At the tomb of Razia Sultan | delhi | Hindustan Times
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At the tomb of Razia Sultan

At the end of a narrow, congested lane in Bulbuli Khana, beyond the Turkman Gate in the Walled City, a sharp turn leads to a brown stone plaque and a characteristic blue board of the ASI. It announces the monument behind the wall as protected by the ASI, reports Nivedita Khandekar.

delhi Updated: Sep 21, 2009 00:24 IST
Nivedita Khandekar

At the end of a narrow, congested lane in Bulbuli Khana, beyond the Turkman Gate in the Walled City, a sharp turn leads to a brown stone plaque and a characteristic blue board of the ASI. It announces the monument behind the wall as protected by the ASI.

Inside, there is a small courtyard, cramped by modern buildings double the height of the compound wall on all sides. In there rests the remains of Razia Sultan, the only woman to have ruled Delhi.

The state of the monument is deplorable. There are two black PVC tanks with pipes and taps, and a porta-cabin, where people stay.

A man, who identified himself as Touhid (he refused to give his full name), said: “This may be an ASI-protected monument, but we have been living here for many years now. We offer namaz here regularly five times a day.”

He claims the structure was not just a tomb but a mosque too because the west-side wall has a mihrab (a niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the qibla, the direction of the Kaaba).

There is a tin and fibre sheet shed above the wall with Islamic verses in oil paint. Things hang from notches nailed on wall. The place has fixed lights and fans.

Sohail Hashmi of Sahmat said: “The encroachment at the Razia Sultan monument is recent. It is barely ten years that people have started living there.”

ASI Superintendent Archaeologist K.K Muhammed said, “This (encroachment) has been there for many years. We are thinking of addressing such problems keeping in view the surrounding area.”