The Kootub Minar, Delhi. 1168
Photographer: Bourne, Samuel
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Qutb Minar, Delhi, taken by Samuel Bourne in the 1860s.
The Qutb Minar is a tower of victory, part of a complex containing some of the earliest structures of Muslim rule in India. It was begun by Qutb-ud-Din Aibak (r.1206-1210), the first Sultan of Delhi and founder of the Slave Dynasty, and continued by Shams-ud-Din Iltutmish (r.1211-1236). This victory tower accompanies the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque and was probably inspired by the style of Afghan minarets. It is 72.3m (238 ft) high, and rises in five tapering fluted storeys interrupted by projecting balconies decorated with inscriptions. The chief material used is red sandstone. Four balconies separate its five storeys, and one the lower three storeys have broad carved bands of interwoven calligraphy and floral motifs. The two highest storeys are mainly marble, they were rebuilt by Firuz Shah Tughluq (r.1351-1388) in 1368 when a cupola was added, later damaged in an earthquake and removed.