Before 1974, the general public was allowed access to the top of the minaret, via the internal staircase. On 4 December 1981, the staircase lighting failed. Between 300 and 400 visitors stampeded towards the exit, and 47 were killed in the crush and some were injured. Most of these were school children. Since then, the tower has been closed to the public.
The Qutub Minar, also spelled as Qutab Minar, or Qutb Minar, is the tallest minaret in the world made up of bricks. The minaret forms a part of the Qutab complex, a UNESCOWorld Heritage Site in the Mehrauli area of Delhi, India. Qutub Minar is a 73-metre (239.5 feet) tall tapering tower of five storeys, with a 14.3 metres (47 feet) base diameter, reducing to 2.7 metres (9 feet) at the top of the peak. It contains a spiral staircase of 379 steps. Its design is thought to have been based on the Minaret of Jam, in western Afghanistan.
Qutab-Ud-Din-Aibak, founder of the Delhi , founder of the Delhi Sultanate, started construction of the Qutub Minar's first storey around 1192. In 1220, Aibak's successor and son-in-law Iltutmishcompleted a further three storeys. In 1369, a lightning strike destroyed the top storey. Firoz Shah Tughlaq replaced the damaged storey, and added one more. Sher Shah Suri also added an entrance to this tower while he was ruling and Humayun was in exile.
The Minar is surrounded by several historically significant monuments of the Qutab complex, including Quwat-ul-Islam Mosque, which was built at the same time as the Minar, and the much older Iron Pillar of Delhi. The nearby pillared Cupola known as "Smith's Folly" is a remnant of the tower's 19th
century restoration, which included an ill-advised attempt to add some more stories.
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