Ghiyas-ud-Din Tughlaq, the first ruler of the Tughlaq dynasty, was known for his love for architecture. He built the grand Tughlaqabad Fort in the 14th century, but he could not live there because of a curse by Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya. The southern side of the fort complex houses his tomb. While the fort is in ruins, his mausoleum still stands tall in a manicured lawn. The tomb has been preserved and maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The structure which was built in 1325 looks like a fortress with thick walls securing the complex. It is constructed in the middle of a lake (which is now dry) that separates the tomb from the Tughluqabad Fort. However, to reach the tomb from the fort, a 229 metre-long bridge was constructed. Somewhere in the 20th century, the causeway was pierced to construct the Mehruali-Badarpur road.
According to historians, the idea to construct the tomb came to Tughlaq after the death of his general Zafar Khan. “Khan died in a battle and his grave was constructed on an island in the middle of lake, facing the Tughlaqabad Fort. Its perfect location prompted the sultan to set up an enclosure and establish his own tomb inside,” said Sohail Hashmi, a historian and academician. Khan’s octagonal tomb is presently located in the north-west direction of the Tughlaq’s tomb and has a marble dome and sandstone slab over its ached door.
The tomb is built of red sandstone and white marble, which were commonly used in Islamic structures at that time. As one goes inside, there is a square tomb visible in the centre of a pentagonal enclosure with high walls. The square tomb has entrances on the north, east and south sides. Inside the tomb there are three graves. As per ASI officials, the central grave is known to be that of Tughlaq, and the other two belong to his son, Muhammad bin Tughlaq and wife, Makhdum-i-Jahan. However, some historians disagree on that.
“According to my observations, the first grave belongs to Tughlaq, the second houses his son and third one belongs to his son’s wife. If you measure properly, then the grave on the extreme right is actually constructed in the middle of a hall while the rest two came later and constructed towards the left side of the hall,” said Hashmi.
The tomb is surrounded by lush green corridors on all sides which add to the beauty of this place. “The complex also houses the office of ASI, and I think it is one of the reasons for its maintenance. Even in the month of June, the place looks lush green. Moreover, the two caretakers deployed at the site keep any trouble away,” said Amit Gupta, a resident of Sarita Vihar, who visits the place frequently with his family.
Another interesting thing about the place is the grave of Tughlaq’s dog. “As you cross the tomb’s entrance, you will notice a small corridor towards the left which houses a small grave believed to be where the sultan’s favourite dog was buried,” said one of the caretakers.
The entrance to the roof of the wall that encloses the tomb is closed but from the windows one can see the spectacular view of the Tughlaqabad fort as well as the Adilabad Fort in west.