A mysterious iron pillar stands in the courtyard of the old Quwwat Ul Islam Masjid in New Delhi, India, near the Qutb Minar. The pillar predates the mosque, and was apparently part of a Hindu temple complex that previously occupied the site; a six-line Pali inscription indicates that it was initially erected outside a Vishnu temple, and was raised in memory of Gupta king Chandragupta Vikramaditya.

A local legend states that in later times, the Iron Pillar was used to determine who could become an archer - if a young man could stand with his back to the pillar and reach his arms all the way around so that his hands touched, he would qualify. Today tourists visiting the Masjid are quite fond of attempting this feat (it's actually rather difficult).

But the most mysterious aspect of the Iron Pillar is its material composition. The pillar is definitely made of iron, but in almost 2000 years it it has never corroded or rusted the slightest bit. There has been a lot of debate as to why this is, and numerous studies have been conducted on the pillar to ascertain its exact composition, with inconclusive results. Did the Guptas have a secret formula for making super-strong iron, or was it just by strange happenstance that the iron composition of this particular pillar is so durable?