Saturday, December 24, 2011

Monuments of Delhi - Safdarjung tomb

Sardarjung tomb

The outside pillars of the tomb
Safdarjung’s tomb is situated on the Aurobindo Marg, across the Lodi road at New Delhi. The tomb is dedicated to Safdarjung who was one of the most important political pillars of the waning Mughal dynasty. Having come to India from Persia (now Iran) in 1722, he acquired the Kingdom of Awadh through his sheer grit & machinations. He became an important ally as well as political adviser of the Mughal Emperor Muhamad Shah (A.D. 1719-1748 circa). For his services rendered, he was awarded the Governorship of Kashmir as well as the title ‘Safdarjung’ by Muhamad Shah. He played an very important role in the Delhi Court and was Wazir-ul-Mamalik-e-Hindustan designate as the Prime Minister of India.

One of the ornate jharokas
However, his importance got diminished after death of Muhamad Shah and was dismissed by his successor, Ahmad Shah Bahadur in 1753. But while traveling from Lucknow to Sultanpur, having unsuccessfully tried to usurp the Mughal throne he died in 1754. The mausoleum was built in his honour during by his son Shauja-ud-Daula.

A panoramic view of the tomb (under repair)
Safdarjung's tomb is set in the middle of a garden, which spreads over an area of 300 sq m. The garden of the tomb is laid down on the pattern of the Mughal Charbagh style i.e. water ways (large rectangular water tanks) emanating from the central dome on four directions. Whereas, one of the waterways lead to the ornate main gates, the remaining three lead to three pavilions known as "Moti Mahal" or the pearl palace, "Jangli Mahal" or the sylvan palace and "Badshah Pasand" or the emperor's favorite. The Safdarjung tomb was erected roughly on the pattern of Humayun's tomb. Safdarjung's tomb represents the last phase of the Mughal style of architecture. The tomb of Safdarjung was built in red sandstone and buff stone. The square central chamber of the mausoleum is surrounded by eight rooms all around. All the rooms, except the corner ones are rectangular in shape, the corner ones being octagonal. The dome of the tomb rises from a sixteen-sided base. The tomb is surrounded by four octagonal towers, one in each corner of the tomb hugging it. Just outside the main gate an old mosque is also situated where prayers are offered regularly.

Intricately designed first floor jharokas

Another view of the side pillars

Intricately carved pillar bases - signs of Hindu motifs?

Close-up of pillar base

Intricately sculpted roof supports

Geometric motifs on archways

Carved in red sandstone

The tomb

Hand crafted roofs

A view of the mosque outside the front gate

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