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A Little-Known Ancient Structure Dating Back To Sher Shah Suri's Time: Sayyid Yasin’s Tomb



The city of Delhi has seen a myriad of civilizations and cultures come and go across centuries. The wide canvas of history thus created over a relatively small region is perhaps why a lot of our heritage has been lost somewhere in the sands of time. The ruins interspersed across the city act as mute remnants, whispering tales of apathy and the days gone by. 

While the bigger monuments seem haughty and arrogant at times due to all the attention showered upon them, it’s sometimes in the smaller, little known remnants that one actually gets a perspective on all the past history within a modern metropolis.

The Exact Location

Located in Arab Ki Sarai (built by Hazi Begum as a residential complex for Persian artists brought in to build Humayun's Tomb), the tomb of Sayyid Yasin is located inside the premises of the modern day Industrial Training Institute (ITI) complex, a government institute for training in vocational courses. Dating back to 1547 AD during the reign of Islam Shah Suri, it’s a relatively small structure with a square layout and octagonal geometry. Surrounded by an octagonal garden, it serves as a prototype to Humayun's Tomb and other adjoining larger structures surrounding it. 

The Monument Itself

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The monument is a part of the complex containing Isa Khan Niyazi's Tomb, an Afghan noble in Sher Shah Suri's (father of Islam Shah Suri) court. Very few details are known about the history of the monument or its deceased occupant. Built in rubble masonry, most of the brackets and stones that support the pillars now lie dilapidated and damaged due to water seepage, coupled with the vegetation which is slowly eating away at the walls. 

The Evolution Of Indo-Islamic Architecture

On the other side of the institute lies a mosque from the Mughal era, in a similar state. The mihrab (niche) has some details still visible, particularly the calligraphy. Most of the roof is also badly scraped, though some traces of decorations are still visible. The construction style is typically oriented towards travellers, with defines sarai (inn) enclosures, a mosque and a well inside the complex, a trait found in very few monuments. The character is distinctly Persian; and looking at the two monuments together, one can study the evolution of Indo-Islamic architectural style. 

Seeking Permission To Enter

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Since the monument is located inside an educational institution, the guards might be reluctant to let you enter the premises, so it’s best to go on weekdays during office hours to avoid any disappointment. One can also take an appointment with the principal or ask for permission over the phone to be on the safe side. It’s about a 10 minute auto rickshaw ride away from Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, although one can include it in a full day's itinerary roaming around the heritage-rich area of Nizamuddin.

If you’re ever in the vicinity and have the urge to rack up bragging rights for knowing such an obscure monument - come drop by!

Location | Arab Ki Sarai Road, Nizamuddin East