March 14, 2016

Quli Khan's Tomb - Delhi

Site Name: Quli Khan's Tomb
Site Type: Monument
Location:  Mehrauli Archaeology Park, Lado Serai, Mehrauli area, Delhi, India
Highlights: Unknown monument in Delhi

Nearest Railway Station: Delhi
Nearest Airport: Delhi
How to reach: Well connected by road, rail and air

Hotel: A lot of options are available within Delhi city
Restaurants: Many options and varieties across the city

Everyone knows about Taj Mahal in Agra. Few people know about Humayun's Tomb in Delhi. I wonder if anyone knows about Quli Khan's Tomb, which is also an astonishingly beautiful tomb. Delhi, the capital city of India, is famous for monuments. It has around 1300 monuments. Let us explore about this little known but extraordinary monument named Quli Khan's Tomb in this article. It is located in Mehrauli Archaeological Park near Qutb Minar. 


Who is Quli Khan? Akbar was the Mughal Emperor, who ruled the most part of India in the 16th century CE. Maham Anga, the wet nurse of Akbar, was often referred as the foster mother of Akbar. Quli Khan was the elder son of Maham Anga. 

Quli Khan had a yonger brother called Adham Khan, who was popular. Adham Khan was killed by Akbar. To know more details about his history and his tomb, click here
Although a lot more information about Adham Khan is found, hardly anything about Quli Khan is known. It is known that he was also serving as a general under Akbar. When did he die? What all the battles he fought? Who killed him? Else, did he have a natural death? Nothing is known. Forget that! It's not even known who built this tomb of Quli Khan? It is also not known. It is known that this tomb was built in the beginning of the 17th century CE. Nothing else is known about this monument or this person.

The monument is associated with another historical personality called Sir Thomas Metcalfe. He was posted as the British Agent at the courts of the last Mughal Emperors Akbar Shah II and Bahadur Shah II. Over the period, Metcalfe became very powerful and influential and the Mughals became weak. He was able to buy Quli Khan's Tomb from Akbar. He loved this place very much and converted this into a house. He made many additions to the monument. He dug up canals and built a boat house. He built servant quarters and many structures around the tomb. He was allegedly poisoned and killed by Bahadur Shah's Queen Zeenat Mahal in 1853 CE. 

Quli Khan's Tomb

People know about Qutb Minar. Thousands of people visit Qutb Minar everyday. Hardly anyone visits the nearby Mehrauli Archaeological Park. The Park has many monuments, most of them remain unknown and ignored. Quli Khan's Tomb is located in a corner, which is around 2 kms from the entrance. Hence, even those who visit the Park do not travel till this corner to visit this tomb.

The structure is octagonal in shape and is placed on high plinth. Its vibrant blue colored interior enhances the beauty of this tomb. The tomb is a part of a larger complex that is built in a multi layered manner.  Each side of the tomb has an arched niche and the alternate sides have the entrance built into the niche. The niche areas are covered by exquisite bands of Quranic calligraphy and floral patterns. The dome is surmounted by a lotus design.  

The entrance of the tomb is a small irregular structure. It is not part of the original tomb complex. It was built by Sir Thomas Metcalfe. He made many additions to this monument and even dug canals around the complex. He built a boat house, which is seen near the tomb even today. 

The Chattri built in the later Mughal style by Metcalfe stands near the tomb. It is also a stunning structure. (Muslim rulers built Chattris as ornamental additions for the magnificent tombs and other structures).

Happy travelling.

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