Delhi Journals

Historic Delhi Part 2: Tombs

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A January 2006 trip to Delhi by phileasfogg

Tombs at Chirag-e-Dehlis dargah Photo, Delhi, India More Photos
Quote: Saints, sinners, kings, and poets: some remembered, some forgotten, all buried in Delhi. A quick look at some of Delhi’s most beautiful, or interesting, tombs.

Tomb of Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq

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Attraction | "14th century: The Tomb of Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq"

Tomb of Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
One of the little known, but best-preserved tombs in Delhi, is that of the emperor Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq, the founder of the Tughlaq dynasty. Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq started constructing the sprawling fort of Tughlaqabad in 1321, and simultaneously began work on his own tomb, which was completed in 1323. The tomb, all sloping walls and white dome, lies across the road from the fort (to which it was once connected by a causeway). It’s a beautiful building, its white dome and surrounding walls easily visible from the road. From the road, you walk along an elevated paved path, leading to a gate, beyond which is a staircase built inside the thick walls that surround the tomb. Climb up the steps, and you’ll...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 4, 2006

Tomb of Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq
Mehrauli-badarpur Road
Delhi

Abdul Rahim Khan-e-Khana

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Attraction | "16th century: The Tomb of Mirza Abdur Rahim Khan-e"

Abdul Rahim Khan-e-Khana Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
Rahiman dhaaga prem ka, na todo hich kai,Toote se, phir yeh na jude, jude toh gaanth pad jaaye.("Thus says Rahim: Take care not to let the thread of love snap. For if it snaps, it cannot be joined again. And if joined, it shall always have a knot in it"). Schoolchildren across India learn the couplets of Rahim as a part of medieval Hindi literature. Rahim’s poetry is simple, easily understood, and rich in metaphors, similes and alliteration. It is much more attractive, to children at least, than the more avant-garde verses of today. And what makes Rahim’s works even more interesting is the man himself. Rahim (1556-1627) was not merely a poet. He was a scholar, a highly...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 4, 2006

Abdul Rahim Khan-e-Khana
Main Road, Nizamuddin (east)
Delhi

Lodhi Gardens

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Attraction | "15th-16th century: The Lodhi Gardens"

Lodhi Gardens Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
Previously known as Lady Wellington Park, the Lodhi Gardens were renamed for the tombs of the Lodhi Sultans that stand here. Bahlol Lodhi founded the Lodhi dynasty (1451-1526), and although they never managed to attain the glory of their successors (the Mughals), the Lodhis left behind some impressive monuments. Of these, the best known are the tombs. The Lodhi Gardens stretch across lawns, bamboo groves, and copses of margosa, silk cotton, mimosa and other trees. There are benches, jogging tracks, a small enclosure with some pretty bonsai (the enclosure’s very ambitiously named the `National Bonsai Park’). It’s a great place for a morning walk, a picnic with the kids, a jog with the dog, or some...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 4, 2006

Lodhi Gardens
Lodhi Road
Delhi

Safdarjung's Tomb

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Attraction | "18th century: The Tomb of Safdarjang"

Safdarjung's Tomb Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
Nawab Mirza Munsir Abdul Khan, titled Safdarjang, belonged to Nishabad in Iran (of which Omar Khayyam was a scion). In the mid-1700s, Safdarjang came to India, and soon rose to be the Nawab of Awadh. He swiftly made his way to the top—as the Wazir to the Mughal emperor Mohammad Shah "Rangeela" and his successor, Ahmed Shah "Albela." History has little to say in praise of Safdarjang. He is regarded as a man of few scruples, and is even believed by some scholars to have betrayed Delhi to the invader Nadir Shah. Safdarjang was eventually dismissed by Ahmed Shah for trying to assassinate the chief eunuch. By the time he died, his days of glory were long gone, and his sons, looking for ways to give Da...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 4, 2006

Safdarjung's Tomb
Near Safdarjang Airport, Lodhi Road-aurobindo Marg Intersection
Delhi

Tombs at Chirag-e-Dehli's dargah Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
In the heart of the village that is named for him lies the tomb of a man once revered as far away as Mecca. Fourteenth-century Delhi was a city in decline. The Mongols were gearing up to attack; the city was in political turmoil; and the great spiritual leader Nizamuddin Auliya had died. The story goes that in the midst of a discussion in faraway Mecca, someone remarked that Delhi was now more or less sunk in darkness, and there was little hope for the city. The speaker was contradicted by another. "For there is" said he, "Nasiruddin Mahmud, Roshan Chirag-e-Dehli." Roshan Chirag-e-Dehli means "The illuminated lamp of Delhi," and to the many devotees of this much-esteemed Sufi mystic, the epit...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 4, 2006

Chaunsath Khamba- the exterior Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
The dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya isn’t just a tomb; it’s a pilgrimage. Here, amidst crowds of devout pilgrims, the religious fervour reaches its apex- and strangely enough, manages to remain far from fanatical. Even more astounding is the fact that this tomb isn’t just revered by Muslims. I saw Hindu women, clad in bright nylon saris, a streak of vermilion in the parting of their hair, sitting by the saint’s tomb, listening to the prayers being intoned. And not seeming at all out of place. My last visit to Nizamuddin’s tomb was on a dry, dusty Sunday. Our walking group began at an early hour (7:30), but the neighbourhood, also called Nizamuddin, was already a hive of activity....Read More

Talking about Tombs

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Story/Tip

Chaunsath Khamba- the interior Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
Delhi teems with tombs. All across the city, tucked away in neighbourhoods, cheek-by-jowl with bustling bazaars and along busy roads, are mausoleums by the dozen, long forgotten and decrepit. Falling apart, sometimes not more than a barely-recognisable pile of rubble and stone, blackened by smoke from wood fires lit by squatters, or covered with idiotic graffiti of the "Sanjay loves Neelam" brand—these tombs are, more often than not, not a pretty sight. And such unhappy treatment isn’t restricted to the neglected graves of the poor. The tomb of Razia Sultan, the only woman to have ruled medieval Delhi, was till recently overrun by goats and cricket-playing urchins. But things are looking up, and there...Read More