Friday, 5 July 2013

Historia - Safdarjung's Tomb, New Delhi

[My husband and I are what you call a “monumental-ly” crazy couple – rain, hail, sun or very hot sun, not much can deter us from visiting places of historical note when we have the time. Thus, soon as our son learnt to recognize us as his crazy parents, we wanted to introduce him to our shared historical hobby – to be one with history, capture it and immediately plan for the next weekend. “Historia” will be a series of informal articles on various forts, palaces and monuments we have visited over our years together. Our idea is to simply share our experience and knowledge of the place, pin-up some frames and sign-off with a few traveller tips. Bite-sized History, for quick and easy consumption!] 

Sometimes, it helps if the real merit of a historical site is not known to the crowds. Safdarjung’s Tomb is one such site. If you were to tie up the eaters in Khan market and the walkers in Lodhi Gardens to a little stone and throw them towards the Tomb, chances are they would land there before the pasta cooled down or the next 100 meters got walked. Safdarjung lies entombed that close to happy and happening humanity, yet that far from their minds. And that is good - for that beauty in solitude, in silence and in experiencing a monument as if put there exclusively for your senses.  

We wanted to capture the glory of this site in the Golden Hour (no, it’s not about jewellery. It’s the one hour after sunrise, or the one just before sunset - in this case the latter). You have to see it to believe me how glorious this last one hour of the day’s Sun is. The sunlight thickens to a deep orange hue, the leaves don’t seem green any more but made of gold and the shadows suddenly seem to acquire a depth and a slant which you have never seen before.

 Built in 1754 in the late Mughal Empire style, Safdarjung's Tomb was described as "the last flicker in the lamp of Mughal architecture". Here are a few pictures taken by us in the last flicker of the Sun. And look what it did to Safdarjung’s resting place, as it began sketching lines of darkness and light.   

There are 2 graves here. One of Safdarjung and one presumably his wife's

A doorway into the past

Hazy history


And then the Sun set

What we have to say:

1. The best time to visit is in the evening, as has been amply stressed above. A secret - fading light without too many people around makes for excellent PDA, sans public that is.
2. The place is very well-maintained. Perhaps because it is not just small but also less popular with littering tourists. And since it is small, it can be done before the heat gets the better of you or nature calls. For the latter, as usual, no facility on the premises.
3. There is enough parking space. We only saw a HO-HO bus, with tourists missing.
4. The ticket guys are quite smart. They try to keep your counterfoil to reuse later. Just so with the parking guys all across Delhi. Make sure you have yours in your pocket. Makes good stickers for memorabilia scrapbooks, and prevents wrong-doing.
5. If in the mood, carry that book. We saw scope and space for a good reading session. 
6. The main fountain does not work. We wish it did, though! Would have kept our son's eyes busy elsewhere as we held hands here and took this magnificence in!  

(For a closer look, just click on any picture for the whole series to unravel)


  1. Great Review, and marvellous photographs, loved both. Would love to have some more technical details about the photographs. You have really used the light and the shadows very well. Even I am what you call monumentally crazy. Unfortunately my wife doesn't share this passion, fortunately she motivates me to explore and nurture it.

    1. Dear Ronin,
      Thank you for liking our photographs. I am what you call an amateur photographer and any technical details about the photographs you see above can be furnished by my husband, who has a more informed approach towards pressing 'click' than I do. Good to know you are monumentally crazy too, and even better that your wife lets you be that. :D
      Good to see you here!

  2. History was not at all a favorite subject of mine but as I grew older, the idea of history changes and love blossomed. Loved the introduction to the tomb and the pictures.

    1. Thank you, Jas. Glad you liked it. :)
      (PS - I know you meant 'changed'. With me you don't need to correct it. )

  3. Nice pictures...Dilli ke yaad aa gayi :-)

    Here's a website that another fan has put together meticulously -


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