Sunday, June 23, 2013

The tomb of Kamali Jamali and other places, an amazing discovery!

Jamali was a Sufi saint during the Lodhis and upto the days of Humayun (late 15th century to early 16th century) and was also a member of the royal court. Of Kamali, nothing is known. The tomb is in a very small rectangular space, and the ceiling and the walls are entirely covered in painted patterns in blue, white and rose, stucco inlaid with coloured tiles. There is a mosque adjoining the tomb
It is amazing that the wonderful artwork that used to be in almost all tombs of royalty and other worthies has survived only in the tomb of a sufi saint! In order to keep the treasure secure, the tomb is always kept under lock and key, including the enclosure.
The ceiling is so richly painted that it looks like a Persian carpet and I am sure this is a treasure indeed. I have actually, rarely come across such a treasure in my wanderings, never knew of its existence and was so happy to be almost breathless with delight!
Although this is near the Qutb Minar, which is a world heritage site, there are almost no visitors or tourists. But the ASI has cleared up the overgrowth and carried out some excavations also in the area, which has revealed several other notable remains.
This is what remains of the tomb of Sultan Ghiyas uddin Balban, open to the elements. As was his reign, full of strife, warfare and uncertainties ..
This an enclosed tomb, of whom, no one knows, near a waterfall and enclosing an octagonal tomb
The tomb of Mohammad Quli Khan was converted into Dilkhusa, a resort by Thomas Metcalfe for use during the rainy season, He was the company's agent during the final days of the Mughal dynasty  who used to live in Metcalfe House at the outskirts of Delhi where he collected a large number of memorabilia. Metcalfe House was sacked by the Sepoys during the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. He laid out platforms, water courses and pavilions and a boathouse outside the Dilkusa, so it appears that the surroundings were actually a lake, fed by natural springs most of which have been choked by surrounding construction
View of the remains of the paintings inside the tomb of Quli Khan
.. and the boathouse!

 This area was quite clearly an important place during the Sultanate period, before the Mughals and the excavations clearly show internal paths, houses and courtyards. There was also plenty of water naturally available to sustain the civilization. 
Before we close, a view of the Mandi mosque nearby and its gateway ..
Glory is fleeting, obscurity is forever! (Napoleon)


  1. What a wealth of beauty and human history to stumble upon. Amazing the artistic and lavish construction in days before cranes and heavy equipment. Beautiful. I especially love your banner photo which is just so beautiful. Was that taken in the same area or somewhere else?

  2. Hi Soumyendu,

    I love your description of the ceiling painting as resembling a Persian carpet! This area (and many that you visit) looks like an archeological treasure. Are all of the ASI sties open to the general public? I'm enjoying reading about—and viewing pictures of—India's incredible history!

    1. Almost all places are open to the public Rita but I wish the ASI extended its reach to cover so many relics that have never been conserved, even though they are doing some good work. The tomb of Begum Samroo, a Christian queen close to some later Mughal emperor is a case in point, close to being eaten up by the development engine.

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