India in Pieces: Qutab Minar

A visit to Qutab Minar was arguably the highlight of my trip to Delhi. It is easily accessible thanks to a dedicated station on the Delhi Metro. At 73 metres in height, Qutab Minar is the tallest of its kind in all of India. It is made of red limestone on the lower levels and marble and sandstone on the higher levels. Qutab Minar is also a well-deserved World UNESCO Heritage site.

Imposing structure
Imposing structure

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Qutab Minar is the impressive tall structure at the centre of the complex (topped out in 1368), but surrounding it are many other ruins and gardens, making it a fairly large area to explore. The minar itself was once used a watch tower and has incidentally been struck countless times by lightning and destroyed by earthquakes to varying degrees. Up to around 30 years ago, it was also possible to climb the minar up a very narrow staircase to the upper level. However, an accident occurred during a power outage and 45 people lost their loves in a stampede. Since then, access has been routinely forbidden to the public.

At the base of the minar
At the base of the minar

Many parts of the minar are carved with intricate readings of the Quran and at the foot of the minar itself is a mosque which is said to be the first mosque to be built in India. On my visit in 2013 I found many people practicing religion in the Qutab complex, and also many local people simply enjoying a stroll through the complex and resting in the green park spaces. As you can imagine, Qutab Minar is often very crowded with tourists, and this obviously includes Indian tourists who may be enjoying their first ever visit to the National Capital Region of Delhi. It is worth noting that admission prices to all Indian tourist sites are vastly inflated if you are a “foreigner”.

Always crowded
Always crowded

Here is a HD video tour that I made of my experience at the Qutab Minar complex:

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