June 18, 2012

Unknown Tomb, Nizamuddin Area, New Delhi

Moving from Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station, New Delhi, towards Humayun’s Tomb Complex & past Nila Gumbad, Gurudwara Damdama Sahib & Chilla-Khanqah Nizamuddin (see http://pixels-memories.blogspot.in/2012/06/chilla-khanqah-nizamuddin-new-delhi.html for more details & photographs about Chilla-Khanqah Nizamuddin), one faces a large, thickly forested expanse opposite the Chilla-Khanqah & just some metres from it. An Archaeological Survey of India board informs all passer-by’s that the area is a notified ASI land & houses a protected monument. A wire-mesh limits the boundary & a metal sheet barricade hides whatsoever lies behind it. Since most individuals would rather move ahead & go see Humayun’s Tomb Complex & Nizamuddin Dargah nearby rather than trespassing on Government property, they miss one of the most beautiful & untouched sights from Delhi’s history. Some distance inside the wilderness stands a large tomb. Who the tomb belongs to is a question that even the A.S.I. doesn’t have the answer to. The solitary ruins stand on a small hill flanked on all sides by large trees with their gnarling & twisting branches too conspiring to hide the tomb from onlookers. The cream-ish tomb further stands on a high platform which too is now overtaken by scrubs & grass. A picture of ignorance & isolation, the tomb still looks spell-binding & represents all that can go wrong with heritage conservation.

Hidden under the canopy

With no records whatsoever as to whom the person buried inside is or what the structure looked like in the past, all we have to immerse ourselves in is the present beauty of the structure. The domed tomb is square in shape, with arches on all sides & traces of blue tile-work. The finial atop the dome is similar to a cross in shape, something which I have seen for the first time. The unique finial adds a strange aura of mystery around the tomb of this forgotten person. Who could he be?? Was he a king like Humayun? A general like Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khana or a servant like Fahim? All of whom lie buried in their respective tombs in close proximity to this forgotten structure. We will never know. But we do know that his family & friends loved him enough to bury him in this magnificent structure for all to remember. Except they would have never thought that someday people would even forget that there is a tomb inside these jungles, leave alone the identity of the person.

Standing tall

On a small hillock near the tomb is another unknown grave turned into a small mazaar (grave of some holy man where people come & pray with the belief that their wishes will come true). Green & yellow silk cover a box in which offerings are placed & condensed butter lamps that were once lighted lie inside fallen over their sides. Maybe no one now visits the mazaar to make wishes too.

Forgotten Mazaar

Peacocks & some other birds the names of which I don’t know stutter around the place, too quick to let me take a photograph, adding a whiff of colour to the desolation.

One of many..

Stunning would be the only word that can describe this tomb & its surroundings in the middle of nowhere.

Mother bird, looking for grub for little nestlings

How to Reach : Take a walk from the Nizamuddin Railway Station. The place is 20 minutes walk away. The nearest Metro Station is JLN station, but that’s quite some distance away. The structure is situated near the back side of Humayun’s Tomb Complex (see http://pixels-memories.blogspot.in/2011/10/humayuns-tomb-new-delhi.html for more details & photographs about the Humayun's Tomb Complex) & opposite it & one can walk along the Complex boundary to reach it. 
Open : All days, sunrise to sunset
Entry Fee : Nil
Photography/Video Charges : Nil
Time required for sight seeing : 30 min


  1. NIce description.... N i loved d photos.... Brialliant work... :)

  2. can you mention the exact coordinates or mention it on google map.

  3. The coordinated would be (28.595911,77.25058)

  4. now this tomb is totally renovated and unable to identify, but locked in huge walls, all doors are bricked, i visited there before it was very peaceful moment, but now it is locked, lots of old devastated graves are around it, very terrifying experience for soft hearted person.

  5. Hi Amanjeet,

    Yes, it's sad that they've locked away all the monuments here. I was told it would be temporary till the conservation work is completed but now it's been over 4 years. Even the adjoining Batashewala tombs are out of bounds now. I think the conservation work here leaves a lot to be desired. The Neela Gumbad looks so forlorn without its multicolored tiles.

    I always found the area a bit eerie, especially near the Khanqah side, and felt thankful whenever there was an occasional Sufi or two around to talk to.