Dominating the ruins of the earliest existing settlement of Delhi is the city’s famous landmark- the Qutab Minar. The imposing victory tower is one of the most famous places to visit in Delhi measuring 73 metre in height and proclaimed the tallest brick minaret in the world. The tower has five distinct stories, and is covered with intricate carvings and verses from the holy Quran.

It was built in 1206 by Qutbuddin Aibak (1192-98) the founder of the Slave Dynasty. The tapering, fluted structure has five storeys, each marked by intricately carved projections or balconies. Elaborately carved pillars-which come from Hindu temples of the earlier settlement of Qila Rai Pithora embellish the courtyard of a nearby mosque.

There are also a number of other historic monuments on the site. At the centre of the courtyard is the amazing Iron Pillar-the dhvaja stambha (flag pole) of a Vishnu Temple (4th-5th century AD). Cast in a process that is lost to the present world, the 7.2 metre pillar has not rusted through the centuries. Other interesting structures in the vicinity includes the base of another unfinished tower – the Alai Minar.

Qutab Minar is an incredible example of early Indo–Islamic architecture. Some believe that it was made to signify victory and the beginning of Muslim rule in India, while others say it was used to call the faithful to prayer.

Location : Mehrauli, south New Delhi.
Entry Cost : $5 or 250 rupees. Free for children under 15 years.
Opening Hours : Sunrise until sunset, daily.