Tomb of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq and Family
The Tomb of Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq is situated south of the Tughlaqabad Fort in New Delhi and easily accessible from South Delhi and Khanpur area of Delhi. Tourists and Visitors can hire local cabs and auto rickshaws to arrive at this place, however, one will need to walk through a winding path to actually get into the Fort area. Detailed information can be attained from the Archaeological Survey of India Ticket Counter at the entrance point.
The Fort was constructed by Ferozshah Tughlaq who was the ruler of the Tughlaq Dynasty between 1320 AD and 1325 AD. A short lived reigned during which he also constructed the site for his own Tomb. Formerly named as Ghiyath-Al-Din Tughlaq, he was the first Sultan to establish the Tughlaq Dynasty and built his city in Delhi named ‘Tughlaqabad’ also known as the third medieval city of Delhi.
The Fort lies on the south-eastern end of Qutb Complex and was originally placed on an artificial lake that separated the Fort from the Tomb site. The Sultan had also constructed a causeway measuring 229 metres long that was supported by 26 piers and arches and crossed over the artificial lake connecting his Tomb with his Fort. The lake or water reservoir is now dry and the causeway bridge was broken off to accommodate a road which today runs between the Fort and the Tomb site. This architectural style of construction is still considered as an imagery paradise for all future architects who were inspired and imitated the designs seen in a few monuments belonging to the Mughal era. One fine example of such an imitation is seen within Lodi Gardens known as ‘Athpula’ which is a stone bridge supported by piers and arches that connects to Sikander Lodi’s Tomb.
The Tomb of Ghiyas-us-din Tughlaq was constructed roughly in the shape of a pentagon like structure with an elaborately decorated and a strategically limp imposing entrance. The pentagon shaped like plan is guarded with parapet walls that support massive cone-shaped bastions at every intersection. The borderline walls are inclined inward and stand tall at a height of 11.75 meters seen with continuous battlements furnish with crenels. The arch shaped corridors and concave chambers stretch along the interiors of the courts borderline wall.
Within the Court and diagonally placed is the Tomb of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq seen as a square shaped rubble like stonework structure with the absence of any decorations or carvings on its exterior portion, however, the interior is overlaid with red sandstone and a decorative white marble. Despite its massive walls looking battered and bruised, the exterior portion of the Tomb measures 18.74 metres long while the interior portion measures 11.74 metres long that culminates to a total height of 24.4 metres seen sloping at a 75 degree angle.
The interior diameter of the Tomb measures 10.41 metres while the exterior diameter measures 13.41 metres and it is dressed with a pointed dome that rests on the intersection of small arched corners. The Dome is crowned with an ‘amla’ or ‘melon’ and ‘kalash’ or ‘vase’ pinnacles and hence depicts Hindu architectural influences as seen in Hindu Temples across Delhi. The northern, southern and eastern walls of the Tomb showcases horse-shoe shaped arched openings decorated with a marble band framing the base of the arches and spearhead shaped extrusions on its surface flanked by a hollow niche on either side while the western portion of the wall houses a Mihrab.
The Tomb houses three tombstones with the absence of the marble covered Mihrab, plasterwork and any decorations. Other than the Tomb of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq or Ghiyath-Al-din, the Tomb structure also houses the graves of his second son, Sultan Muhammad Adil Tughlaq Shah, who died in 1351 AD and his wife, Begam Makhdima Jehan.
After visiting this area, one will definitely conclude that the Tomb of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq was a fairly simple planned structure more like the Tomb of a warrior seen with sloping red sandstone walls typical of the Tughlaq style of architecture. The arched gateways are very simple yet beautifully decorated white marble and latticework. The dome made of white marble is visually striking and does allow for a few arched borders, edges decorated with lotus bud motifs, impressive ceilings and screens carved with crossed strips arranged in a diagonal pattern of open spaces.
As you leave the Tomb entrance, you will notice a small corridor towards the left which houses a small grave believed to be where the Sultan’s favourite dog was buried and not a common act amongst the Muslim community and considered unclean.
Another octagonal shaped Tomb is seen on the northern end of the Tomb of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq which has an inscription on a slab fixed to its southern door that reads that it was the grave of Zafar Khan, an unknown person. The only fact known is that, the grave of Zafar Khan existed even before the demise of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq and this is what inspired him to construct his own Tomb next to his Fort. Tourists and visitors can also enjoy a spectacular view of the Tughlaqabad Fort as well as the Adilabad Fort from the Roof of the walls that encloses the Tomb of Sultan Ghiyath-Al-Din.