After tracing Mirza Ghalib in my city of Calcutta (Kolkata) and then his last home in Old Delhi I now had the last task in hand that is to find the last resting place or the tomb of Ghalib. So one fine morning during one of my trips to the capital I force myself to wake up as early as possible and visit the grave. It was a beautiful Delhi morning and for a change, the smog in the air had somehow mysteriously settled and created an environment for the perfect ending to my journey.
Location of the Tomb
This was not that difficult when you search online as it shows right near to Nizamuddin Dargah. However, it’s better to approach the site from Mathura Road. You would have to get down on the main road since vehicles are not permitted inside the small lane. Since this road also leads you to the Dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin thus you would find many shops selling flowers, chadars, incense sticks etc. At times the shopkeepers can be quite intimidating but just ignore and move on. It’s just a hundred meters walk for the main road thus should not take you long.
On the way you will get a big mosque to your right called Markaz Bangla Wali Masjid, this should be your marker. Right opposite to the mosque you will find a building marked Ghalib Academy and right next to this you will see a huge gate-like structure. Just walk in straight and you will reach an open courtyard.
Location of the Tomb on Map
Urs Mahal & Chausath Khamba
The grave of Mirza Ghalib also hides another important landmark that of Urs Mahal & Chausath Khamba. As you enter through the large wooden gate you will find yourself in the middle of a large courtyard. This is the Urs Mahal and you should not be surprised to see some travellers (mainly pilgrims) staying at one of the small rooms located at the corner.
By the look, you can clearly see that this place is meant for assembling or any large gatherings and can indeed fit many people. As I was entering a larger funeral procession was coming out from this place. This section is also famous for the numerous Qawwali concerts that get hosted here.
Moving up ahead you will see a large stone structure with numerous pillars and with several tombs all located inside this building. This is what is known as Chausath Khamba or the building with sixty-four pillars. This splendid white marble building was built by Mirza Aziz Koka for himself who was also the foster brother of Akbar. Emperor Akbar had a wet nurse called Jiji Anga who was Mirza Aziz Koka’s mother.
Under Akbar, Mirza Aziz Koka was the governor of Gujarat. Things, however, were not the same under Jahangir and much of what he had achieved under Akbar was lost when he supported the rebellion by Khusrau Mirza who was the eldest son of Jahangir. After the death of Mirza Aziz Koka, he was buried here in the year 1624.
Mirza Ghalib’s Tomb (Mazar-e-Mirza)
Located on the northern side of Chausath Khamba is the tomb of Mirza Ghalib. Just walk northwards and you will find a separate section with the tomb of Mirza Ghalib clearly visible which has a small enclosure or courtyard of its own. Mirza Ghalib was buried here after his death and there was just his grave and the stone structure over the site was built much later in the year 1955. Again with time this place got lost in memory and has been resurrected again around eight years back. Along with the tomb of Ghalib other structures such as Chausath Khamba and Urs Mahal were also restored.
The grave of Mirza Ghalib is well maintained with fresh flowers and incense sticks burning most part of the day which tells that someone is responsible for its regular maintenance. Opposite end of the courtyard a marble plaque has a Shayari engraved which were written by the poet himself.
What people usually fail to notice and the main reason is that it’s not marked properly is the grave of Umrao Begum who was the wife of the poet and died a year later after his death. Ghalib wed his wife Umrao Begum when he was thirteen years of age and then his wife was much younger thus they have spent most of their lives together and this must be the very reason why she wished to be buried next to the poet.
When the stone structure was built over Ghalib’s grave what got lost from view was his wife’s grave which can be seen right at the back of the structure covered with a green chaddar. They had been married for fifty-seven years.
This section of the graveyard was actually owned by the Loharu clan who were the noblemen from Rajasthan and the poet’s wife was the sister of the Nawab of Laharu.
While coming out from this place I was rather surprised to see people queuing up in front of a sweet shop located opposite to that of Markaz Bangla Wali Masjid selling possibly the best Rabri that I have ever eaten in my whole life…
Found people queueing at this shop for Rabri and my curiosity made me by 250 grams which cost me 100 Rs. A spoonful in my mouth and I knew why all these people were here.
I asked the shopkeeper the name of the shop and he simply smiled back and told me that the shop has no name and customers simply refer to the shop as “Markaz Bangla Wali Masjid kay samney wali dukaan“.
This place is barely 100 meters from Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah thus when you are visiting this place you can also plan a visit to the dargah. This concludes my blog series on Mirza Ghalib; I hope you have liked them all. Keep visiting my site for more such adventure.