Mubarak Shah Tomb and Other Tombs within the Complex
Mubarak Shah’s Tomb lies in Kotla Mubarakpur which is situated behind the posh area of South Extension Part I in South Delhi and a few kilometres away from the world renowned All India Institute of Medical Sciences. Currently, this Tomb can be approached via Local taxis and auto rickshaws only from the August Kranti Marg (Road) or from the main Ring Road that runs via the Gurudwara Road and Junction. The Metro link to South Delhi is still under construction and will be functional only by the end of the year.
Kotla Mubarakpur Complex which houses the Tomb of Mubarak Shah Sayyid was a medieval village and seen today as a converted upscale and posh locality in South Delhi, however, as you rewind back centuries ago, this town was once the city of the nobles ruled by Muiz-ud-din Mubarak Shah Sayyid, son of Khizr Khan of the Sayyid Dynasty who was the Governor of Punjab under the Imperial Courts of the Lodi Dynasty and Empire.
It is a fascinating historical fact as to how the Sayyid Dynasty came to power. History has that during the year 1413 AD; Muhammad Bin Tughlaq died which made Daulat Khan Lodi the successor of the Delhi Sultanate Throne. During that period, Khizr Khan who was the general or governor of Punjab under the rule of the Lodi dynasty captured the reign and imprisoned Daulat Khan Lodi on 28th May 1414. After ascending the Delhi Sultanate Throne, he established the Sayyid Dynasty which had three successors after his demise.
The Ancestry of Khizr Khan traces back to Prophet Muhammad as per the claims made by a Sufi Saint named Sayyid Jalal-ud-din Bukhara. He was earlier that governor general of Shah Rukh who was the 4th son of Timur Lane. He was also conferred with the title of ‘Raydt-i-Ala’ which means ‘Exalted Standards’ and was known to successfully unite Punjab and Delhi. He was an excellent ruler and administrator who could control the governors of Etawah, Mewat, Gwalior and several other feudal lords.
Khizr Khan fell seriously ill during one of his campaigns and had to return to Delhi after which he passed away on 20th May 1421, however, before his demise, he declared Mubarak Shah as his successor who took on the reigns seriously. He ruled fiercely but effectively and crushed the rebellious feudal lords. He was conferred as ‘Muiz-ud-din Mubarak Shah’ and also introduced coins in his name.
Mubarak Shah also tactfully invaded the domain of the feudal lords to capture revenue for his treasury. He also established a new city in November 1442 AD near the banks of the Yamuna River and named it ‘Mubarakabad’ after him which remains untraceable today, after it probably suffered the future reigns and the ravages of time. He was successful in most of his campaigns and after returning from Bhatinda post a successful battle, he thought of visiting his new city and stayed there awhile. During his stay in Mubarakabad, a few of his conspirators along with his Minister Sarvar-Ul-Mulk who was unhappy with him and several Hindu Courtiers successfully assassinated him while he was preparing for his evening prayers on 14th February 1443.
Sultan Mubarak Shah Sayyid did not have a son to succeed the Throne; hence, his next to kin and nephew named Muhammad Khan ascended the Delhi Sultanate Throne. Before his demise, he declared his son, Ala-ud-din Alam Shah of Badaun as the ruler of the Delhi Sultanate who, like his father, also proved to be ineffective and incompetent. On 19th April 1451, Ala-ud-din himself stepped down from the Throne and passed it to the hands of Bahlul Khan Lodhi which ended the rule of the Sayyid Dynasty after which he travelled back to Badaun where he lived up till his death in 1478 AD.
After Muiz-ud-din Mubarak Shah’s demise in 1434 AD, he was buried in Kotla Mubarakpur which was named after the Sultan in his honour. The Tomb of Mubarak Shah, constructed in 1434 AD, is known as one of the finest examples of the Sayyid Dynasty architectural Styles that depict octagonal shaped designs and also seen in the design of the Tomb of Adham Khan.
Mubarak Shah’s Tomb was once surrounded by wall that enclosed around an octagonal shaped courtyard that was once flanked with gates, however, today only the southern and western gates survive while the walls have disappeared. The entrance into the Tomb is survived by the southern gate only which invites you into an octagonal shaped Hall pierced with arched openings on three sides as the fourth side which is the western portion of the Hall is decorated with a ‘Mihrab’ showing the direction to pray.
Mubarak Shah’s Tomb is surrounded by a veranda that opens up to three entrances hence enclosing the Prayer Hall. Both the Hall and Veranda are supported by a strong prop at every corner while the low dome shaped structure is supported by a 16 sided bastion with spires in each corner while its ceiling is adorned with three tiers of inscriptions from the Holy Book of Quran. The spires are crowned by a beacon and ‘Chattris’ (also made in octagonal shapes) deck up the roof on each side. All these attributes gives the appearance of a pyramidal shaped structure to the Tomb. Towards the west of the Tomb is a Mosque where prayers used to be held during that era and today is survived by 2 x 5 alcoves flanked by arches that are supported over Pillars.
Darya Khan’s Tomb
Other Tombs belonging to the Lodi Dynasty also dots the Kotla Mubarakpur area within the Complex of Mubarak Shah’s Tomb and can be visited by tourists. One such Tomb belongs to Darya Khan Lohani which dates back to the 16th Century AD. Darya Khan was a Chief Justice Officer during the Bahlul Khan Lodhi reign and was appointed as an Advocate during the reign of Sikander Lodi Dynasty. Today, the Tomb of Darya Khan is seen only as a circular platform that sits over another round raised platform set in ruins but must have had a spectacular view centuries ago.
Bade Khan Ka Gumbad
Another impressive Tomb is known as the Bade Khan Ka Gumbad or the Tomb of Bade Khan that spans over an area of 240 Sq. ft. It has a central alcove flanked by three nooks in a row and each central nook is bigger than the other two. This is typical of the Lodi Dynasty architectural style that showcases octagonal shaped spires at all the four corners while the 12 pillared Chattris crown the four spires. The interior portions of the dome shaped Chattris are ornate with painted plaster adorned with an ornamental emblem in the centre.
Chote Khan Ka Gumbad
The Chote Khan Ka Gumbad or Tomb of Chote Khan lies next to Bade Khan’s Tomb and depicts similar architecture with a well preserved interior while the exterior walls has well maintained plasterwork carved intricately.
Kale Khan Ka Gumbad
Just adjacent to Chote Khan’s Tomb is the Kale Khan Ka Gumbad or the Tomb of Kale Khan which was built around 1481 AD. This date is a known fact as per evidence seen in an inscription carved on the Mihrab placed within the Tomb.
Bade Khan, Chote Khan and Kale Khan were Courtiers during the rule of Bahlul Khan Lodhi and sons of Darya Khan Lohani. A cenotaph lying 300 metres north of this Ring Road states that these Tombs are the earliest examples of the monuments constructed during the Lodi Dynasty era. Tourists and Visitors can view these Tombs free of cost and with no photography charges.