Humayun's Tomb and its surroundings

According to traditional belief, the tomb of a saint confers sanctity on the surrounding areas, and therefore many have opted to be buried in the vicinity of a saint’s tomb. The shrines or dargahs of men like Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki (in Mehrauli) and Nasiruddin Mahmud `Roshan Chiragh-e-Dehli’ (in Chiragh Dilli) are surrounded by dozens of graves, of both illustrious and obscure persons. The dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya is a case in point. Around it, within a radius of about a kilometre, are literally hundreds of graves – including those of some of Delhi’s most famous residents. The core of the area is the enclosure of the dargah itself, the burial place of the saint who died in 1325 but has been the object of continuous veneration. The shrine is the heart of a bustling centre of pilgrimage. Most pilgrims visit just the venerated structures in the complex – the tomb of Nizamuddin Auliya and that of his famous disciple Amir Khusro, who is buried nearby, the baoli or step-well, and the large 13th-century mosque which lies to the west of the shrine. There are within the shrine compound itself the tombs and graves of several other famous personalities, which deserve a visit. In the immediate vicinity of the shrine enclosure is the basti. This is a residential complex as old as the shrine itself, housing those associated with the shrine. The houses themselves, being of less solid materials than the tombs or mosques, have been constantly re-built and most are therefore quite modern. Beyond the basti is a wider area across which many tombs are scattered – usually belonging to those who aspired to a bigger mausoleum than could be accommodated close to the dargah!

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