February 16, 2010

The Tomb at Tughlaqabad

The glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not substantial things;
There is no armour against fate;
Death lays his icy hand on kings.
Sceptre and crown
Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crooked scythe and spade.
— James Shirley

I had visited Tughlaqabad fort which was built by Ghiyas-ud-din Tuglaq in the 14th century. An elevated causeway on the southern side of the fort connects the fort to the mausoleum of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq which was built by the ruler himself.

The fort itself comprises what were undoubtedly once imposing stone fortifications, now in ruins. The causeway has been cut across to make space for a highway. And the lake over which it apparently once ran has long since dried out, giving way to a rather dusty ground which children play on.The mausoleum is relatively simple; it’s architecture Indo-Islamic. Inside, there are two graves which unnerved me a little bit: one is in the centre and the other to its side. While I know little about mausoleums, stepping in, considering the symmetry which Islamic art and architecture are virtually defined by, it somehow seemed to me that another grave had been planned to have been place in it. Whose, I don’t know.

A private courtyard with fortified walls encloses the mausoleum. Some of its corridors are filled with rubbish.Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq was one of the most powerful men of his time. His son and successor, Muhammad bin Tughlaq is also believed to have been laid to rest in the mausoleum. They were in all probability virtually unapproachable in life. In death, it costs five rupees to do so.