Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan- the 16th century tomb, that was built near the meandering Yamuna and became a source of inspiration for one of the wonders of the world, Taj Mahal, is set to add gloss to Delhi’s list of iconic historical sights and majestic monuments in 2019. The garden-tomb, which is located in the Nizamuddin area, also has peacock medallions, the Hindu swastika, a floral tank, hamams, and jharokhas.
The tomb, which was built in red sandstone with white marble inlay, was commissioned by soldier, minister, poet and scholar Rahim — known best for “Rahim ke dohe” — for his wife Mah Banu. Rahim was the son of Mughal emperor Akbar’s mentor, Bairam Khan. He was also one of the emperor’s nine Navratans. Proficient in Sanskrit, he wrote two books on Astrology in the language and translated Baburnama into Persian.
The renovation process was started since 2014 and was overseen by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture as part of its ‘Nizamuddin area Urban Renewal Initiative’ and Archaeological Survey of India. “There were major structural problems, deep cracks in the crypt, first floor and within the dome… It took us a year just to strengthen the foundation. We had expected to finish it in three years… it will take us another 12 months,” AKTC project director Ratish Nanda was quoted as saying. “There is a lot of intangible history here… the gardens of this tomb once extended till Humayun’s Tomb… but colonies have come up here now,” Nanda added.
Speaking about the tomb acting as an inspiration for Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s eternal symbol of love in Agra, Nanda said, “Rahim built this tomb next to the Yamuna, which is now the Barapullah nallah… this was the inspiration behind the Taj Mahal. Rahim was also the first person to commission a tomb for his wife, something that Mughal rulers then followed.”