Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi (1993)

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Built in the early 13th century a few kilometres south of Delhi, the red sandstone tower of Qutb Minar is 72.5 m high, tapering from 2.75 m in diameter at its peak to 14.32 m at its base, and alternating angular and rounded flutings. 

The surrounding archaeological area contains funerary buildings, notably the magnificent Alai-Darwaza Gate, the masterpiece of Indo-Muslim art (built in 1311), and two mosques, including the Quwwatu'l-Islam, the oldest in northern India, built of materials reused from some 20 Brahman temples. 
  • India 1949. Qutb Minar, Delhi. 

The name Delhi, first recorded in the 1st century BC, was applied to a succession of cities built on this site before the present city was founded in 1638 by the Mughal ruler Shah Jahan (he who built also Taj Mahal in Agra). The first was built in the 12th century AD by the Cahaman ruler Prithviraja. It was captured by Muslims in 1193 and became capital of a Muslim empire in India under Qutubuddin Aybak, builder of the Qutb Minar tower. 

Muslim control ended with the capture and destruction of Delhi in the late 14th century by the Turkic conqueror Tamerlane. Babur, founder of the Mughal dynasty in India, restored Delhi to capital status in 1526, and his son Humayun built a new city here. In 1540 it was seized and destroyed by the Afghan invader Sher Shah, and it was replaced by another new city. Akbar, the son of Humayun, recaptured Delhi but moved his capital to Agra and allowed Delhi to fall into ruins. 
  • India 1987. Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, built of material reused from Brahman temples. 

India 1987. Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, built of material reused from Brahman temples.

India 1991. View of modern New Delhi, issued for the city's Diamond Jubilee.

It was rebuilt in its present form and restored as the Mughal capital by Akbar's grandson Shah Jahan in the 1600s. Delhi remained the Mughal capital until 1739, when it was conquered and looted of its treasures, including the famous Peacock Throne, by the Persian ruler Nadir Shah. About 1771, the Marathas gained control and remained in power until British forces seized the city in 1803. Delhi was the temporary capital of British India from 1912 to 1931, when New Delhi was officially inaugurated as the capital. 
  • India 1991. View of modern New Delhi, issued for the city's Diamond Jubilee. 

Delhi has grown rapidly, in both industry and population, since India gained independence from Great Britain in 1947. Today Delhi ranks as the third largest city in India, after Mumbai (formerly Bombay) and Kolkata (formerly Calcutta).  

Sources and links: 

Other World Heritage Sites in India (on this website). Inactive links are not described on postage stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, India-section, for further information on the individual properties. 


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Revised 21 jul 2006  
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