The tombs of Salabat and Sadiq Khan are located 3km east of Akbar’s Tomb, and are accessed via a short path that runs for 100m north from NH19. In all likelihood you will be passing these monuments in order to visit Akbar’s Tomb, so it’s relatively easy to visit them on the same day.
The two tombs are right next to each other in a clearing, but architecturally they are very different. On my visit the caretaker was there, so he was able to show me some areas that are usually locked up and not permitted for public viewing.
Tomb of Salabat Khan
Built entirely of red sandstone, this tomb consists of a sixty-four columned, open sided hall on a large platform with chhatris at each corner. Locally the tomb is known as Chausath Khamba (“the hall of 64 pillars”), and architecturally it is almost identical to the tomb of Mirza Aziz Koka in Delhi.
Although the tomb has lost a lot of it’s decoration, it’s still an impressive building. Make sure to take a look at the ceilings of the chhatris, there’s some quite well preserved paintings still there.
Salabat Khan was Shah Jahan’s brother-in-law and Lord Treasurer (Mir-Bakhshi). He was stabbed to death on 25th July 1644 by Amar Singh Rathore, after tensions between the two grew due to Amar’s rise in popularity at court. The full story you can read in my blog : Deception and Murder in Shah Jahan’s Court – The Chhatris of Jaswant Singh in Agra.
There are tunnels and chambers underneath the tomb platform, but these have been filled in relatively recently with rubble. My guide showed me where you can still see evidence for this, and said it had been filled in because a murder occurred there a few years ago. I’ve not been able to find any reference to that on the internet, but I can only assume it is true.
Tomb of Sadiq Khan
This is an elegant octagonal tomb which originally stood on a large platform that has subsequently collapsed.
The central chamber is plain and missing any sign of a tomb, which at the time I thought was a little unusual.
The structure has two storeys and the caretaker was more than happy to unlock the gates and let me climb the narrow stairs to explore the upper levels.
At this elevated height, there’s a nice view outside overlooking Salabat Khan’s tomb.
The caretaker also unlocked a gate so I could take a quick look at a chamber built into the tomb platform, again, there was no actual tomb present here.
The mystery of the missing tomb was soon solved however. It low lies on the grass in the open air, just a few meters away from the building.
I’m not sure how it got here, I wonder if this was a result of a short period of desecration of Mughal monuments by a band of Jats that occurred around 1691, which also resulted in Akbar’s bones being removed and burnt outside his tomb.
Sadiq Khan was the nephew of Itimad-ud-Daulah and father of Salabat Khan whose tomb we’ve just seen. He was one of Akbar’s best officers, but the lack of any inscription and the fact that he is said to have built a tomb for himself at Dholpur (which is inscribed) casts considerable doubt that this was his resting place.
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