Isha Khan’s Tomb: A Grand Octagonal Stunner

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Isha Khan’s Tomb read about it in my history class, but I never had a chance to visit it. Therefore this winter, I decided to explore most of the monuments of Delhi. The vivid description of the Mughal period in history books always transported me to that era. Moreover, visiting a memorial, walking along the vast corridors, and gaping at the intricate designs all fascinate me back to those eras. Morning roads were empty, and the silence of the hour was pleasant.

Isha Khan's Tomb: A Grand Octagonal Stunner
Entrance to the tomb

While nearing Humayun Tomb Complex, I saw a historical structure right in the middle of the traffic square at the intersection. It caught my attention, so I read the signboard; it was written Sabz Burj. Ironically, it’s the most candidly located yet the least known heritage monument in Delhi. Hence I started to google. It’s not open to the public. Sabz Burj translates to Green Dome; interestingly, the dome isn’t green. This happened during the restoration when the original green tiles were mistakenly changed to blue tiles. Hence the structure is now named Neeli Chattri (Blue Umbrella). This is funny!

Isha Khan's Tomb: A Grand Octagonal Stunner
Neeli Chattri As renamed

The old pictures on the internet show the 16th-century octagonal tomb with a beautiful blue dome used as a police station during British rule. And is the first example of Mughal architecture in the Timurid style. However, the purpose of construction could be more apparent. Since is no grave inside and no one has an idea who commissioned it. I admired it from a distance & drove away.

Isha Khan's Tomb: A Grand Octagonal Stunner
Sabz Burj

It was around 9.45 am when I reached. And there were hardly any people around. Hence, I bought the tickets from the counter & entered the heritage complex. On the right side was Isha Khan’s Tomb, and straight ahead was Humayun’s Tomb. I walked towards Isha Khan’s Tomb; near the entrance, I saw a magnificent piece of architecture that had not pre-dated Humayun’s Tomb by two decades. The tomb culminated in an architectural style used during the early 15-16th centuries in the Sayyid and Lodi dynasties. The octagonal enclosed tomb complex with walls, Mosque, and gateway remains intact.

Isha Khan's Tomb: A Grand Octagonal Stunner
Isha Khan’s Tomb

As I walked around, I saw a Persian inscription on a slab inside Isa Khan Tomb, which says, This tomb, which is an asylum of paradise, was built during the reign of Islam Shah-by Masnad Ali Isa Khan.” It means Isa Khan built his tomb his entire life since he died at the age of 95 yrs. Isa Khan was a minister of the famous Sher Shah Suri, the founder of the Sur dynasty. After Sher Shah’s death, he continued to serve under his son. 

Isha Khan's Tomb: A Grand Octagonal Stunner
The surrounding the tomb

Isa Khan’s Tomb is octagonal, with impressive latticework, canopies and glazed tiles. In contrast, I was walking around the tomb and marvelling at the frescoes, geometric patterns and calligraphy. The seven walls of the tomb contain intricate lattice stonework, while the Western wall has a Mihrab. A wide verandah, approachable by a flight of stairs, surrounds the tomb. 

Isha Khan's Tomb: A Grand Octagonal Stunner
Lattice Work

Each of the eight sides consists of triple-arched entrances decorated with blue, yellow and green glazed tiles. Each corner of the octagon is marked with slender tapering pillars rising above the roof, giving it a minaret-like appearance—the top containing the enormous central dome crowned with an inverted lotus. The roof also includes 8 Chattris on each of the eight sides.

Isha Khan's Tomb: A Grand Octagonal Stunner
Inside the Tomb

The interior contains six graves, and nothing much is known about the graves. And among them, it is difficult to spot the grave of Isa Khan. But what amazed me was at interiors and fresco work of Isa Khan’s Tomb, especially the circular ceiling.

Isha Khan's Tomb: A Grand Octagonal Stunner
Frescos on Ceiling

Across the tomb lies a mosque known as Isa Khan’s Mosque, built along with the grave. The Mosque was approached through three arched entrances and was decorated with blue, green and yellow glazed tiles. Along with floral and geometric patterns and calligraphy. I climbed the stairs to see the central arch was more significant than the two side arches. And it is much grander as arches were flanked by red sandstone. I walked further in to see the central arch leads to a main chamber with an elaborately decorated Mihrab on the western wall. The central section is also crowned with a large dome.

Isha Khan's Tomb: A Grand Octagonal Stunner
The Mosque

The red colour architecture on the white ceiling was so beautiful. The painting speaks loudly about the era of craftsmanship. The pictures below can justify my feelings. Moreover, It is believed that Bahadur Shah Zafar had taken refuge in this tomb with his three sons during the first war of Independence in 1857.

Isha Khan's Tomb: A Grand Octagonal Stunner
Lodi Dynasty Architecture

After a good tour, I took exist from the Isa Khan tomb. While leaving the complex, my mom visited the Hazrat Nizamuddin. It is the dargah of the famous Sufi saint, Nizamuddin Auliya. I had to park the car on the main road & walk through a narrow street brimming with shop stalls selling flowers, chadars, and food leading to the Dargah complex.

Isha Khan's Tomb: A Grand Octagonal Stunner
Way to Nizamuddin Hazart

It was way too crowded; I did not know the reason. As I entered the dargah, I saw many people sitting in the open courtyard, Qawali being sung, & men entering the Mazar to offer prayers. Interestingly women were not allowed to enter the Mazar. The offering was taken by maulvis & then performed further. 

Isha Khan's Tomb: A Grand Octagonal Stunner

 I even saw the tombs of Jehan Ara Begum (Mughal emperor Shahjahan’s daughter), Amir Khusro (poet), and Inayat Khan. The experience was less spiritual here, as I felt in Ajmer and Chisti. Hence spending some time, we left for Nila Gumbad.

Isha Khan's Tomb: A Grand Octagonal Stunner
Nila Gumbad

We drove towards Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station only to see a Blue Dome in a dilapidated state. A unique tomb that’s octagonal outside and square inside with a beautifully ornamented roof. Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana built the tomb for his servant Miyan Fahim. It’s a UNESCO heritage because of the striking blue dome known as Neela Gumbhaz.

Ruins of Gumbad

Now, who was Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana? I googled again to find him a famous poet and one of the nine essential ministers called Navratanas (nine gems) in Akbar’s court. He’s best known for his Hindi Dohe or couplets. And with this, our day tour ended with multiple photos of the beautiful historical heritage of our country.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »
error: Content is protected !!