Islamic Sites

Delhi

Return to Humayun’s Tomb Complex – Delhi

My first visit to Humayun’s Tomb Complex was way back in December 2005, and was part of the typical “golden triangle” tourist trail conducted at such break-neck speed that it was over in just 10 days and left me wondering if I had truly experienced India at all. […]

Bijay Mandal – Delhi

Located in the heart of Jahanpanah, the fourth medieval city of Delhi, Bijay Mandal is considered one of the most puzzling historic buildings in Delhi. The complex has clearly been subjected to numerous alterations during its use, making it difficult for scholars and archaeologists to untangle the sequence […]

Barah Khamba – Delhi

Barah Khamba is located at the far northern extent of Nizamuddin village, in a small enclosed park fronting the eastern end of Lodi Road. This will almost certainly be the my shortest blog post ever, as there is very little to say about the monument ! The tomb […]

Chausath Khamba – Tomb of Akbar’s Foster Brother

Located in the east of Nizamuddin village and approached under an unfinished Mughal-era gateway, Chausath Khamba is primarily the tomb of Mirza Aziz Koka, son of Ataga Khan (Akbar’s Prime Minister) and Jiji Anga (Akbar’s wet nurse). Constructed in white marble and set within an enclosed courtyard, this […]

View of the exterior of Khirki mosque

Khirki Masjid – A Paradox of Past and Present in Delhi

Located in the very heart of Saket’s dense high-rise housing complexes and only accessible via winding narrow lanes and alleyways, Khirki Masid must rank as one of the best preserved Tughlaq dynasty monuments in the whole of Delhi. Without the aid of Google maps I doubt very much […]

Begumpur Masjid – From Mosque, to Village, to Obscurity in Delhi

My quest to find the lesser known monuments of Delhi usually finds me searching for small isolated structures that have been almost swallowed up by the city’s urban development. In the case of Begumpur (or Begumpuri) Masjid, near Shivalik Enclave next to Malviya Nagar, nothing could be further […]

Arab Serai East Gateway – Restored Splendour in Delhi

Also known as Mihr Banu’s gate, the Arab Serai east gateway is part of Humayun’s Tomb complex and is accessible from Arab Ki Sarai road that runs east-west to the south of the monument. The precise origins of the Arab Serai remains a mystery. Some scholars believe it […]

Baradari and Tomb – Delhi

Located next to a pretty rectangular park by Sadhana Enclave are two ancient buildings, not uncommon occurrences if you spend any amount of time roaming around Delhi. Discovering such monuments has become a bit of an obsession for me, as I invariably spend a few days in Delhi […]

Tomb of Sheikh Yusuf Qattal – Delhi

Situated on a small expanse of land near the narrow streets of Khirki Village, the tomb of Sheikh Yusuf Qattal and associated structures is yet another of those less visited or known about monuments in Delhi that I always find myself gravitating towards. Sheikh Yusuf Qattal was a […]

Satpula – Delhi’s Oldest Surviving Dam

Located close to the present day suburb of Saket, Satpula is an interesting structure that lies in relative obscurity and seemingly rarely visited. Construction is credited to Sultan Muhammad Shah Tughlaq (Muhammad bin Tughluq, 1325–1351) of the Tughlaq Dynasty, with the aim of achieving two objectives. Firstly, it […]

Gol Gumbad – Delhi

Situated at the eastern extent of Lodi Road near JLN stadium in Delhi, Gol Gumbad is one of a number of tombs, graves and small mosques that surround Nizamuddin,  the historic village which gets its name from the Sufi saint, Hazrat Nizamuddin. From the outside the tomb suggests it was […]

Lal Gumbad – Tomb of a Sufi Saint

Anyone spending time wondering around Delhi with even the remotest interest in history or architecture will be struck by the sheer volume of monuments that are scattered across this vast city. Some are of course well and truly on the tourist map, such as the Red Fort, Jama […]

Hauz Khas Park – Delhi

Hauz Khas Park in south Delhi offers a wide range of things to see, it came as quite a surprise to me. There’s a deer park, a large lake (formally a tank) and Hauz Khas village, all of which contain a number of monuments, some of which may […]

Hauz Khas – Monuments Outside the Park – Delhi

During my last visit to Delhi I had set aside a day to visit Hauz Khas Park, which contains a number of interesting monuments and will be the subject of a separate blog shortly. Whilst planning my route on foot from the metro station, I noticed a number […]

Jama Masjid – Delhi

Built by Shah Jahan from between 1650 and 1656, the Jama Masjid (or Friday Mosque) is the main mosque of the Shahjahanabad district of Delhi, and is one of the largest mosques in India. Originally called Masjid-i-Jahan Numa, meaning ‘mosque commanding view of the world’, it is built […]

Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq’s Tomb – Delhi

Ghiyasuddin’s Tomb is located right next to Tughlakabad Fort, a raised causeway truncated by the main Mehrauli-Badarpur road takes you a short distance into a small fortified enclosure containing the imposing monument. Built from red sandstone and white marble, the tomb is unlike anything else in the Tughlakabad […]

Chor Minar – Delhi

Situated about 400m north of Hauz Khas metro station in south Delhi, Chor Minar is one of those typical isolated monuments you come across in the city if you decide to explore on foot. Also known as the “Tower of Thieves”, it was built sometime between 1296 and […]

Qutb Minar Complex

A photo tour of he Qutb Minar Complex – a 200m x 300m rectangular enclosure containing several important and impressive structures, located in the northern part of the Mehrauli district of south Delhi.

Mehrauli Archaeological Park – Delhi

Located to the south and west of the Qutb Minar complex in Delhi, Mehrauli Archaeological Park contains dozens of tombs, mosques, step-wells and fortifications from the pre-Islamic, Sultanate, Mughal and British periods.

Lodhi Gardens

Lodhi Gardens are a 20th century creation, when a village that surrounded the tombs of the Lodhi and Sayyid dynasties was cleared by the British and its inhabitants relocated. It must be one of the prettiest places in Delhi to walk or have a picnic, with four monuments […]

Safdarjung’s Tomb

Safdarjung’s Tomb is a sandstone and marble mausoleum built in 1754 in New Delhi. It is the last monumental tomb garden of the Mughals, and was planned and built like an enclosed garden tomb in line with the style of Humayun’s Tomb. The main entry gate to the tomb is two-storied […]

Humayun’s Tomb

Set in 30 acres of walled gardens in the eastern part of Delhi, Humayun’s mausoleum is considered the crowning glory of early Mughal architecture. Humayun was the second Mughal emporer and the least successful of the early Mughals, now primarily remembered for his tomb. He ruled the Mughal […]

Goa

Safa Masjid

25km southeast of Panjim just outside Ponda is the Safa Masjid. It’s located right by the main road, so a very short walk to see the mosque and tank up close. Other than that there is not a lot to see in the immediate area, so this should […]

Gujarat

Jama Masjid

The Jama Masjid, situated in the heart of Ahmedabad, was built in 1423 by Ahmed Shah. The interior consists of more than 200 slender columns, unusually for this period they were not recycled pillars from Hindu or Jain temples, but specifically carved for the mosque (although the masons […]

Dholka

A short distance from Ahmedabad lies Dholka, and for me possibly one of the highlights of my tour around eastern Gujarat. Dholka is a treasure trove of medieval Muslim architecture and yet nobody seems to visit it even though it can be easily reached by car in less […]

Champaner

Champaner lies just 50km east of Baroda, so can be combined in a day trip from Ahmedabad in Gujarat. The former city was founded in the 8th century by King Vanraj Chavda of the Chavda Kingdom. Some attribute the name “Champaner” to his desire to name the city after […]

Sarkhej

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 […]

Sidi Saiyyed Mosque

Now located in the middle of a roundabout in the city of Ahmedabad, Sidi Saiyyed Mosque is well worth a quick visit to see one of India’s most famous and beautiful pieces of Islamic art. The mosque was built in the year 1572-73 by an Abyssinian known as […]

Madhya Pradesh

Ladhedi Gate – Gwalior

Located on top of a small hill just 600m north of Gujari Mahal in Gwalior, Ladhedi Gate is a curious monument standing in isolation. I’ve tried to find out more about this structure in books and on the internet, but there seems very little information out there. Even […]

Tombs of Mohammad Ghaus and Tansen – Gwalior

The tombs of Mohammad Ghaus and Tansen are located in a pretty park on the east side of the old city in Gwalior. If you visit Gwalior fort from the eastern approach (the pedestrian only road), the park is well under 1 km east of Gujari Mahal State […]

Moti Masjid – Bhopal

With the light rapidly fading and having already visited Bhimbetka, Bhojpur, Taj-ul-Masajid and the Taj Mahal Palace that day, my visit to the Moti Masjid was all too brief. So much so that I completely missed the grand eastern entrance to the mosque, if you visit this place make sure you don’t do likewise !

Taj-ul-Masajid – Bhopal

Taj-ul-Masajid (which translates to “the crown of mosques”, and also spelt Taj-ul-Masaajid or Taj-ul-Masjid), dominates the center of Bhopal and so it should. It is one of the largest mosques in Asia, often reported as the largest mosque in India although I believe that particular accolate goes to the Jama Masjid in New Delhi. Ironically, just a stone’s throw away from the Taj-ul-Masajid is the Dhaai Siddi ki Maszid, the smallest mosque in India.

Maharashtra

Haji Ali Dargah

Haji Ali Dargah – Mumbai

Constructed in 1431, the Haji Ali Dargah is a mosque and tomb (dargah) situated on a small islet, 500m from the coast in the middle of Worli Bay in Mumbai.

Aurangabad : Bibi Ka Maqbara

Believed to have been built around 1678, Bibi Ka Maqbara (Tomb of the Lady) was built by Prince Azam Shah, son of the sixth Mughal Emporer Aurangzab, in memory of his mother Rabia-Durrani. It does of course have a striking resemblance to the world famous Taj Mahal, the […]

Uttar Pradesh

Alamgir Mosque – Varanasi

Towering above Panchganga Ghat in the heart of Banaras, the Alamgir Mosque dominates the skyline of the city from along the ghats of the great Ganga. It’s the one monument that is instantly recognizable from wherever you are, a focal point that has attracted the attention of many […]

Tomb of Lal Khan – Varanasi

The tomb of Lal Khan is situated immediately north of Malviya Bridge, close to the bank of the river Ganga at Rajghat, adjacent to the archaeological remains of early Kashi. This is a relatively little known and visited monument in Banaras, possibly because it is completely invisible to […]

Jami Masjid – Built in Reverence for a Sufi Saint

The Jami Masjid mosque was one of the first projects undertaken at Akbar’s new city of Fatehpur Sikri, and was built in honour of the Sufi saint Sheikh Salim al-Din Chishti (1479-1572), who famously predicted the birth of Akbar’s first and much longed for son. Completed in 1572 […]

Fatehpur Sikri – Exploring Beyond the Palace

The vast majority of visitors to Fatehpur Sikri are only able to see the palace complex and perhaps the Jami Masjid. To see the whole of Fatehpur Sikri would take far longer than a single day, but on my visit I was able to explore a little beyond […]

Fatehpur Sikri – An Emperor’s Ghost City

More myths surround the extraordinary city of Fatehpur Sikri than any other Mughal capital. Built by Emperor Akbar in the early 1570s, just fifteen years later in 1585 it was deserted by him, for reasons that may never be entirely clear. The site was originally known as just […]

Mehtab Bagh – The Moonlit Garden – Agra

There were once eleven Mughal gardens that lined the Yamuna river on the stretch between Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal in Agra, Mehtab Bagh is the last of that chain. The garden was probably in existence long before the Taj Mahal was even conceived of, most scholars […]

Itimad-ud-Daulah – A loving tribute from a daughter

Here at the utterly beautiful and peaceful Itimad-ud-Daulah is a building which I consider equal to the Taj Mahal, a loving tribute from a daughter, an emperor’s wife, and one of the most famous women of her time.

Ram Bagh – Agra

Also known as Bagh-I-Gul-Afshan (‘the flower-scattering garden’) and Bagh-I-Nur-Afshan (‘the light-scattering garden’), Ram Bagh was originally conceived by Babur in 1526 and was inspired by gardens he had seen in Samarkand in modern day Uzbekistan. Of all the pleasure gardens that existed during Babur’s lifetime, it is thought […]

Chini Ka Rauza – Agra

Situated on the east bank of the Yamuna river in what was formerly a Mughal riverside garden, Chini Ka Rauza was built sometime between 1620 and 1639 and is the tomb of Afzal Khan. He was a successful courtier and poet under both Shah Jahan and Jahangir, his […]

The Kos Minar – once showing the way but now becoming lost

Anyone travelling on India’s road network in the north of the country may from time to time see a curious little structure standing in isolation by the side of the road. Seemingly unassociated with anything else around them, to the casual observer they can probably be best described […]

Tomb of Sultan Parwiz – Agra

The tomb of Sultan Parwiz is located on the east bank of the Yamuna river in Agra, sandwiched between Itimad-ud-Daulah and Chini Ka Rauza, in an area that was once Mughal riverside gardens. This tomb, designed along the lines of Timur’s mausoleum in Samarkand, is not protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (A.S.I.) or […]

Mariam’s Tomb – Sikandra

Mariam’s tomb is located on the left side of NH19 (Agra-Mathura road), less than 1 km west of Akbar’s tomb in Sikandara. Mariam Zamani was a rajput princess (named Jodha Bai), the daughter of Raja Bharmal Kachhwaha of Amer (Jaipur), and was married to Akbar in 1562. She […]

The Mystery of the Stone Horse at Kafur’s Mosque – Agra

Located next to a busy junction where the Guru Ka Taal Flyover meets the main NH19 road heading out of Agra, Kafur’s Mosque is quite possibly the smallest set of monuments one could visit in Agra, and yet in many respects it has one of the largest mystery attached to it.

Tombs of Salabat and Sadiq Khan – Agra

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 […]

Akbar’s Tomb – Sikandra

Built between 1604 and 1613 and set within 119 acres of gardens, Akbar’s Tomb is the second in a line of four monumental tombs belonging to four out of the six ‘great Mughal’ emperors. The first, Babur, is buried in a simple grave in one of his gardens […]

Tomb of Akbar The Great

(NB : I have subsequently revisited this site, for an updated account please see my post on Akbar’s Tomb – Sikandra). The mausoleum of the Mughal emperor Akbar lies on the outskirts of Agra in an area called Sikanda. It’s believed that Akbar himself chose this location for […]

Taj Mahal

The future King Edward VII, visiting India in 1875, remarked that it was commonplace for every writer “to set out with the admission that the Taj Mahal is indescribable, and then proceed to give some idea of it”. I don’t think words exist in the English language to […]

Fatehpur Sikri

Sikri was once a nondescript village 38km west of Agra, its only claim to fame being the home of a sufi mystic, Sheikh Salim Chishti. Its fortunes chained dramatically in 1568 when the Mughal emporer Akbar visited the saint. Akbar was at the peak of his rule, with […]