City Monument – Unknown Tomb, Mathura Road Graveyard
The god of small things.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
In a city of formidable-looking monuments raised by megalomaniac despots, it is still possible to find beauty in small, obscure relics.
The unknown tomb lies in a graveyard near Mathura Road in Central Delhi.
The dead are no longer buried in this Mughal-era cemetery.
Situated at a distance from other ruined graves, the crumbling tomb is bathed in solitude. Cracked lines have made boundary-less maps across its aspect.
The partially damaged block of stone evokes more feeling than the adjacent tomb of Mughal emperor Humayun, which has fountains, gardens, tourists, and a grand dome.
A sanctuary to the area’s insects, its stone surface nurture plants. An earthen pot placed at one corner of the grave is regularly replenished with water. Bees land to quench the thirst. Somebody daily scatters rice grains on the grave.
Although ringed by an unused mosque and a rugged garden where boys play cricket, the grave seems to be absorbed solely in preserving its connection to the person buried underneath.
The illusion fades as a bird descends to feed on the rice. Then this shrine to death becomes an abode of life.
Where Near Humayun’s Tomb ticked window, Mathura Road Nearest Metro Station Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium/Khan Market Best Time Evening