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Qutub Minar: A Photo Essay (with Tips)

Birds in Love

Nestled in a quiet corner of South Delhi, towering over the surrounding landscape, is New Delhi’s most recognizable monument, the Qutub Minar. Standing at a height of 72.5 meters, this minaret was built by Qutab-ud-din-Albak sometime in the 1190s. Now, a World Heritage Site, the Qutub Minar remains one of Delhi’s most famous and visited monuments.

With a base diameter of 14.3 meters and the top diameter of 2.7 meters, a total of 379 steps are required to reach the top. Unfortunately, after an incident in the 1980s where power failure resulted in a stampede, members of the public are no longer allowed inside the Qutub Minar. I do have faint memories of having climbed once to the top, but without any photographic proof, I often wonder if it’s just a figment of my imagination.

Qutub Minar

The Qutub Minar - Work done on the Minaret

The Qutub Minar - Full View

The Qutub Minar Complex - Parrots on the Wall

While many monuments have intrigue and suspense linked to them, Qutub Minar comes with its own modern-day mystery. Over centuries it has seen its fair share of problems with the top two of the seven stories getting damaged. A myth I grew up believing was that the reason for the collapse of the two tiers was a plane crash. However, the truth is that the damage was caused by lightning, There has been some structural damage to the Qutub Minar due to earthquakes over time as well, but the remaining five stories have been repaired as and when the damage occurred and as a result, this minaret remains a standing marvel for generations to see.

Iron Pillar & Qutub Minar

Rust Free - The Iron Pillar

The Qutub Minar complex also houses another interesting ” monument”. The Iron Pillar is a roughly 6000 Kilogram weighing, 24-foot high pillar that has Sanskrit inscriptions on it. Having grown up in the region of the Qutub, a theory attached with the Iron Pillar is that if a person stands with his/her back to the pillar and manages to wrap his/her hands around it, then they can wish for anything and it will come true. As a child, I was never able to do that, and now, over the past couple of decades, due to the negative effects of “oily” hands being placed on the pillar, it has been cornered off. No more free wishes you, unfortunately. The other magnificent fact about the pillar is that even though it is 98% Iron, and has been in the open, it still remains rust free after close to 1600 years.

Besides the above two more famous monuments, the Qutub complex is made up of noteworthy reminders of the past in the form of the Ala’i Minar – a failed attempt at making a minaret twice the size of the Qutub Minar – a mosque and tombs along with architecturally beautiful pillars and walls that have stood the test of time and present different architectural techniques and styles.

Alaí Minar
Architecture - The Qutub Minar Complex
Beautiful Work - The Qutub Minar
Beautiful Workmanship - The Qutub Minar Complex
Walls and Arches - What Remains at The Qutub Minar Complex
The Local Residents - Qutub Minar

The entry to the complex is ticketed at a nominal price of Rs. 30, – for Indians and a somewhat slightly expensive Rs 500 for foreign nationals when last checked.

It is advisable to reach as early as possible – Opening time is 7 AM – as you can skip the crowds and get some wonderful photographs of a more vacant complex. Although the complex is open on all days, weekdays can get busy because of school trips and the weekends usually have a number of tour groups. The complex closes in the evening at 5.

As the place also has religious connotations, one should be respectful of the tradition and culture at all times.

In order to keep the complex clean and tidy, most of the gardens have been cornered off, but there are a few places outside the complex where one can still have a small picnic during the winter months.

There are guides present but they do not harass and an official audio tour is available at a nominal price if you would rather do your own sightseeing. Moreover, most of the monuments are well labelled with their history on plaques next to them.

Although there are shaded areas in the complex, it is advisable to carry sun protection and water, especially during summer months.

Intricate work on the walls - The Qutub Minar Complex

Passages and Doorways

Pillars - Qutub Minar


The Qutub Complex is part of village Mehrauli in New Delhi and while a visit to the Minaret is a must, so is one to the nearby Mehrauli Archaeological Park which is full of ancient splendour.

The entire Qutub Minar complex is a well-maintained property with lush gardens, nooks and corners to explore, the forgotten past to re-discover, and it is the perfect place in the city to immerse oneself into the charm of glorious architecture.

For more facts about Qutub, check out Shivani’s beautiful photo essay that captures the Minar closer to sundown. 

Stones - Qutub Minar
Pillars - The Qutub Minar Complex


  • leightonliterature
    Posted 27 April, 17 at 9:05 PM

    Wonderful photos! And well written.

  • yatripandit
    Posted 29 April, 17 at 1:42 PM

    That’s a brilliantly crafted post and amazing pictures..

  • Paula - Gone with the Wine
    Posted 30 April, 17 at 10:49 PM

    What a beautiful place! I love the contrast on pictures with parrots, amazing photos!

  • Fair Dinkum Traveller
    Posted 1 May, 17 at 12:18 PM

    That is some great pictures there. Certainly bringing out the best in the place.

  • FocusedTravels
    Posted 1 May, 17 at 11:37 PM

    It is the first time I hear of this structure, but it is beautiful. I love the carvings.

  • Lisa
    Posted 14 July, 17 at 6:11 PM

    Qutub Minar looks amazing! The detailing on the minaret is so intricate, I can’t even imagine how long it took to sculpt this. If I ever go to Delhi, I’ll be sure to visit!

  • Joanna
    Posted 14 July, 17 at 7:02 PM

    I can’t believe i have been to Delhi three times and I didn’t get the chance to visit Qutub Minar. But then again, there are so many things to visit in New Delhi. I guess I need to return for the forth time. The Minar looks spectacular and so tall. I love the beautiful architecture, with all the pretty sculptures going up on the tower.

  • eatcheeseandtravel
    Posted 14 July, 17 at 11:21 PM

    Love you photos, the birds in green peeking out of such grand structures is really pretty. Useful tips about when to go, early is always better I think.

  • Jamie Joyner
    Posted 15 July, 17 at 12:43 AM

    These photos are amazing!! They highlight the details of the architecture and colors of the birds – wow! This is a wonderful photo essay.

  • Mimi's Migration
    Posted 15 July, 17 at 3:15 PM

    Wow your photos are absolutely beautiful. And of course the city too. The one with the birds is my favorite, a beautiful pop of color!

  • Jean
    Posted 16 July, 17 at 3:16 PM

    Oh wow. The Qutub Minar is an absolute wonder. I love the perspective you’ve taken with these photos.Shows such a beautiful side to the monument as well as the little bird.

  • Yukti
    Posted 17 July, 17 at 12:44 AM

    Stunning pictures of Qutub Minar specially those black and whites. You have taken pictures from nice angles and beautiful light composition. Intricate designs or Carvings on walls are so photogenic.

  • vishvarsha
    Posted 17 July, 17 at 6:01 AM

    The grandeur of Qutum Minar and Qutub complex truly serve the purpose of what the pillar stands for – victory in every sense and you have captured the place so well 🙂

  • Rishabh & Nirali
    Posted 18 July, 17 at 4:01 AM

    You’ve got some amazing pics of the place. It’s been a while since we’ve been there but can picture it exactly as we saw it. Thanks for this.

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