Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana – The inspiration behind Taj Mahal

Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana – The inspiration behind Taj Mahal

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Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana is situated Nizamuddin area of Delhi, India. Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana was the first Mughal tomb to be ever built for a woman in India.

Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana is situated Nizamuddin area of Delhi, India. Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana is located near the Dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin  Auliya. It is one of the most prominent monuments built during the Mughal period. Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana is special because it was the first Mughal tomb to be ever built for a woman in India. Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana is the original monument of love and is considered the inspiration behind the later built Taj Mahal.  

Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana is situated near famous monuments such as Humayun’s Tomb, Safdarjung Tomb, Dargah of Saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, etc.   

Before we talk about the monument i.e. Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana it is important to the man (Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana).

About Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana:

Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana was the stepson of Emperor Akbar and one of his Navratan in the Mughal court. Khanzada Mirza Khan Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khan was a man of many talents. He was a great poet, one of the most important ministers of Emperor Akbar, a scholar, a successful courtier and strong commander of the Mughal Army, and much more.

 Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khanna a.k.a. Rahim was the son of Bairam Khan who was the guardian and mentor to Emperor Akbar apart from this he was a fierce commander of Mughal army and was held in high regard by Emperor Akbar who used to lovingly address him as Khan Baba.

A village in Punjab has been named after Rahim as ‘Khan Khana’. The village is located in the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district of Punjab.

Rahim was born in Lahore to Bairam Khan and younger daughter of Jamal Khan of Mewat. When Rahim was four, his father Bairam Khan was killed in Pattan Gujrat. Following his death, Rahim and his mother were brought to Delhi by Akbar. He was raised by his stepmother Begum Salima Sultan (second wife of Bairam Khan), who after the murder of her husband Bairam Khan married Akbar; hence Akbar became stepfather and guardian of Rahim.

Abul Rahim Khan-i-Khana an accomplished scholar:

Rahim was a well-known poet whose work was greatly appreciated. Even today his dohas (couplets) are part of Hindi curriculum in the country. His incredible work has made him immortal and through his Dhoas (couplets) he has been living with us till date. To remind you of his remarkable work, here is one his couplets:    

“Taruar Fal nahi Khaat hai, sarvar piye naa paan

Kahi Rahim par kaj hit sampatti Sanchi sujan”.

Rahim was fluent in many languages including Persian, Arabic, Hindi, and Sanskrit etc. His exemplary work includes translation of Baburnama from Chagatai (Turkish) to Persian, Doha (couplets). He wrote a lot of Dohas in Braj language. He was proficient in astrology too. He had also authored some books on astrology.

Despite the fact that Rahim was Muslim by Birth, he was also a devotee of Lord Krishna. He wrote a lot of poems dedicated to Lord Krishna.

Rahim:

Rahim was a very humble human being. He always helped others with immense humility in his gestures. He was known for an odd way of giving alms. While giving charity to needy instead of looking at the person he always looked downwards in humility.

A famous communication between the two legends (Tulsi Das and Rahim) through an exchange of couplet throws some light on Rahim’s humility.

Tulsidas, who was another famous poet of that era, came to know about it and he wrote a couplet for Rahim and sent it to him. The couplet meant to ask him the reason for lowering of eyes while giving alms to the needy.  Tulsi Das wrote:

“Aisi deni den jyun, Kit sikhe ho sen

Jyun Jyun Kar uchon karo, Tayon Tayon niche nain”.

Rahim Das was aware that Tulsidas already knew the reason of his action and he merely wrote a couplet to make him say something via couplet. To which Rahim replied through another couplet. He wrote:

“Den har koi aur hai, Bhejat jo din rain,

Log bharam hum par kare, Taso niche nain”.

Status of Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana in the Mughal Court:

Rahim was admired and was held in high regard during the reign of Emperor Akbar. Other than the tile of Khan-i-Khanna he was awarded the title of Mirza and was awarded the military rank of Paanch Hazari i.e. 5000 Mansab by the Mughal emperor Akbar.

 But during the reign of Jahangir, he lost his status. As he and his sons were against with Jehangir being the next king. Because they were against Jahangir succeeding the throne, Jahangir killed two sons of Rahim at the Khooni Darwaza in Delhi. It is said that Jahangir took away most of the powers of Rahim and was made to live a miserable life during his last days.  

Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana

History of Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana:

Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana was built in the year 1598 by Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana for his wife Mah Banu Begum. It was the first Mughal tomb to be ever built for a woman in India. Hence this tomb is called the original symbol of love.  After the death of Khan-i-Khana Rahim he was also buried in the same complex close to his beloved wife and there after this monument came to be known as Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana.

And hence Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana is considered to be the inspiration behind the world famous monument ‘Taj Mahal’. It was built near the burial of Saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya as Muslims consider it auspicious to be buried near the grave of a saint. Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana has suffered a great deal in the past. In 1753-1754 red sandstones, marbles and slabs were robbed-off from this monument to build the tomb of Safdarjung. This led to this stunning monument looking like an ill patient.

Despite the fact that Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana is situated so close to Humayun’s tomb which is a world heritage site it remained neglected and at the verge of decay for quite a long time. Finally in 2014 ASI with the help of Aga Khan Trust (AKTC) and Inter globe foundation started its restoration process. The condition of the monument so bad that if it was ignored further it could have collapsed completed.

The architecture of Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana:

The Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana is an architectural masterpiece of the Mughal era. It has similar designs to that of Humayun Tomb. 

Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana was originally built with red sandstone and Marble stands on a high plinth. The plinth of the tomb has a lot of arched cells all around the opening of the cells are border by designs and decorations. Small tanks bearing varied designs are marked along the plinth.

Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana is undoubtedly a stunning monument of the Mughal era. The tomb is adorned with various geometric, floral patterns and some beautiful inscriptions that add the beauty of the structure. The inner part of the tomb has graves of Rahim and Mah Banu (his wife).

 One of the most striking features of the Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana is its majestic dome, the big medallion which is placed in the middle is enclosed by eight smaller medallions. Another architectural excellence feature, that is seen in many Mughal monuments is that inside of the building is comparatively cooler than the outside, the same technique has been incorporated in the Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana as well.     

This double storey structure topped with a mighty dome stands on a high plinth. Although the ornamentation, marble, and sandstone were stripped off in 1754. Still, the monument does not look less than magnificent.

The cenotaph of Rahim is situated on the first floor of the tomb, it is crafted beautifully, fine patterns and stucco work can be seen of the grave.  

Restoration of the Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana:

In the year 1923, some urgent and quick fix kind of restoration was carried out the Tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan–i–Khana. But it was done to a very limited extent. Due to a limited budget, this restoration could not be carried in a proper and complete manner. Although at that time repair was not done in the most precise manner but it was the reason behind that this majestic monument is still there and hasn’t collapsed completely.

In 2014 a proper restoration project was launched. As of Dec 2018, this work was not completed. We hope that when the repair and restoration of this stunning piece of architecture is completed we get to see it like was made by Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana for his wife.

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