Iron Pillar


In the courtyard of the Quwwat-ul-Islam Masjid is a 6.7m-high iron pillar that is much more ancient than any of the surrounding monuments. It hasn't rusted over the past 1600 years, due to both the dry atmosphere and its incredible purity. A six-line Sanskrit inscription indicates that it was initially erected outside a Vishnu temple, possibly in Bihar, in memory of Chandragupta II, who ruled from AD 375 to 413. Scientists are at a loss as to how the iron was cast using the technology of the time.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Delhi attractions

1. Qutab Minar

0.03 MILES

The Qutab Minar that gives the complex its name is an unmissable, soaring Afghan-style victory tower and minaret, erected by sultan Qutb-ud-din in 1193 to…

2. Quwwat-ul-Islam Masjid

0.03 MILES

At the foot of the Qutab Minar stands the first mosque to be built in India. An inscription over the east gate states that it was built with materials…

3. Alai Minar

0.06 MILES

In the 14th century, Sultan Ala-ud-din made additions to the Qutab Minar Complex, which included an ambitious plan to erect a second tower of victory,…

4. Qutb Minar Complex

0.15 MILES

If you only have time to visit one of Delhi's ancient ruins, make it this. The first monuments here were erected by the sultans of Mehrauli, and…

5. Mehrauli Archaeological Park

0.31 MILES

There are extraordinary riches scattered around Mehrauli, with more than 440 monuments – from the 10th century to the British era – dotting a forest and…

6. Hijron ka Khanqah

0.65 MILES

At this seemingly long-forgotten yet immaculately maintained site, 49 hijras (eunuchs) are buried in simple white tombs. The more elaborate grave,…

7. Haus i Shamsi Tank

0.98 MILES

This 12th-century reservoir was formerly larger. The pavilion at its edge was once in the middle, and supposed to cover the hoofprint of a horse, ridden…

8. Garden of the 5 Senses

0.98 MILES

For a restful stroll, these landscaped gardens are filled with intriguing contemporary sculptures, wind chimes and lily ponds, and are popular with…