December, 2020July 15, 2022
Tomb of Azim Khan – A Mughal General who was titled Akbar
Sometimes, we come across such places that ignite the flames of curiosity but when we try to dig out information about them; we usually don’t find much. Delhi is home to such monuments. It was my first time visiting one of such monuments after lockdown, the tomb of Azim Khan. I visited it twice, before lockdown and after lockdown, but every time I had to come back with very little or almost no information about it. Tomb of Azim Khan as the name says is a tomb of a person named Azim Khan. Now, who was Azim Khan? Historians have put different theories and that’s the only information to believe.
Mughal dynasty was the longest and strongest in India. During its regime, the country saw extreme violence, construction of world-class, beautiful monuments, and whatnot. Many of the monuments built during that time are still standing today but some of the monuments couldn’t survive. Though there are monuments which are standing in ruined or almost ruined conditions and not much is known about them. I have visited Qutub Minar thrice and every time I visited this minaret, a monument sitting on a rocky platform caught my attention. It was this year’s January when I got to visit the tomb of Azim Khan for the first time, that greyish blackish monument which I used to see while going to Qutub Minar via Mehrauli – Gurgaon road. I visited it again on December 3.
Not much is known about the history of Tomb of Azim Khan
So, as I mentioned earlier, there aren’t enough resources that can tell about the history of Azim Khan’s tomb. Whatever I could dip out after spending some time online, it was a little confusing and there’s always a sense of doubt. Yet, there has to be something to focus and that’s what I had done. In most of the blogs and websites that I visited, it has been mentioned that Azim Khan was a general in the Mughal army during Akbar’s rule and that Akbar titled him as Akbar meaning magnificent. Thus, he was also known as Akbar Khan though I don’t know if it is true or not.
Read Here – Bijai Mandal Jahanpanah
Adham Khan was general during Akbar’s regime. Akbar killed him on charges of betrayal as he killed Atagah Khan. Adham Khan’s tomb is located in Mehrauli. So, probably, after killing Adham Khan, Akbar appointed Azim Khan as the general. Well, maybe or may not be. When Akbar sent Adham Khan to capture Malwa which was ruled over by Baz Bahadur, Adham Khan not only captured Malwa but also killed everyone and captured all the ladies and his ruthlessness concerned Akbar. Thus, Akbar proceeded to Malwa to stop Adham Khan and Azim Khan led the troop. This is where he comes into the picture. He defeated Adham Khan and as per the records, he was given the title Akbar meaning magnificent though some historians state the meaning of Azim was magnificent.
Sufi Saint Salim Chishti blessed Akbar and his son was born whom he named Salim in the honor of the Sufi Saint. If the records are to be believed, Saint Salim Chishti and Akbar met on the hill in Agra. The emperor later built the Saint’s tomb in his new capital city Fatehpur Sikri. When Akbar died, Azim Khan continued to be the Mughal court’s nobleman to Jahangir and served. Later, he became a devotee of Hazrat Nizamuddin. Legends have it that the Sufi saint appeared in Azim Khan’s dreams and asked him to give up the path of violence. Thus, he gave up everything following the teachings of the Sufi Saint. He became spiritual and left everything.
People would come to Azim Khan to seek guidance. He would tell them the solution. He used to do penance and he had a hard time dealing with the situation where he was surrounded by people. Thus, he built himself a residence at the top of a hill. Back then, it was hard to climb the hill where today Azim Khan’s tomb is based. He himself got this tomb or residence built on the top of a hill so that people could be prevented and he would stay in solace. Only a few were able to reach the top.
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When the British turned Azim Khan’s tomb into a party house
Initially, the British too did a lot of damage to the monuments and it was at the time of Lord Curzon that the monuments were ordered to be restored. So, when the British occupied this tomb, the grave was removed. Tomb of Azim Khan was used mostly for drinking, drugs, and debauchery. The same fate was given to Adham Khan’s tomb. There too, the British removed the grave and used it as a personal residence. Azim Khan’s tomb has two graves outside the main monument. One of the graves is smaller and one is bigger as compared to each other. I have no idea to whom these graves belong.
Read Here – Qutub Minar in the Night
Architecture of Tomb of Azim Khan
Just like any other Mughal tomb, this tomb is also square in shape. A peculiar feature that is intriguing is that it is constructed on a rocky plinth and is raised above the ground. Thus, it is easily visible from the road and one can get a 306-degree panoramic view of the surrounding areas such as Mehrauli, Lado Sarai, etc. You can even see the tomb of Quli Khan and Tomb of Adham Khan from here and no doubt, Qutub Minar.
A large-sized bulbous dome is placed on the top of the tomb on an octagonal drum. You will see turrets and kangooras on the drum. The plastered façade of the tomb is decorated with stucco and incised plaster. The base of the tomb is constructed with rubble masonry. Lime mortar plaster and lakhori bricks are used in construction. Delhi quartzite stones are used to build the pillars. For plinth and lintel level, red sandstone is used. The main entrance of the tomb is built using corbel arch technique.
The Tomb of Azim Khan has three gates and all of them have been sealed with nut bolts to avoid any damage to the property. You can see the plaster from the walls have been scraped off and damage to the walls is easily visible. People even climb at the top sit. Some notorious adults have even carved out names on the walls and even on the dome at the top which is clearly visible. The walls inside too have been damaged with initials carved on them.
Renovation by Archaeological Survey of India
The monument was renovated before Commonwealth Games held in Delhi. ASI built a stairway leading to the tomb. Before that, probably there was no proper stairway and one had to climb the rocky path to reach the tomb. The tomb is surrounded by dense forest and not many people visit it. Thus, it stays in isolation most of the time. ASI has appointed a security guard here. I had a word with him and asked if there were any facilities provided by the government body. The security guard has no proper sitting place, no water or washroom facilities have been given. He brings his own water bottle.
How to reach Azim Khan’s Tomb? Ticket and Timing Information
The tomb is located near Mehrauli Archaeological Park near Ahinsa Sthal which is clearly visible from the tomb. A path from Sir Aurbindo Mark leads to the tomb towards Lado Sarai’s Shamshan Ghat. You can easily reach there by walking or by two-wheeler vehicle. You don’t have to pay anything to enter the tomb. Tomb of Azim Khan is among the monuments in Delhi where you can visit without an entry ticket. You can visit the tomb from sunrise to sunset. I am not sure if there is an exact schedule of the tomb.
Delhi has around 1300 monuments, big and small, famous and neglected. I may not be wrong if I say that this monument is almost a neglected one. It is also a fact that not every monument gets to be the mainstream one and not every monument contributes to commercial tourism. But the monuments which have been neglected and left abandoned, surely add a lot to the culture and history of the area. No doubt, tomb of Azim Khan may not have a bright future, but it must have had a worthy past.
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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.