Qutab Minar

Top choice in Delhi

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 proclaim his supremacy over the vanquished Hindu rulers of Qila Rai Pithora. Ringed by intricately carved sandstone bands bearing verses from the Quran, the tower stands nearly 73m high and tapers from a 15m-diameter base to a mere 2.5m at the top. Admission price is to the whole Qutab Minar Complex.

The tower has five distinct storeys with projecting balconies, but Qutb-ud-din only completed the first level before his unlucky death (he was impaled on his saddle while playing polo). His successors completed the job. The tower was struck by lightning in the 14th century, after which Feroz Shah had it repaired in marble. In the 19th century an earthquake caused further damage, and the British repaired it, plonking a cupola on top, which was later removed.

You can no longer climb the narrow spiral staircase within the tower for safety reasons.