Jamali-Kamali Tomb - Stepping Into A Jewel Box!

Driven out unceremoniously from this place in September 2009 and a few solo visits later, I finally managed to step into the Jamali-Kamali tomb in February 2011 and I was ecstatic. The insides of this tomb are in an excellent state of preservation compared to the other historical buildings of Mehrauli Archaeological Park, Delhi. The tomb is part of a complex comprising of an adjacent Lodhi era mosque, set amidst beautiful surroundings.

Jamali was the pen name of Sheikh Fazlullah, who was a renowned Sufi Saint during the times of Sikander Lodhi, Babur and partial lifetime of Humayun. Kamali is ascribed to as a "mysterious" person, perhaps for the want of political correctness by (still) largely orthodox population. It is informally accepted that Jamali-Kamali were a gay couple and Sunil Gupta, author of "Wish You Were Here: Memories of a Gay Life" goes on to attribute the tomb as India's only gay monument! - archive.indianexpress.com/news/out-with-the-past/375143.

The tomb was constructed in 1528-1529 and Jamali was buried in the tomb after his death in 1536. It is unknown when Kamali was buried by his side, though the other marble grave in the tomb is attributed to Kamali. The mosque adjacent to the tomb is an impressive building too and it is claimed to be a forerunner in the design of Mughal mosque architecture in India.

Jamali-Kamali complex though declared as a non-living heritage structure by the ASI has been in the news for attempts by the natives to use the mosque for Friday prayers. The "non-living" classification by ASI bars any such practice in the protected monuments. However, most of the time one can find the Waqf members hovering around the property to dissuade the "trespassers"! A sure shot way of entering this enclosed cubical tomb is by joining the INTACH heritage walk of Mehrauli Archaeological Park, which I never could join, else, hunt for and plead to the ASI appointed supervisor who may not yield if the unofficial custodians of the complex are keeping a watch!

Jamali-Kamali tomb and the enclosure, Mehrauli Archaeological Park, Delhi

Jamali-Kamali tomb in a tranquil enclosure.

Interiors of the Jamali-Kamali tomb, Mehrauli Archaeological Park, Delhi

Interiors of the Jamali-Kamali tomb. Exquisite pattern in incised plasterwork on the flat ceiling with decorated roundels in the squinches, inlaid tiles and decorated panels over the door and windows are of the finest quality.

Flat circular ceiling with incised plasterwork, Jamali-Kamali Tomb, Mehrauli, Delhi

The flat ceiling of the tomb with magnificent incised plasterwork patterns.

Close up of the incised plasterwork on the flat ceiling, Jamali-Kamali Tomb, Mehrauli, Delhi

Close up of the incised plasterwork on the flat ceiling.

View from the entrance with two marble graves, Jamali-Kamali Tomb, Mehrauli, Delhi

View from the entrance of the tomb with two marble graves on the floor. The walls combine the incised plasterwork with inlaid tiles.

One of the decorated roundels in a squinch, Jamali-Kamali Tomb, Mehrauli, Delhi

One of the decorated roundels in a squinch of the tomb.

Lodhi era Jamali-Kamali Mosque, Mehrauli Archaeological Park, Delhi

The Lodhi era mosque adjacent to the Jamali-Kamali tomb.

Ruined prayer hall of the mosque, Jamali-Kamali Complex, Mehrauli, Delhi

Ruined prayer hall of the Jamali-Kamali mosque.

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