Chausath Khamba

Chausath Khamba
Chausath Khamba

Front view of Chausath Khamba

Basic information
Location India New Delhi, India
Geographic coordinates 28°35′28.7″N 77°14′30.5″E / 28.591306°N 77.241806°E / 28.591306; 77.241806Coordinates: 28°35′28.7″N 77°14′30.5″E / 28.591306°N 77.241806°E / 28.591306; 77.241806
Affiliation Islam
Province Delhi
Territory Delhi
District New Delhi
Year consecrated 1624
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Tomb
Leadership Jahangir
Architectural description
Architect(s) Khokha Khani-i-Azam
Architectural type Tomb
Architectural style Mughal architecture
Direction of façade Open on four sides
Completed 1623
Dome(s) 25
Materials Marble

Chausath Khamba, also spelt Chaunsath Khamba (Hindi: चौंसठ खम्बा), is a tomb built during 1623–24. It is located in Nizamuddin precincts (a heritage zone) of Sufi Muslim shrines and tombs in New Delhi, India. The name means "64 pillars" in Urdu and Hindi. It was built by Mirza Aziz Koka, son of Ataga Khan, as a mausoleum for himself, at the time when Mughal Emperor Jahangir ruled from Delhi. Mirza Aziz Koka had served several times as Jahangir’s Governor of Gujarat before his died in Gujarat. Ataga Khan was Prime Minister of Emperor Akbar.[1][2][3]



Chausath Khamba monument was initially built as a hall in an innovative eclectic architectural style of the Mughal period. It was later converted into a tomb. It is a square structure constructed entirely of white marble. The structure (pictured with facades) has 64 columns that support twenty five bays. Each bay supports a dome. The domes are not visible externally since they are reverse domes (picture). The roof is flat. Each wall has five arches that are held by square pilasters. In each face, between each of five pilasters, marble trellised screens have been fixed.[2][4]

Ataga Khan’s Tomb near Chausath Khamba

According to inscriptions, the structure houses the tomb of Mirza Aziz Koka (also named Kotaltash). The tomb of his father, Ataga Khan, the Prime Minister of Akbar, is also in the vicinity. In addition, there are several other unidentified tombs inside this monument.[1][5] It is considered the family shrine of Atgah Khan.[6] The structure is enclosed and has an imposing entrance gate. The Ghalib tomb is located adjoining this structure on the northern side.[3] Comparison is drawn to a similar tomb built in marble in Sarkej in Gujarat where Mirza Aziz Koka served several times as Jahangir’s Governor of Gujarat. He died in Sarkej and was temporarily buried there. His remains were later shifted to Chausath Khamba.[2]

Heritage status

Marble pavilion with mausoleum of Mirza Aziz Koka inside the Chausath Khamba

The Chausath Khamba is located in the busy 14th century market area of Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti (a predominantly Muslim village). The shrine of the Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya (1236 AD – 1325 AD) is nearby.[7] The monument is part of the Nizamuddin religious complex and has been declared a heritage building. It is categorized under Zone D in New Delhi (one of the six zones of Delhi declared for Conservation and Heritage Management). The location is marked in the satellite plan vis-à-vis the other monuments in the complex.[8][9]

The Minister in charge of Tourism and Culture has announced that out of 174 monuments or sites in Delhi declared as of national importance, 46 are identified for restoration and 13 for illumination.[10][11] As a part of the urban renewal programme in the historic precinct of Humayun's Tomb - Sunder Nursery - Nizamuddin Basti, the Aga khan Trust for Culture has initiated a unique public-private partnership project which will unify the three zones into an urban conservation area of a considerable breadth and cultural significance while improving the quality of life for resident population. The forecourt of Chaunsath Khamba and Urs Mahal was recently landscape by the Trust. Also the successful Sufi qawwali music of Jashn-E-Khusrau in which performers from India and Pakistan performed was held here in March 2010.[9]

Other structures

There are two other structures adjoining the Chausath Khamba, which are also heritage monuments.

URS Mahal

Located in front of the Chausath Khamba, URS Mahal is an assembly hall (pictured in the gallery) where Khawwali programmes are held on festival days and on the days during “Urs of sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya”. It is a protected monument (refurbished in 2003).[12][13]

Mirza Ghalib’s tomb

Mirza Ghalib's tomb is a small tomb of famous Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib (1797–1869), who was renowned in Urdu and Persian poetry during the Mughal period. It is a protected monument. The tomb is a work of art located north of the enclosure of the Chausath Khamba. Adjoining Ghalib's tomb, the Ghalib Academy has been established. The academy has a library of Urdu literature. It also houses a museum that displays a sizable collection of rocks, paintings and works of Mirza Ghalib.[14]


  1. ^ a b "Mirza 'Aziz Kotaltash Tomb". ArchNet Digital Libraray. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  2. ^ a b c Geraldine Forbes; Gordon Johnson, B. R. Tomlinson, Stewart Gordon, and Catherine Ella Blanshard Asher (1992). The new Cambridge history of India. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521267285, 9780521267281.,M1. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  3. ^ a b "Chausath Khambhaaccess". 2007-03-21. 
  4. ^ "The Chausath Khamba, Nizamuddin, Delhi. inscribed 'Mausoleum of a Mahommedan Poet at Delhi. East Indies’". Abbey, Travel, 420, no. 82.. 1801-12-01.,-r.a.-1769-1837-1-c-16yt3vb1v3. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  5. ^ "Dead souls". Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  6. ^ "Walk Through History". Delhi Newsline. 2002-01-14. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  7. ^ "Shan-e-nizam: Discover the World of the Basti". Dargha Inayat Khan Hope Project. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  8. ^ "Satellite image of Nizamuddin area in Delhi showing other important monuments around Mathura Road, New Delhi, India". Chausath Khamba complex at 28. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  9. ^ a b "City Development Plan" (pdf). Conservation and Heritage Management,chapter 7. pp. 128–132. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  10. ^ "Alphabetical List of Monuments - Delhi". Archeological Survey of India. Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  11. ^ "Restoration of 46 monuments in Delhi before 2010". Times of India. 2008-12-18.\onuments_in_Delhi_before_2010_Govt/articleshow/3856493.cms. Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  12. ^ "Nizamuddin Dargah decks up to receive President during Urs". Delhi News Line. 2003-06-18. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  13. ^ "Islamic Volleyball Islamic Volleyball at Hazrat Nizamuddin at Hazrat Nizamuddin.". Indian Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  14. ^ "Mirza Ghalib's Tomb in Delhi". MyVigyapan. Retrieved 2009-04-11. [dead link]

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