metres at the topmost level, and is 72.5 metres in height.  Twice damaged by lightning, it was repaired first by Firuz Shah Tughlaq, replaced the top storey with two more levels and then by Sikandar Lodhi.  Each level is encircled by a balcony decorated with a honeycomb shaped design.  The Qutub Minar’s history can be found etched on the monument itself, inscribed into the sandstone in the Nagari and Parso-Arabic script.  Exquisitely intricate patterns have been lovingly carved into the minar’s body.

The Qutab Minar is one of India’s most visited monuments, and, as of 1993, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It is believed to have been originally made as a tower for the muezzin to call the faithful to prayer, although that theory is under debate for various reasons.  It was also used as a watch tower during times of war.  Until 1981, the public were also allowed to climb to the top of the monument.  

The Qutab Minar can be found in Mehrauli, New Delhi.
 


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