Imperial & divine, the chambers of Lucknow's Nadan Mahal echo with tales of the city's culture

If peace could be materialised, it would look like Lucknow's Nadan Mahal Maqbara.

A testament to the magnificent Mughal school of architecture, the Nadan Mahal mausoleum in Lucknow stands as one of the oldest surviving buildings of historical significance in this region. Though it is not as prominent and popular as its other counterparts in the City of Nawabs, the Nadan Mahal maqbara adds the charm of serenity to the bustling city of Lucknow.


Nadan Mahal, one of Lucknow's oldest surviving monuments

Dating back to the Mughal era, Nadan Mahal stands as a link between its majestic past and an abandoned present. The epicentre of Lucknow's tranquillity, this place remains low-key among tourists and travellers. As history chronicles, this place was dedicated to Sheikh Ibrahim Chishti, the first Governer of Lucknow under the rule of the Mughal Emperor Akbar and still stands proud, despite its archaic roots.

An exotic display of the Mughal's imperial design and architecture, this structure is characterised by panelled and recessed bays that are closed on all sides. The main, south-side entrance to the chamber alone can stupefy visitors with its beautiful encrustments. The archway has a large stone tablet that reads three Persian couplets in Nastaliq style, overseeing the pivotal dome which is adorned by a lotus finial. Standing here, visitors can also see the octagonal or 8-sided drum of the dome that cements vivacious blue and green coloured tiles.

A beautiful specimen of its kind, it also has lattice screens that cover the openings on the north, west and east sides, that sieve in golden sunlight on the three complexes that stand here. While one is the domed tomb of Sheikh Ibrahim Chishti, the other two are also tombs but closed.

A statement of peaceful co-existence of Lucknow's diverse cultures

Adjacent to the entrance, lies the pavilion of the 'Solah Khamba' that gets its name from the 16-fluted pillars that support its roof. Made of brick and stone, the base and brackets of these pillars are exquisitely designed and decorated.

What catches the attention here, is the inscription of gaja mukha (elephant's head) on the pillars. They display the Indo-Islamic school of architecture in all its glory, exhibiting the peaceful co-existence of the diverse cultures in Lucknow. This raised palatial structure also bears 5 graves which are believed to be the resting grounds of the descendants of Sheikh Abdur Rahim.

Today, the park complex of the maqbara in the old part of the city is used by kids as a playing ground. One can also visit here to just sit in the calm and witness the cotton candy skies of Luckow, in this weather. You will find the monument cocooned in the Yahiyaganj locality of Lucknow and locating it can be a task. Ask around the locals to guide you to 'Chishti Sahib ka Dargah', to reach here without any hassles!

Knock Knock

Mughal architecture is intricate and detail-oriented and if you want to appreciate the sheer diligence of its nuances, away from bustling crowds, then this is just the place for you. A forgotten world, this imperial mausoleum exudes a fascinating aura, transporting you into the era of yore.

Location: 257/94, Shankar Dayal Rd, Khajuha, Kundari Rakabganj, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 226004, India.

Timing: 6 AM to 10 PM, open all days of the week

Entry Fee: Free entrance


-Photo credits: Pawan Kaushal

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