Delhi Backpacking Historical Adventure Tourism Guide About "Safdarjung Tomb"


Delhi Travel Guide Safdarjung Tomb

Safdarjung tomb is one of favourit tourist spot near 'Safdarjung Airport' a in India's Capital Delhi. This tomb was built in 1754 in Mughal Empire Style. The monument has an ambience of spaciousness and an imposing presence with its domed and arched red brown and white coloured structures. Safdarjung was made prime minister of the Mughal Empire when Ahmed Shah Bahadur ascended the throne in 1748. Mirza Muqim Abul Mansur Khan, who was popularly known as Safadarjung, who ruled over Avadh was an independent ruler of Avadh as viceroy of Muhammad Shah.

He was very rich and most powerful. With the death of Emperor Muhammad Shah of Mughal Empire, he moved to Delhi.When Mohammed Shah Ahmed Shah ascended the throne of the Mughal Empire in Delhi in 1748, Safdarjung was made the Prime Minister of the empire with the title of Wazir ul-Mamalk-i-Hindustan and at that time the empire was on decline as their rule extended only to North India. As Vizier he had taken all powers under his control as the king was only a puppet, a figurehead, who was into enjoying life with wine, opium and women. But he overestimated and over exercised his powers with the result that the Emperor’s family called their Hindu Maratha confederacy to help them get rid of their Vizier. A civil strife ensued and eventually in 1753 Safdarjung was driven out of Delhi. He died soon thereafter in 1754. After his death his son Nawab Shujaud Daula pleaded with the Mughal Emperor to permit him to erect a tomb for his father in Delhi. He then built the tomb, which was designed by an Abyssininan architect. The tomb has four key features which are: The Char Bagh plan with the mausoleum at the center, a ninefold floor plan, a five-part façade and a large podium with a hidden stairway.The main entry gate to the tomb is two-storied and its façade has very elaborate ornamentation over plastered surfaces and is in ornate purple colour. There is an inscription in Arabic on the surface and its translation reads “When the hero of plain bravery departs from the transitory, may he become a resident of god’s paradise”. The rear side of the façade, which is seen after entering through the gate, has many rooms and the library. To the right of the gate is the mosque which is a three-domed structure marked with stripes. Entering through the main gate gives a perfect view of the mausoleum. Its walls are built high and the central dome, which is the main mausoleum of Safdarjung, is built over a terrace. Red and buff stones are the materials used for building the main mausoleum which measures 28 metres  square. The central chamber, square in shape, has eight partitions with a cenotaph in the middle. Here there are partitions in rectangular shape and the corner partitions are in octagonal shape. The interior of the tomb is covered with rococo plaster with decorations.

Travel to Safdarjung Historical Tourism Destination in Delhi
Historical Delhi

There are four towers around the main tomb at the corners which are polygonal in shape and are provided with kiosks. They have marble panels which are faded, and decorated arches. There is an underground chamber in the mausoleum which houses the graves of Safadrjung and his wife. The ceiling of the mosque has been plastered, painted and ornamented. The façade, though built in the style of the Taj Mahal, lacks symmetry as the vertical axis has been given prominence which has resulted in an unbalanced appearance to the tomb. The dome is more elongated; the central part has a taller pishtaq. The four minarets at the four corners are part of the main mausoleum which was totally a different concept in elevation compared to the Taj Mahal where the towers are detached and away from the facade of the tomb. The large square garden surrounding the tomb is surrounded by a wall that is approximately 280 metres long on each side.The layout is in the form of four squares with wide foot paths and water tanks, which have been further subdivided into smaller squares. The garden is in the Mughal charbagh garden style, and is a smaller version of the garden of the Humayun Tomb which is also built in Delhi. One channel leads to the entrance gate and the other leads to the three pavilions. The main podium over which the mausoleum is built measures 50 metres on each side. The high walls have been built in rubble stone masonry and have recessed arches in the interior. The towers or chatris are octagonal in shape. Its overall layout consists of four pavilions which have multiple chambers and the entrance gateway to the east is impressive. On the eastern side adjoining the gate are many apartments and a mosque, and a courtyard. The pavilions are laid out in the western, northern and southern directions and are named Jangli Mahal,Moti Mahal and Badshah Pasand respectively. Nawab’s family used to reside in these pavilions. Now the entire monument is under the control of Archaeological Survey of India  who have their offices in the pavilions and also a library over the main gate.

Safdar Jung:

Abul Mansur Mirza Muhammad Muqim Ali Khan better known as Safdar Jang. In 1739 he succeeded his father-in-law and maternal uncle, the Burhan ul Mulk Saadat Ali Khan I to the throne of Oudh, apparently by paying Nadir Shah twenty million rupees. The Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah gave him the title of "Safdar Jang". Safdar Jang was an able administrator. He was not only effective in keeping control of Oudh, but also managed to render valuable assistance to the weakened Muhammad Shah. He was soon given governorship of Kashmir as well, and became a central figure at the Delhi court. During the later years of Muhammad Shah, he gained complete control of administration in the Mughal Empire. When Ahmad Shah Bahadur ascended the throne at Delhi in 1748, Safdar Jung became his Wazir ul-Mumalik-i-Hindustan or Chief Minister of Hindustan. He was also made the governor of Ajmer and became the "Faujdar" of Narnaul. However, court politics eventually overtook him and he was dismissed in 1753. He returned to Oudh in December 1753, and made Faizabad military headquarter. He died in October 1755 at the age of 46 years in Sultanpur near Faizabad.

Mughal Empire Style:

Mughal architecture is the type of Indo-Islamic architecture developed by the Mughals in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries throughout the ever-changing extent of their empire in the Indian subcontinent. It developed the styles of earlier Muslim dynasties in India as an amalgam of Islamic, Persian, Turkish and Indian architecture. Mughal buildings have a uniform pattern of structure and character, including large bulbous domes, slender minarets at the corners, massive halls, large vaulted gateways and delicate ornamentation.