From the British Library
Painting by WILLIAM DANIELL, R.A. (1769-1837)
The Chausath Khamba, Nizamuddin, Delhi. This was painted in 1801
As can be seen there was no Urs Mahal or the compound wall in 19th century. The painting below shows some signs of other buildings and it is probably of a later date. The dome of Atghah Khan’s tomb can also be seen in this painting.
Watercolour of the Chaunsath Khambe (Pavilion of Sixty-four pillars) containing the tomb of A’zam Khan Kokah in Delhi and by a Delhi artist, c. 1820-25. Inscribed in Persian characters: ‘Naqshah i maqbarah i A’zam Khan Kokah i Humayun i padshah’ (Picture of the tomb of A’zam Khan Kokah [i.e.foster brother] of Emperor Humayun); in English: ‘The Tomb of the Royal Family.’
From library of Glasgow (Dougan 96 Item: 72)
“Albumen print photograph by Samuel Bourne of interior of the Chausath Khamba, or 64 Pillared Tomb, Delhi. The sun streams in from the left and the shadow pattern shows the lattice detail of a nearby, or surrounding, wall.”
Taken in 1865-66
Chausath Khamba , literally 64 pillars is the tomb of Aziz Kokaltash, the son of Atghah Khan, Emperor Akbar’s foster brother.
Atghah Khan was killed in a fit of jealousy by another of Akbar’s foster- brother, Adham Khan. Akbar, was so incensed by this crime that he had Adham Khan killed by throwing him of the ramparts of Agra Fort: twice to ensure he was truly dead.
Atghah Khan is buried in a beautiful masoleum very close to Chausath Khamba, which was vuilt on Akbar’s orders and supervised in all probability by the son.
There are many questions as to the peculiar shape of chausath khamba considering it was a mausoleum. However, this was not its primary purpose. It was built as an eclectic hall for gatherings, for family members who came to visit Hazrat Nizamuddin’s dargah and Atghah Khan’s tomb. Later Aziz Kokaltash and his wife were buried there in beautiful marble tombs.
The raised shape on a tomb is called qalam and denotes its the grave of a male.
The circular medallions normally contain the Suranic Ayat
“KULLO NAFSIN ZAYAKUL MAUT”
Every nafs has to taste death
This is a lady’s tomb as it has a flat takhti (slate) and not the qalam (pen) symbol on it. It is the widow of Aziz Kokaltash
The walls of the hall are covered by intricately carved marble screens or jaalis.
There are many others, probably family members buried in the compound.
The famous poet Ghalib is buried near it.
And seeing the drooping flowers on his grave I recalled his verse
Huye mar ke hum jo ruswa, huye kyun na garq-e-darya
Na kabhi jinaaza uthta, Na kahin mazaar hota
(This ignomy after death,why wasn’t I drowned in tge river
Nor would my coffin been lifted, nowhere my tomb would be)
It has been recently restored by Aga Khan Trust