Walk through the complex of the Qutub Minar with Sadia Dehlvi. The Qutub Minar falls in Lal Kot, the first of the legendary seven cities of Delhi. Some say it is a victory tower, while others believe it is named after the Sufi Khwaja Qutubuddin Bakhtiar Kaki; who lived during the rule of Sultan Iltutmish. It is undoubtedly the most spectacular of Delhi’s monuments. Qutubuddin Aibak, the first ruler of the Salve dynasty built just the first. His son in law and successor Iltutmish completed it. The Minar is festooned with Arabic calligraphy.
Adjacent to the Qutub Minar stands the ruins of the Quwwal ul Islam Masjid, Delhi’s first mosque, built where Jain and Hindu temples once stood. The tomb of Iltutmish is another magnificent structure. So is the famous Iron Pillar with Sanskrit verses that has defied rust and decay for over a hundreds years. Other monuments within the Qutub complex are the Alai Darwaza, the entrance to the mosque, enlarged later by Alauddin Khilji. On its eastern entrance is the enchanting tomb of Imam Zamim, a mystic of the sixteenth century. Strolling through these monuments and the ruins that surround it is a rewarding experience.
Sadia Dehlvi is a well-known author, newspaper columnist, and political commentator from New Delhi. Over a career spanning thirtyfive years, her writings and television discussions have focused on issues of faith, heritage, minorities, and women. She is a prominent Indian voice against radicalism and communalism. Dehlvi is the author of Sufism: The Heart of Islam and The Sufi Courtyard: Dargahs of Delhi, published by HarperCollins India.
Meeting point: Ticket counter of Qutub Complex
Tips: carry a bottle of water
Extra costs: entry to the monument