Sarkhej is now a suburban neighbourhood of Ahmedabad, so it’s a short excursion from the city that will at most take a couple of hours to see.
Mainly erected under the reign of Mahmud Begada, it was built on the location where the holy man and religious Muslim leader Ahmed Khattu Ganj Baksh lived and died. He was the spiritual guide of the sultan Ahmed Shah, and this is one of the biggest mausoleums in India, possibly only second to the Taj Mahal.
The complex later became a retreat for sultans with an imperial necropolis.
The mausoleum at Sarkhej contains yet more examples of stunning perforated sandstone carvings, or jali-work. These are reminiscent of similar work found at the Sidi Saiyyed Mosque, but here you are able to examine them up close.
As seems often the case with me, I was greeted on my walk around the site by some children whose mothers were washing clothes in the tank.
I get frustrated at times like this for my lack of speaking Hindi (something I want to rectify), but we spent a good 20 minutes together attempting to exchange basics like our names, where I am from, what am I doing here, details of my family etc.
The boy holding the black cloth bag proceeded to show me some magic tricks, quite unexpected, and we didn’t stop laughing and smiling until our time together came to an end.
Organized around a large artificial water reservoir are to be found gardens, a mosque and the holy man’s tomb, together with the tombs of Mahmud Begada and his wife Rajabai, as well as palaces, a harem and pavilions. The buildings have an austere beauty, a mixture of Hindu and Islamic styles.
Sarkhej is rarely visited by tourists, which for me makes it all the more special. It’s a peaceful location to lose yourself in for a couple of hours, and a far cry from the hub of the city that is slowly swallowing up Sarkhej.
I don’t think there are any official opening times for Sarkhej, it’s likely to be accessible sunrise to sunset.
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