About Qutub Complex
The Qutub Complex (Qutb Complex) in southern Delhi is made up of a series of religious and cultural buildings and structures, many of which date back to the Slave Dynasty (thirteenth century). The Qutub Complex is located in the Mehrauli, once known as Lal Kot, a city which dates back to 1060 when it was founded by the Tomar Rajput ruler, Anang Pal.
History of Qutub Complex
One of the first buildings constructed as part of the Qutub Complex was the Might of Islam Mosque, translated as ’Quwwatu’l-Islam’, a project undertaken by the founder of the Slave Dynasty, Qutbu’d-Din Aibak, in 1192 and enlarged by his successors in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. In the centre of the mosque is an ancient iron pillar believed to date back to the fourth century AD and is renowned for never rusting. The ornately carved tomb of Iltutmish, the third ruler of the Slave Dynasty, is also contained within the mosque.
Beyond the mosque, Qutbu’d-Din Aibak was also responsible for building the most famous building in the Qutub Complex, the Qutub Minar, a looming sandstone minaret known for its incredible height and ornate carvings.
Construction of Qutub Minar began in around 1202. When it was completed in 1368, Qutub Minar reached a height of 72.5 metres, making it the tallest “skyscraper” of its time and it remains the tallest sandstone tower in India. The Qutub Minar has since been damaged by lightning on several occasions and its upper floors were subsequently rebuilt, most notably in 1328, 1368 and in 1503, when it was enlarged. In the 19th century, an earthquake struck Delhi which caused considerable damage – the British repaired it shortly afterwards.
In 1992, the Qutub Complex was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.
Qutub Complex today
Tickets cover admission to the whole complex, although most people come primarily to see the minaret which gives the complex its name. The tower of the Qutub Minar is no longer accessible to visitors due to safety concerns, but it remains remarkable nonetheless.
Getting to Qutub Complex
The Qutub Minar is located in southern Delhi: the nearest metro station is Saket (Yellow line) but even this isn’t close. You’re best off navigating the public bus system, or a much easier alternative would be to hail a tuktuk, Uber or Ola to get there. Remember Delhi traffic is terrible so avoid going around rush hour.