Najaf Khan’s Tomb covers a vast area but is easy to miss. Located just opposite the Safdarjung Airport and very near to the Jor Bagh Metro Station, the tomb of Najaf Khan is mostly surrounded by residential complexes. But once you locate the place, and move past the partially destroyed gate, it opens up an entirely different world! The tomb is a square, one-storeyed structure in the middle of the compound. A well-built path leads one from the gate to the main tomb. But what’s more enticing are the lush green lawns dotted by numerous trees.
The history of Mirza Najaf Khan, who is buried here, is pretty interesting. He was actually an adventurer (wow!) from Persia who reached India and joined the Mughal court of Muhammad Shah and then Shah Alam II in the 18th century. While he had royal blood in his veins, he was down on luck in his own land as his family was deposed from the throne. Nevertheless, he found acceptance in India and became a commander in the Mughal army. He was a part of some major defeats like the Battle of Buxar too, but this encouraged him to modernize the Mughal army by importing western ideas and reforms. However, after his death in 1782, the decline of the Mughal reign started soon enough.
Originally, the compound was built following the style of other typical Mughal gardens with the tomb being the focal point and the entire compound hidden by stone walls with four entry points on all four sides. Currently, parts of the walls and the gates are in a partially ruined state.
The tomb itself is built of red sandstone like many other monuments in Delhi, on a slightly elevated platform and is somewhat peculiar in design as it lacks the typical dome-shaped structure of most other mausoleums in Delhi. The doors of the tomb mostly remain locked but one can peek through the grills and see the inner chambers. Apart from Najaf Khan, his daughter is also buried here. There are staircases to climb up to the roof too but again, the entryways are mostly locked.
While the tomb itself is not in that great a shape, the compound is well-maintained with manicured lawns. People mostly use it for relaxation and an occasional game of baddy and the ruins of the tomb somewhat pale in comparison to its surroundings. One can spend quiet time pondering over the lost glory of the monument while breathing in the fresh air of the garden.
The best way to visit the tomb is to reach the Jor Bagh Metro Station on the Yellow Line and walk southwards from there. After crossing the Safdarjung Airport, take a left turn and walk for a couple of minutes to reach the Najaf Khan Road and take a right turn to finally arrive at the tomb and voila - let the exploring begin!
This place is a relatively lesser-known slice of Delhi that your friends wouldn’t even know about! Go explore a hitherto-untouched part of your city.