The Tomb of Atgah Khan, Delhi

The Tomb of Atgah Khan: A Monument of Mughal Era

Location: Nizamuddin Basti, New Delhi

Among the unsung forts of Delhi, yet another ornate structure that calls for attention is the tomb of Atgah Khan. Even though Atgah Khan had an important role to play in history, not many of us are aware about who this noble man was. To begin with, Shamsuddin Muhammad Atgah Khan was the foster-father and chief advisor of the Mughal emperor Jallaluddin Akbar. He was the husband of one of the wet nurses of Akbar who nurtured him after the death of Humayun. Atgah Khan was brutally murdered by Akbar’s foster brother, Adham Khan, the son of the other wet nurse of the emperor.

The tomb of Atgah Khan shelters the memories of this loyal and noble man who was a father-figure in Akbar’s life. Aggrieved by the death of Atgah Khan, Akbar ordered the construction of a tomb for him right next to the Dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin. Built by Atgah Khan’s son, Mirza Aziz Kolkaltash, the tomb was completed in the year 1566-67. A magnificent mausoleum made up of red sandstone and exquisite marble was commissioned inside the Dargah. This medium-sized square tomb is one of the most beautiful creations by the Mughal architects.

Keeping in mind the importance of the man for whom the tomb was constructed, the monument has been finely decorated to make it as beautiful as possible. The red sandstone walls have been embellished with various patterns and calligraphy of verses from the Quran. The marble dome is covered with red and blue stones forming unique designs. There is a wooden door on one side which marks the entrance to the tomb while the other sides have jalis that offer a view of the interiors. The interiors have been carved with painted plaster and coloured tiles. Inside the tomb are the peacefully lying graves of Atgah Khan, his wife, and his daughter.

Even though the tomb of Atgah Khan still remains intact, it is obvious that the monument is crying for protection and care. It is disheartening to see this architectural heritage of India being ignored carelessly.

Those who have visited the Daragh of Hazrat Nizamuddin must have come across this tomb but of course not known what it was. Now that you know about this flamboyant monument, make sure you visit this place at least once!

Timing: Morning to evening

Entry: Not allowed inside the tomb.

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