City Monument - Nicholson Cemetery, Kashmere Gate

City Monument – Nicholson Cemetery, Kashmere Gate

The next world.

[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]

It’s a mystery why guidebooks have been indifferent to the (deathly) charms of one of Delhi’s oldest British cemeteries. Guarded by a cross-shaped gateway, Nicholson Cemetery has a sloping, grassy landscape dotted with tombstones, some intricately carved, some stark and simple.

Neem, date and tamarind trees watch over like sentinels, while thick bougainvilleas, weighed down with flowers, shed pink petals over the graves of ‘dearly loved’ children and ‘beloved’ spouses.

The personal details of the departed are preceded by carefully chosen poems or Biblical verses. One tomb inscription reads: “Jesus said, weep not.”

Stone angels look over your shoulder as you try to decipher these engravings after sweeping away the dry leaves that cover them.

Some tombstones display curious symbols indicating the deceased’s profession, while many graves date from the 1857 uprising.

The cemetery’s most prominent grave is that of its namesake Brigadier General John Nicholson who was nicknamed “the lion of Punjab”. An Irish army officer in the British East India Company, Nicolson died of wounds received during the revolt. His tomb lies near the entrance, barricaded by an iron grill invaded by jasmine vines.

On the far side, towards the Ring Road, marigolds adorn the new graves of Indian Christians.

Where Near Kashmere Gate Bus Terminus Time Morning to Evening Nearest Metro Station Kashmere Gate

Weep not