Today, I picked up my mobike and drove to visit Qutub Minar in Mehrauli, Delhi. I have, many times, closely passed by this monument but was not particularly excited to visit it. There were two reasons–I had visited it earlier in 1995 and secondly I had a misconception that there is nothing much to see. However, I had nothing to do today, so I decided to give it a shot.
Of course, I was wrong. There was much to see around. I hardly remembered anything from my previous visit, but the complex around the Qutub Minar is so beautiful and reminds you of conglomeration of various art forms. I can easily term Qutub Minar complex as one of the must visiting places in and around Delhi. No wonder that Qutub Minar has been included in the list of World Heritage Sites. To rub some factual salt, Qutub Minar sometimes receives more visitors per year than Taj Mahal!
In its present state, Qutub Minar is a five-storeyed, and 72.5 m high structure with lots of monuments built around it. Alai Darwaza, Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, Iron pillar, Tomb of Iltutmish, Tomb of Imam Zamin, Alauddin Khilji’s tomb and madarsa, and Alai Minar are some of the prominent monuments.
The Alai Darwaza or Alai Gate is the main entrance from southern side of the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque. Qutub Minar is the tallest brick minaret in the world, and is an important example of early Afghan architecture, which later evolved into Indo-Islamic Architecture. The diameter is 14.3 metres at the base and 2.7 metres at the top.
It is very unfortunate that after 1981, entre into the Qutub Minar was closed and access to the interiors of this beautiful monument remains elusive to the visitors.
The Iron pillar in the Qutub Minar complex remains one of the most talked about and curious structure. It arouses metallurgical questions to the world that are still unsolved. This pillar is 7.21 metre high and weighs more than six tonnes. It was originally erected by Chandragupta II Vikramaditya (375-414 AD) in front of a Vishnu Temple complex at Udayagiri around 402 AD, and later shifted by Iltutmish from Udaygiri to its present location in the Qutub complex, sometime around 1233 AD. I remember hugging this pillar from the back-side during my previous visit, but now, the access has been closed.
Qutub Minar has remained one of the most talked about and admired monuments of India. Right from the childhood, almost everybody comes to know about this monument. There are talks of its having seven storeys, of which two fell off–these folk-talks are never confirmed and there is no sign that there were seven storeys to it.
It took me around three hours to drive, see, and drive back my mobike from Gurgaon to Qutub Minar. But I would mark these hours with special pleasure because I can easily recommend to my readers that Qutub Minar is a must-visit monument if you love historical places.