Sultan Iltutmish (1211–1236) constructed the Sultan Ghari Tomb, a fortified mausoleum in Delhi, for his eldest son Prince Nasir-ud-Din Mahmud. According to an inscription on the eastern portal, it was built in 1231 AD and is believed to be the very first monumental tomb on the Indian subcontinent.
The tomb is located on the Mehrauli–Mahipalpur Road, 8 km west of the Qutub complex, near MalakpurKohi village. Just across the tomb is Vasant Kunj Sector- C, Pocket-8.
The tomb holds a religious symbol as well. The tomb is treated as the dargah of a saintly “peer” by devotees of both Hindu and Muslim religious groups in the nearby villages surrounded near Vasant Kunj, especially in the areas of Mahipalpur and Rangpuri. Locals had known the devoted place as PEER BABA KI MAZAR. A visit to the tomb is almost mandatory for newlyweds from these two villages. Thursday is a specific day for worship at this tomb, when Hindus and Muslims alike come to pay their respects to the shrine, which reflects a festive show of Hindu-Muslim religious tolerance.
The monument complex has a lovely burnished colour to it. It resembles like a fortress in the wilderness, with wall enclosures and bastions on the corners, as thick shrubs make their mark all around. The central complex contains an octagonal underground grave chamber, which is surrounded by a rubble-packed structure. The inner structure has a ceiled prayer chamber supported by pillars, with bastions and small domes atop the enclosing walls. The tomb was constructed on the site of a Hindu temple and displays Hindu masonry such as lintels and sculpted 7th-century panels.
The heritage zone has been expanded to 61.8 acres, and it is divided into zones based on topographical features to ensure proper restoration. The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has certified the tomb as a Grade A Monument, and the Delhi Urban Heritage Foundation has been tasked with restoring it to its former glory. The Delhi Development Authority of Vasant Kunj is putting this proposal into action.
Till now, DDA undertook the following construction of the activities. Firstly, the tomb’s gates were designed with dolphur sandstones to match the Sultan Ghari tomb’s architectural environment, using the same technique that was used for the domes. Second, a 100-meter restricted area and a 200-meter controlled area have been delineated and fenced, with four access paths/tracks leading to the main tomb. A water harvesting plan has been updated to partly fulfil the water requirements for watering the plants and trees in the tomb’s park. Finally, the ASI’s control extends only up to 300 metres from the tomb, as the Army have created a multi-tracking zone around it for urban growth.
Sultan Ghari is a time-capsule monument, with its rustic and rugged settings adding to its antiquity and mystery. But the most surprising feature of the tomb is that it is a much-loved memorial in a private, intimate way. It is revered as a holy site, and people can often be found praying here. Like the crypt, it seems that faith has become timeless. The tomb of Vasant Kunj is like a shining beacon for both Hindus and Muslims.
The closest metro station is Chattarpur. From here, one can either take a bus or a shared taxi to Airport/Mahipalpur. One crosses several landmarks before reaching the destination, which are Vasant Square Mall, ISIC Hospital, TERI University, and finally Ryan International School. For the front entrance, getting off near ISIC hospital (Indian Spinal Injuries Centre) at Vasant Kunj Sector- C is advisable. One can also choose Ryan International School a bit ahead of it for the back entrance.