The Qutub Minar is a mammoth tower that was built between 1193
and 1369 to symbolise Islamic rule over Delhi, and to commemorate
the victory by Qutab-ud-din over the city's last Hindu king.
Standing 238ft (72m) tall, the tower is decorated with calligraphy
representing verses from the Koran, and tapers from a 50ft (15m)
diameter at the base to just 8ft (2.5m) at the top. There are five
distinct storeys, each encircled with a balcony: the first three
are built of red sandstone, and the upper two are faced with white
At the foot of the minhar stands Quwwat-ul-Islam - India's oldest mosque, largely built from the remains of 27 Hindu and Jain temples destroyed by the Muslim victors. The cloisters that flank the nearby courtyard are supported by pillars that were unmistakably pilfered from Hindu temples - but fascinatingly, the faces that would have adorned these pillars have been removed to conform to Islamic law, which strictly forbids iconic worship.
Somewhat incongruously, in the corner of the mosque stands the Iron Pillar, bearing fourth-century Sanskrit inscriptions of the Gupta period dedicating the structure to the memory of King Chandragupta II (373-413). It is said that anyone who can encircle the pillar with their hands whilst standing with their back to it will have their wishes fulfilled.
Address: Qutab Minar Complex, Mehrauli, 16 km from Connaught Place
Transport: There are many local buses from around the city that stop here, otherwise take an auto-rickshaw, taxi or metro rail. Qutub Minar is on Delhi's hop-on-hop-off bus route.
Opening times: Open daily, from dawn to dusk