Qutb Minar is an Islamic architectural wonder of ancient India. The word 'Qutb' means 'axis' and Minar means 'Tower' or 'Minaret'. This magnificent tower stands in the Qutb Complex located at Aurabindo Marg, near Mehrauli, 14 km south of New Delhi. Qutb Minar was built in the early 13th century. With a height of 72.5 m , and a varying diameter of 2.75 m at the top to 14.32 m at its base, the Qutb Minar is the biggest stone tower in India.
The Qutb complex has a number of other monuments including the gateway built in 1310, the Alai Darwaza, Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque and the tombs of Altamish, Alauddin Khalji and Imam Zamin.
The foundation for the Qutb Minar was laid by Qutb-ud-din-Aibak, the Turk ruler who reigned over Delhi from 1206. The Qutb Minar and the other monuments were built on the remains of Lal Kot, an older Hindu city, in Delhi. The ruins of the older civilization were used as the material for the construction of the complex. Qutb-ud-din-Aibak wanted the Qutb Minar to stand as a symbol of his power. But he passed away before the tower was completed. It was his successor, Iltutmish, who completed the construction of Qutb Minar.
The Qutb Minar has five storeys, each marked by a projecting balcony. The tower was built in three stages, by three rulers of Delhi. Qutab-ud-Din completed the first storey in 1211. Second, third and the fourth were completed by Illtutmish in 1230. The minar was struck by lightning in AD 1368 and the damaged top storey was reconstructed as two storeys, the fourth and the fifth in 1370 AD by Feroz Shah Tughlaq (AD 1351-88).
The architecture of the Qutb Minar is purely Islamic in character from base to top.