In news- The Delhi court reserved its order for June 9 on pleas seeking to restore the right to worship for Hindus and Jains at the Quwwat-Ul-Islam mosque in the Qutub Minar’s premises. However, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has stated in the court that ‘Qutub Minar was not a place of worship, nor could it be revived as one under the laws of the land’.
About Qutub Minar-
- The Qutub Minar is a minaret and “victory tower” that forms part of the Qutub complex, which lies at the site of Delhi’s oldest fortified city, Lal Kot, founded by the Tomar Rajputs.
- It was begun after the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, which was started around 1192 by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, first ruler of the Delhi Sultanate but got completed in around 1220 by his son-in-law Iltutmish.
- It is the earliest extant – mosque built by the Delhi Sultans and consists of a rectangular courtyard enclosed by cloisters, erected with the carved columns and architectural members of 27 Jain and Hindu temples, which were demolished by Aibak as recorded in his inscription.
- The mosque was enlarged by Itutmish and Ala-ud-Din Khalji.
- The Iron Pillar in the courtyard bears an inscription in Sanskrit in Brahmi script of fourth century A.D., according to which the pillar was set up as a Vishnu Dhwaja (standard of god Vishnu) on the hill known as Vishnupada in memory of a mighty king named Chandra.
- The Qutub Minar is named after Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki a 13th-century sufi saint, as Shamsuddin Iltutmish was his devotee.
- This victory tower is a symbol of the synthesis of traditional Islamic architecture and Southwestern Asian design.
- The minaret is unique in that historically, these tower minarets were uncommon in South Asian-Islamic design until the 17th century.
- Persian-Arabic and Nagari in different sections of the Qutb Minar reveal the history of its construction and the later restorations and repairs by Firoz Shah Tughluq (1351–88).
- In 1505, an earthquake damaged Qutub Minar and it was repaired by Sikander Lodi.
- The Qutb Minar consists of five stories of red and grey sandstone.
- On 1 September 1803, a major earthquake caused serious damage and Major Robert Smith of the British Indian Army renovated the tower in 1828 and installed a pillared cupola over the fifth storey, creating a sixth.
- The height of Qutb Minar is 72.5 meters, making it the tallest minaret in the world built of bricks.
- The whole tower contains a spiral staircase of 379 steps.
- It was added to the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1993.