Chinmaye

Sultan Garhi Tomb


Perhaps the first Islamic tomb monument in India. The only tombs built before this one were in Kutch according to the ASI book on Delhi. This tomb looks like a small fortress from outside with collonade creating outer line and four domed bastions in each corner. This monument is on the Mehrauli-Mahipalpur road, about 8km east of Mehrauli.

Sultan Garhi tomb

This tomb was built in 1231 CE by Shamsuddin Iltutmish for his son who died fighting the war for his father near Lakhnauti in 1229 CE. His name was Prince Nasiruddin Mahmud and he was the heir apparent to Sultan Iltutmish. According to a story (quoted by Rana Safavi in Where Stones Speak) the prince was a humble man and felt that he was not worthy of a tomb and asked his father to bury him in a pit. To honour his wish a cave basement was built and it was covered by an octagonal platform. Even today people of different faiths come here to pay respect to the spirit of this tomb. Some consider him baba, some call him a auliya. The local custom for all the newly wed brides is to perform a puja at the tomb.

The octagonal chamber of the tomb

Exactly like the Quwat-Ul-Islam mosque, columns and beams of the local temples were taken and used for the construction of this tomb. ASI found sculpted lintels suggesting that there was a 7-8th century temple at the location. When I entered the crypt or the ghar, the ambiance was surreal.

Inside the chamber – where people pray

The architecture of this tomb fortress is unique. As per historic records the tomb was in state of neglect and was repaired by Firuz Shah Tughlaq (1351-88) and the marble addition with Quranic inscriptions on the entry gate is from the Tughlaq restoration effort. The corridors were used as Madarasa or college. Richly decorated marble Mihrab can seen on the western side.

There are few more rubble structures in the locality.. some from later Mughal period too. There were two more tombs in the area – Ruknuddin Firuz Shah and Muizuddin Bahram Shah.

This location is not within the city but if you have some time before your flight out of Delhi or some time to kill after you land in Delhi… it is a good detour to explore.

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