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Delhi, the capital of India is known for its vibrancy, culture and illustrious past. Delhi is built up of 8 cities, with the first one being Mehrauli built by the pioneers of the Delhi Sultanate, the Mamluks, or the Slave Dynasty as people recognize them. Today Mehrauli is not just a place known for its beautiful heritage and mystic dargahs, but also for high-end chic markets that have emanated, and the ritzy designers that have made the place their hub. Mehrauli also holds the Tomb of Adham Khan, which is less talked about in person, but speaks volumes in pictures when people visit the old town of Delhi. The tomb of Adham Khan was built by the Mughal ruler Akbar in the 16th century. Adham Khan was the general of Akbar and also his foster brother, but what is of interest is even though Akbar commissioned the tomb in his name, his death sentenced was also given by Akbar.

Tomb of Adham Khan

Adham Khan rose to ranks in the Mughal court after he portrayed his military tactics in the Mughal conquest on Malwa in 1561. At the same time, Ataga Khan, a leading horseback from Humayun’s reign, was appointed as the court minister by Akbar. Ataga Khan’s power and prominence in the court were not liked by Adham Khan and hence in 1562, Adham Khan killed Ataga Khan in the Agra Fort. Once Akbar got to know about what Adham did, he sentenced his death and he was thrown off from top of the Agra Fort (as noted in bardic tales). After Adham’s death, Akbar commissioned his tomb where he was buried.

Painting of Adham Khan

Tomb of Ataga Khan

The tomb was built in a form of architecture that resembled the building style of the Lodi’s. Standing in proximity of the Qutub Minar, the tomb is surrounded by the walls of Qila Rai Pithora on two sides. The cemetery of Adham Khan is covered by a Gumbad on the top and 8 courtyards on the sides. Although not much has been written on the walls of the tomb, but many different motifs have been discovered, such as that of a star that resembles the motifs on the gates on Humayun’s Tomb that was also built by Akbar.

Star motifs at Humayun’s Tomb

Today, the fort is dotted by millennial couples, who get lost in the tomb of Adham Khan falling for love, romance, and the exquisite architecture. Many might not know who Adham Khan his, but he still stands as the center of attraction, serving his purpose of killing Ataga Khan, giving testimony to the fact that immortality lies in not the people, but the art and stories.

 

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