The Tombs of Adham Khan and Maham Anga
The Tombs of Adham Khan and Maham Anga lies at the entrance path of Mehrauli Village in South Delhi which is situated north of the busy Qutb-Mehrauli Road. It is actually situated just west of the enclosure of the ancient and fragmented city walls of Lal Kot which lies north of Qutb Minar Complex. The Tomb can be approached from any corner of Delhi via Local cabs and auto rickshaws however one can also take the Metro up till Central Secretariat Metro Station and further hire a rickshaw to arrive at this place.
The Tombs of Adham Khan and Maham Anga are popularly known as 'Bhul-bhulaiyan' which means a 'Maze' or 'Labyrinth'. Constructed in 1561 AD, today it remains as one of the well protected Monuments under the Archaeological Survey of India.
History tells that Adham Khan was once a general in the army of Mughal Emperor Akbar. He was also the younger son of the Emperor's foster mother and a wet nurse named Maham Anga whose character was depicted in the famous and partially fictional bollywood blockbuster 'Jodhaa Akbar'. The Emperor always considered him as his real brother rather than a foster brother and later got him married to Baqi Khan Baqlani's daughter. Adham Khan was also known for driving the beautiful Rani Roopmati (A Hindu Singer) to commit suicide.
During the month of November in the year 1561, Akbar's most favoured General named Shams-ud-Din Muhammad Ataga Khan replaced Munim Khan as the Prime Minister or 'Wakil' in the Imperial Courts of the Mughal Empire which angered Maham Anga. Adham Khan could not see his mother displeased and unhappy and on 16th May 1562, he along with a few of his goons marched into the Hall of Audience where Ataga Khan was addressing a crowd and murdered him. During this tumult, Akbar was awoken from his sleep and the Emperor rushed to seek an explanation from Adham Khan for this behaviour. Akbar threw him down with a strong blow of his fist as he was in absolute rage accompanied by no explanation from Adham Khan. The Emperor ordered his royal guards to throw Adham Khan down from a 40 feet high barricade of the Agra Fort. On seeing that he was still alive, Adham Khan was again lifted and thrown from the same barricade 40 feet down to ground level where he died instantly.
Emperor Akbar related the news of Adham Khan's death to Maham Anga himself who did not question about this incident and his actions but only replied to Akbar that he had done well. Maham Anga went into mourning, grief and deep mental depression and eventually passed away forty days after her son's sudden demise. Akbar sent the bodies of Maham Anga and Adham Khan to Delhi with complete honour, rituals and respect where the Emperor built a Tomb for Adham Khan and buried Maham Anga next to her son.
The Tombs of Adham Khan and Maham Anga lie within the enclosures of an octagonal shaped wall flanked by low towers at each corner. The Chamber is also Octagonal in shape covered with a dome shaped roof that depicts the typical Sur Dynasty, Lodi Dynasty and Sayyid Dynasty (which the Mughals termed as traitors) style of architecture. Since, both were considered as traitors, Akbar probably had their Tombs built in a style seen in most of the monuments built by these previous Dynasties during the early 14th Century AD. The Tomb lies on a raised platform and is enclosed by a veranda that has three semi circle openings on each side with the absence of eaves under their parapets. Many visitors often lose their way through its multiple passages or corridors and thick walls and hence the name 'Bhul-bhulaiyan' or 'Maze' originated owning to its structure.
A British Officer named Blake who was a part of the Bengal Civil Services converted the Tomb into his private residential bungalow sometime during the 1830s. He, in fact, removed the Graves in order to make way for the Dining Hall. After the demise of Blake, the Bungalow was still used as a British Rest house and later was rather misused as a Police Station and then a Post Office. Later, Lord Curzon had the Bungalow vacated and restored the Area and Grave of Adham Khan back into its original position which lies under the site just below the main Central Dome of the Octagonal Chamber. Though the Grave of Maham Anga could not be restored, today, the area next to the grave of Adham Khan is still marked as the final resting place of Maham Anga despite the absence of her stone grave.
Tourists and Visitors can enjoy a view of this amazing piece of architectural Labyrinth or Adham Khan's Tomb on all days from mornings up till evenings with free entry and no photography or video filming charges.