November 16, 2012

Imam Zamin's Tomb, New Delhi

In about 1500 AD, during the reign of Sultan Sikandar Lodi (1489-1517 AD), a saint known as Muhammad Ali arrived from Turkestan & began living in Delhi. He came to be called as Imam Zamin (“Imam” literally translates to Islamic priest, perhaps the saint also occupied some position in the adjoining Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque, refer Pixelated Memories - Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque) & accumulated enough wealth to build himself a small tomb in a corner of the magnificent Qutb Complex (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). It is not clear why he was christened with this new name.

Zamin's Tomb

Standing next to the more famous Alai Darwaza, the tomb is a small square structure built in Delhi’s Lodi-style of architecture. It is surmounted by a sandstone dome that stands on two rows of kanguras (battlement like ornamentation on structures, supposed to look militaristic but is actually not). Twelve square pillars support the entire structure & the space between them is filled with intricate jalis (stone lattice work). 

Crafted for perfection

The tomb, built with white marble & red sandstone with its assortment of jalis houses not only the sarcophagus of the saint, but also a small mihrab (wall indicating the direction of Mecca, faced by Muslims when saying Namaz) for offering prayers. Elaborately carved in marble, the mihrab is a piece of art & contrasts with the brilliant orange roof of the tomb. 

Little wonder!!

Other adornments include floral medallions & stunning calligraphy at the door of the tomb, & the tomb also features small chajjas (roof projections to protect the person standing underneath from direct rain & harsh sunlight – an ingenious Indian architectural innovation). 

Mihrab secrets

The saint saw Delhi pass from the hands of the Lodi Dynasty to the Mughals under Babur, & when he died in 1539 AD Babur’s son Humayun was on throne & building his new capital. Zamin was buried in his tomb, which was simple elegance personified. 

The unique "ribbed" dome-roof of the tomb

Location : Qutb Complex, Mehrauli, New Delhi
Open : Sunrise to Sunset
Entrance fee : Indians - Rs 10, Foreigners - Rs 250
Photography charges : Nil
Video charges : Rs 25
Nearest Metro Station : Saket Metro Station & Qutb Minar Station are equidistant.
How to reach : Taxis, buses & autos can be availed from different parts of the city. The structures are quite a walk from the metro stations & one will have to take bus/auto from there on.
Time required for sightseeing : 30 min
Facilities available : Wheelchair access, Audio guides.
Relevant Links - 

  1. Pixelated Memories - Alai Darwaza
  2. Pixelated Memories - Qutb Complex
  3. Pixelated Memories - Qutb Minar
  4. Pixelated Memories - Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque


  1. Although I have been to Qutb complex I didnot enter the tomb as it looked a fairly simple structure compared to the other tombs there. & your post proves that I was right :P

  2. I still don't get what the "Kanguras" are??

    1. Hey Rodriguez welcome to my blog.
      If you look at Imam Zamin's Tomb, the dome rests on an octagonal base on top of the square roof of the enclosure. Both the octagonal base & the roof have red-colored projections. Those are called kanguras.

  3. Namaste from Canada :)
    Boht acchi photos li hain aapne :)