City Monument – Atgah Khan’s Tomb, H. Nizamuddin Basti
A secret resting place.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Although of stone, it looks so soft and gentle.
The tomb of Atgah Khan in central Delhi’s Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti shelters the memory of a Mughal-era noble who was murdered by a rival in Emperor Akbar’s court.
Encircled by multistoried shanties, the mausoleum’s 16th century aesthetics contrast sharply with the makeshift nature of these modern-day brick structures. The way is through a small courtyard that might be mistaken for a private residence.
Except for its marble dome, the red sandstone edifice is embellished with floral patterns and marble inlays of Islamic calligraphy – someone has scrawled ‘I love you’ below an inscribed verse.
A west-facing enclosure wall is left with remains of yellow, blue and green tiles; they impress upon the senses like recollections of a faded dream. Next to it is an arched courtyard; its slender flute-shaped columns have blackened with time.
Inside the dark chamber, the daylight enters through lattice screens. There are three graves; each is ornately inlaid with calligraphies and floral patterns.
Rarely visited by lovers of old buildings, the tomb’s forsaken state has infused its stones with a special tenderness. The place should stay a secret.
Where Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti, Near Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s Dargah Time Morning to Evening Nearest Metro Station Jangpura/Pragiti Maidan
A beautiful hideout