Lahore: The hidden tomb of Khan-e-Jahan Bahadur Zafer Jang Kokaltash

Text and picture from Pakpics 

Tomb raider., originally uploaded by Commoner28th.

Khan-e-Jahan Bahadur zafar Jang Kokaltash was among the Nobles of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb alamgir. He died in 1697 and the tomb must have been constructed about the same time period.

The mausoleum is ocotagonal in plan with high arches on each side and stands on an octagonal platform.

Although bereft of its front, its beautiful and detailed brick masonry lends it a character entirely its own. The division of wall surface in a pattern of sunken panels would have lent itself admirably to treatment with fresco painting and possibly even tile mosaic.
Its 32′ diameter dome, raised on a drum, is reminiscent more of the dome form utilized in the tomb of Anarkali, rather than those of other nobles such as Ali Mardan Khan or Asaf Khan. This is not surprising, since Nawab Bahadur Khan, reputed to be one of Akbar’s nobles, died in 1601, which makes his tomb contemporaneous with the tomb of Anarkali, built in 1615.

The tomb’s eight sides are punctured with alcoves consisting of Timurid peshtac openings, roofed with kalib kari (stalactite or muqarnas) squinches. A 5′ high and 32′ wide podium, encircles the tomb, and is in a fair state of preservation. Some of the original fine brick paving laid in geometric patterns, which you might like to examine on the northeast portion of the podium, is still extant.

Writing at the end of the 19th century, historian Latif notes the existence of turrets with cupolas, however, those are no longer to be seen. The marble that once embellished the dome’s surface has also been lost—possibly during Ranjit Singh’s reign. In view of the popularity of funerary gardens among the Mughals, no doubt the tomb once stood in a large garden, the extent of which is no longer possible to determine.

In view of its easy accessibility from Mian Mir Cantonment, during the early British period, the tomb was considered eminently suitable for entertainment activities and served as a theatre! However, later when railway authorities took over the area once part of a historic quarter known as Mohallah Ganj, the tomb was put to a debased function of a railway storehouse. The tomb of Bahadur Khan – a lofty double-dome mausoleum of a Mogul noble – is losing its charm after several years of neglect, and no budget has been allocated for its conservation this year.

Situated near the railway crossing on the Canal Road, the mausoleum is protected under the Punjab Special Premises Act of 1975 and administratively falls under the federal government’s jurisdiction.

The multi-cusped arches, sunken panels and decorative marble of the building – now being used for occasional public gatherings – have been stained and many of the bricks in its walls are broken.

In its original setting, the tomb of Bahadur Khan stood prominently in a complex of historical buildings – Masjid-e-Qasaban (the mosque of the butchers), the tomb of Sheikh Abdul Haque (a disciple of Mian Mir), the tomb of Khan Dauran Nusrat Khan and Kos Minar. The ancient Mohalla of Khafipur (presently Mian Mir) was on its southeast.

Khan-e-Jahan Bahadur Zafar Jang was among the nobles in Aurangzeb Alamgir’s period. He was appointed the subedar of Punjab on April 11, 1691, but was dismissed in the middle of 1693. He died on November 23, 1697.

Some 19th-century scholars have identified the person buried in the tomb as Bahadur Khan, an Emir of Emperor Akbar. Since they quote no contemporary source for this, other scholars dismiss it as a case of “unanimity in ignorance”.

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One response to “Lahore: The hidden tomb of Khan-e-Jahan Bahadur Zafer Jang Kokaltash

  1. Pingback: Lahore: The hidden tomb of Khan-e-Jahan Bahadur Zafer Jang Kokaltash | Tea Break

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