The initiative is a project of the Aga Khan Development Network
Landscaping and Conservation of Mirza Ghalib’s tomb enclosure

The cultural significance of Mirza Ghalib’s Tomb provide dignity to the historical character of the Protected Monument

Restoring serenity to the tomb enclosure despite being located on a busy street which is also a primary access to the Dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya.

Enhancing the urban setting of the tomb - a setting that brings dignity to the enclosure and allows visitors a place of contemplation. A cultural venue has been created in the Basti which is actively used to hold poetry recitals in memory of the poet.

"Mirza Ghalib was a very significant personality of Hindustani culture and his tomb’s setting needs to sensitively reflect that – as the ongoing works will!"

Mr. K.N. Shrivastava
Former Director General
Archaeological Survey of India

Within Nizamuddin are the tombs of India’s most famous poets – Amir Khusrau, Abdur Rahim, Mirza Ghalib – amongst others.

Mirza Asad Ullah Khan Ghalib (1797 – 1869) is acknowledged as the greatest literary figures of the modern age. Given the captivating spell and extreme quotability of his poetry, Ghalib today ranks with the best and undoubtedly qualifies as a world class poet. He spent the majority of his life in Delhi at a time when the city saw great change and turmoil. His tomb is located in a large open courtyard adjacent to the Ghalib Academy.

The area comprising of Chausath Khamba, Urs Mahal courtyard and Mirza Ghalib Tomb, form the largest open space in Nizamuddin Basti. As part of the project, it has been sensitively designed in a landscape scheme by Shaheer Associates, integrating the three monuments, thereby enhancing the cultural significance of the place.

Mirza Ghalib’s tomb stands on a busy street, lined with hawkers and shopkeepers. This road, also called the Dargah road is one of the primary access roads to the Dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, and therefore crowded with pilgrims. Inspite of such a significant setting, the tomb was not visited by tourists and pilgrims to the Dargah. The enclosure had unsightly metal grills as fence, and therefore was not considered as an appropriate setting for a monument of such national importance.

The landscape design has created a courtyard effect which allows small gatherings and enhances the character of the enclosure as well as the street. The design uses traditional building materials and craft techniques. The paving in hand-chiseled sandstone and marble significantly enhances the historic character. A marble inscription with a couplet of the poet inscribed on it was also erected. Tree pits left in the enclosure have 1.5 m deep brick walls built around them to prevent damage from mongoose. The Delhi Quartzite enclosure wall, which includes sandstone screens provides a serene space that allows contemplation and holding an occasional mushaira, in honour of the famous 19th century poet.

Over 550 art objects from the collection of the Museum at Ghalib Academy including coins, seals, and stamps have been documented. The inventory of the Museum objects along with the condition assessment report on the collection of paintings have been prepared and submitted to the Ghalib Academy. A detailed design proposal for the up gradation of the Ghalib Museum was prepared and submitted to the Ghalib Academy.