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Notes on the Geography of Northern India: Nizamuddin, Lodi Gardens, and Safdarjung: Photo 7

world pictures Northern India: Nizamuddin, Lodi Gardens, and Safdarjung

The site almost at once became a popular burial ground, and having a tomb close to Nizamuddin's was a mark of high status. The roofed tomb on the left is that of Amir Khusrau, a close friend of Nizamuddin and who died a few months after him. Khusrao is described on an inscription added in 1530 as the "king of the kingdom of words." He was not only a poet of lasting fame but the founder of the ecstatic musical form known as qawwali. In front of his tomb are two lattice-screen enclosures. The larger one, on the left, holds the tomb of Muhammad Shah, the highly cultivated Mughal emperor who beheld the sack of Delhi at the hands of the Persian invader, Nadir Shah. Carr writes: "Few reigns have proved so disastrous to the Moghul Empire..." (p. 110).

The smaller enclosure holds the tomb of Jahanara Begum, the daughter of Shah Jahan. Siding with him rather than her brother Aurangzeb, she was confined for the rest of her life, which extended for 16 years beyond her father's. Carr translates the inscription on her tomb: "Let nothing but the green [grass] conceal my grave. The grass is the best covering for the tombs of the poor in spirit; the humble, the transitory Jahanara, the disciple of the holy men of Chist; the daughter of the Emperor Shah Jahan; may God illuminate his intentions. In the year 1093 {1682]" (Stephen, p. 109).

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