General view of the Kootub, 18 miles from Delhi.
Photographer: Tytler, Robert and Harriet
Medium: Photographic print
Part of a portfolio of photographs taken in 1858 by Major Robert Christopher Tytler and his wife, Harriet, at Delhi, Lucknow and Cawnpore in the aftermath of the Uprising of 1857. One of the greatest monuments of Islamic architecture in India, the Qutb Minar 72.5 m tall, was built as a celebratory victory tower accompanying the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque and was probably inspired by the style of Afghan minarets. Inscriptions suggest that it was begun by Qutub-ud-din Aibak in 1199 and completed by his successor Iltutmish (r. 1211-36) in 1215, although the two upper tiers were rebuilt at later dates. The chief material used is red sandstone. Four balconies separate its five storeys, and a beautiful effect is achieved in the lower three storeys which have broad carved bands of interwoven calligraphy and floral motifs. Within the minaret is a spiral stairway of 360 steps.