November, 2020July 15, 2022
Tomb of Mirza Ghalib – The greatest poet rests in a simple grave
We all have read about him. We all know him and we all have grown up with his poems. Mirza Ghalib was one of the most influential and celebrated poets we have ever witnessed. Ghalib was and still synonym for Urdu poetry and his poems aren’t just limited within the frontiers of the country but they have broken the geographical barriers. His writings echo in every corner of the world. Such was the charm of Mirza Ghalib. This January (2020), I visited the tomb of Mirza Ghalib or Mazar-e-Ghalib and spent some time in shock.
Born as Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan in Akbarabad (present-day Agra), he is known for his Urdu and Persian writings. His writings speak about love and life. He married at the age of 13 with Umrao Begum (she belonged to Loharu). After marriage, he settled in Delhi. He described his marriage as the second imprisonment in one of his letters while he mentions life as the first confinement. Today, he rests in the Nizamuddin area. The tomb of Mirza Ghalib is mostly visited by literature or poetry lovers.
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I was surprised when I visited the Tomb of Mirza Ghalib
I grew up reading a lot about Mirza Ghalib. His couplets were often quoted by people around and when I started writing, I too got to learn about him. During the Jashn-e-Rekhta event of 2017, Neelesh Misra did storytelling on the life of Mirza Ghalib. I too wrote a small poem dedicated to Mirza Ghalib.
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However, when I visited the tomb of Mirza Ghalib, I was left surprised. I love visiting ancient, historic monuments. What I love about Delhi is that this city is full of such monuments and sites that contribute a lot to the culture and heritage. That day, I was on my Delhi expedition along with a friend whom I met on Instagram. Together, we first visited Old Fort. From there, we headed to Mazar-e—Ghalib.
I wasn’t expecting such a small monument dedicated to such a wonderful personality. Not only I but we all have known Mirza Ghalib all through our life and when I got to visit his grave, I was just in shock. I sat there on a bench and wondered how a man, who shook the world with his poetry, was made to rest in such an ordinary tomb. I have seen tombs of famous emperors, tombs of noblemen, courtmen, etc. They are massive, opulent, and are fine examples of architecture. On the other side, such a famous poet rests in a small place, surrounded by shops and neighboring locality.
This reminds me, no matter how long and influential is your life; ultimately, this is fate in the end. I was expecting a nice monument. There is another monument next to Mirza Ghalib’s tomb, Chausath Khamba 64 Pillars). This monument is a piece of architecture, made up of white marble with beautiful latticework. I had never heard of the name of Mirza Aziz Koka who built it and is buried here.
How to reach Mirza Ghalib Tomb?
Mazar-e-Ghalib is located in the Nizamuddin area. We took a walk from the main road where the cab dropped us. After passing through the busy lanes of the market and crowd, I spotted Mirza Ghalib Academy which is established by the government in honor of the poet. The tomb is located adjacent to it. While I was still figuring out the way to go inside, a flower-seller asked me to buy flowers for Ghalib’s grave.
Someone told us that the way to enter the tomb was through a big wooden gate which was located at a distance of a few meters. The wooden gate leads to an open hall with a well. Kids were playing cricket and some people were just sitting around. This place is known as Urs Mahal (if I am not wrong). From there, a gate leads to Chausath Khamba and an entrance from Chausath Khamba leads to the small, simple grave of Mizra Ghalib which is located on the Northern side. The nearest metro station should be Khan Market Metro Station.
The tomb was built in 1955
Mirza Ghalib was buried here after his death. The original site only had his grave with a stone structure over it. The entire site was later developed in 1955. The place looked clean and maintained. Probably someone has dedicated his time to cleaning the tomb. People come to pray, that may be the reason. Also, to my mind, the tomb is maintained by the Ghalib Academy which is just next to the tomb. I saw fresh flowers and incense sticks burning inside the tomb. There is a white marble plaque just opposite the tomb. The plaque has his poetry carved on it.
Agha Khan Trust for Culture along with ASI and MCD restored the monument in 2009 and gave it its present-day shape. Before that, the monument was easily visible from the market with low walls.
Timing and Ticket information for Mazar-e-Ghalib
The tomb of Mirza Ghalib remains open all day, all the hours. However, it is better to visit in the day hours only. You don’t have to pay anything to enter here. It is one of the monuments to visit without an entry ticket in Delhi.
Visiting and spending some time at the grave of Mirza Ghalib was a wonderful experience. I am yet to visit Mirza Ghalib ki Haveli which is located in Ballimaran in Old Delhi. Though I have been around there a couple of times but I didn’t get a chance to visit the haveli. The place was the last residence of Ghalib. Now it is a museum and heritage site.
It is said that Ghalib died in poverty. His writings reflect the pain of life and he has chronicled Old Delhi. He first visited the city when he was 7 and he lived for around 50 years in the city. He didn’t buy a home but moved from one to another on rent. He lived around Gali Qasim Jan.
Huye mar ke hum jo ruswa,
Huye kyun na gharq-e-dariya.
Na khabhi janazaa uthaa,
Na kahin mazaar hota.
(I was disgraced after death; oh why didn’t I drown in the sea? There would never have been a funeral or a tomb anywhere).
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I am a food & travel enthusiast, a music aficionado, poet, artist, and someone who loves to explore unexplored/off-beat places. I started this blog to share my food and travel journey.