Balconies on the Minar are actually one of the most interesting and effective features. The boldly projecting balconies at every stage are linked with the tower by a devise called ‘stalactite honey combing’. Simply put, the walls are sloping in order to make the tower stronger.
Qutb Minar has definitely suffered more than its share of damage from earthquakes and lightning strikes. It was repaired and renovated by various rulers. In 1368 the top storey of the Minar got hit by lightning and the red sandstone structure came falling down. Firoze Shah Tughlaq, the then ruler repaired it using white marble instead of the original red sandstone. Therefore, the top 2 storeys of the Minar are different in style than the rest of the storeys. Thereafter in the year 1505, an earthquake struck the Minar and it was repaired by Sikandar Lodi. But unfortunately the cupola came crashing down during another earthquake in 1803. The British engineer, Major Robert Smith had replaced Firoze Shah Tughlaq’s cupola by a flaming Mughal Pavilion, which is also known as the Bengali chattri. But Lord Hardinge, the Governor General of India from 1844-88 found it a bit incongruous with the Minar and got it removed. It was much later that the top of the Qutb Minar was replaced by an iron railing that we see now.
The inscriptions the Minar bears, gives us an almost complete history of the Qutb Minar from the commencement of its construction right down to its repair by various rulers.
By, Abbas Muzaffar & Tanul Dilwali