Standing Stalwart Atop a Rugged Hill, Delhi's Azim Khan Tomb is One Slice of History You Need to Sample
A Gem of Delhi
Sometimes we fail to see things that are in front of our eyes. We look for the exotic and elusive while ignoring the treasures that lie in front of us. Azim Khan’s tomb is one such monument in South Delhi. It is situated at the top of a hillock and so is visible from miles away which is in stark contrast with most other structures dotted around Delhi. It can of course be considered a part of the Mehrauli Archaeological Park monuments but it is located on the other side of the main road at a distance and so is forgotten during normal excursions.
Who was Azim Khan Anyway?
Now, this is the tricky part. It is not certain who built it and different records attribute it to either Azim Khan or Akbar Khan. However it doesn’t really matter because no concrete information is available about either of them. It is certain though that it was a Mughal era tomb from the 17th century, most probably built during Aurangzeb’s reign. So, it is newer than the Mehrauli monuments, which also explains its relative isolation. There are a couple of smaller tombs at the compound too and according to the ASI caretaker, they belong to his wife and daughter.
A Bird’s Eye View
Majestically situated atop a rock, Azim Khan’s tomb dominates the entrance to the Mehrauli bypass. The square-domed tomb stands on a dressed stone plinth on a rocky mound. It can be entered through a doorway to the north. The gravestone has also disappeared, thus making it more difficult to ascertain the identity. The structure is protected with a coating of plaster, decorated with incised work and consists of features like finials on the domes and kangura patterns at the parapet level.
Thankfully the authorities have renovated the structure of late and the stairs going to the top of the hill is well maintained. One can also go inside the tom and climb the dark, narrow, staircase to reach the top half of the dome. This is the best way to have a clear view of the Mehrauli area from a height.
You can spot the Qutub Minar or the giant Mahavira statue of Ahimsa Sthal easily from a distance along with myriad of other structures that surround the area. Since you can no longer climb up the Qutub, this is the best possible top view of it. ASI has employed a guard who shows people around (and expects a little tip too).
Locating the Tomb
While it is easily visible, the entrance may be confusing to find. It lies by the side of the Ahimsa Sthal on Anuvrat Marg, not very far from the Qutub Area. But the main entrance is not on this side. Rather, you should take the Mehrauli Badarpur Road to locate the small road lying opposite the Lado Sarai crossing. This road is covered with thick vegetation which finally takes you to the main entry point from where you need to climb the stairs.
Indulge in some quality quiet time by strolling around the grounds and gazing upon this once-resplendent edifice of the Mughal era!