Zafar Mahal

Palace, Tombs, Mosque From Mughal Era

The biting rays of the summer's sun have permeated the atmosphere. Seeking the refuge from the pervasive heat, the royal family retreats to quiet jungles of Mehrauli.

While the landscape has drastically changed since these days, the ruins of the Zafar Mahal ('Victory Palace') still stand. Its main gate rises upwards announcing the grandeur of old. Built by Akbar Shah II, it was later inhabited by Bahadur Shah Zafar II from whom it received its name, meaning 'Victory Palace'.

Zafar II, the final Mughal Emperor, represents a turning point in Mehrauli and Indian history as the British initiated their political rule over the country. A devoted Sufi, Zafar II desired to be buried along the edge of the palace beside his private masjid (Moti Masjid) and the Dargah of Khwala Qutubiddin Bakhtiar Kaki. But he was deported to Burma (now Myanmar) by the British where he lived out the remainder of his days and was buried.

His tomb bears this simple Sufi poem:

Kitna hai badnaseeb Zafar! Dafn ke liye,
(How unlucky is Zafar! For burial,)
Do gaz zameen bhi mil na saki kuye yaar mein.
(even two yards of land were not to be had in his beloved land.)

Today, an empty plot absent of its rightful occupant lays in the Zafar Mahal graveyard, and the palace of the long displaced emperor remains as a still reminder of time past.
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- Period: 18th Century - Hours: 10 AM - 6 PM - Cost: 0 - Attire: No Special Requirements
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