There are places that enthral your conscience with their sheer buzz and electrifying atmosphere. And then, there are those that evoke your thought process just by the virtue of their mysterious silence.
It was in the search of the latter that I started on my quest to unravel the puzzle surrounding ‘Jamali Kamali’. The name would seem funny to many. But, if you ask me, for a person who’s out there to explore the rich heritage of Delhi, this is one of the factors that sets the monument apart from the others.
So who really were Jamali and Kamali?? Were they two different persons or the same?? What was their relationship?? With an extremely inquisitive state of mind, I entered into the compound, located in Mehrauli Archaeological Park, Delhi.
Inside the premise, you’ll come across two monuments adjacent to each other; a mosque and a tomb. The mosque, built during 1528-29, is one of the earliest specimens of the Mughal mosque architecture in India. Built in red sandstone, there has been a use of marble to make it look more attractive. There are five arches, the central one being the grandest and the most decorated.
I used a small gate on the extreme corner of the mosque’s boundary wall to enter the tomb complex. There are graves scattered all around here, the identities of which are unknown. The tomb structure is built in the centre. There are two marble graves inside; one of Jamali, and the other of Kamali.
Jamali was the epithet given to Sheikh Fazlullah, also known as Sheikh Jamali Kamboh, or Jalal Khan. He was a highly regarded Sufi saint, and was a court poet during the reign of Sikandar Lodi (1489-1517). Such was the respect he commanded, that he was held in a high esteem even by the Mughals, under the reign of Babur and Humayun. Jamali died in 1535 and was buried in this tomb, which, along with the mosque, was already constructed before his death, during the period 1528-29.
Now, who was Kamali?? Alas, a definite answer to this question can never be dug out from the quarters of history..He remains an unknown person till date. A plethora of theories have shot up in the due course, trying to throw light on his true identity. Many people believe him to be a close disciple or ‘murid’ of Jamali, who wished to be buried alongside his mentor.
There is another school of thought that considers Kamali to be Jamali’s wife. Kamali died before him, so Jamali built the tomb in her remembrance, and after his death, got himself buried next to her. Some others perceive him to be Jamali’s brother while there are also those who consider him to be Jamali’s faithful servant…
Well, it’s all up to you to take your pick from the suggested theories. But Kamali is, and would remain an enigma forever. We are not even sure whether it was Kamali’s real name or he has been given this name just because it rhymes with that of Jamali……
Now, coming back to the tomb, I must admit, I had never come across such a beautifully decorated and well preserved tomb ever. The ceiling, plastered and painted in red and blue, is simply astonishing and left me speechless. The walls are inscribed with Jamali’s poems. Such was the aura inside there, that it gave me a feeling of getting transported back to the early 16th century!!
The Jamali Kamali complex stands deserted today. Centuries have passed, and time has taken a toll on the structures. But it has certainly not succeeded in suppressing its character. The legends, fables and myths have not let it get erased from the memories since generations.
In today’s Delhi, Jamali Kamali is considered to be a haunted and a mysterious place. People have shared their creepy experiences, ranging from spotting an unknown figure to hearing someone laughing from behind (and turning back to find nobody)!! There are those who say they sensed someone walking along with them, while some have confessed of getting slapped by an invisible force!!!! Some have also heard weird voices coming from the grave area.
It is for these paranormal reasons that the Jamali Kamali has started to be known as the ‘home of Djinns’. Every Thursday evenings, fakirs assemble here and connect with them….
The legend of Jamali Kamali grows with time. It seems that the place and the term ‘mystery’ have a perennial relationship, and would always walk hand in hand. I tried to unravel it, but am still not able to make up my mind whether I really succeeded or not…Maybe, you should give it a try yourself..
The ‘Saint’ and the ‘Unknown one’ would welcome you with open arms!!!!!!!!!
Location: Mehrauli Archaeological Park
How to get there:
By road: It is located on MG road. If you are coming from Delhi, it will be on your right. Reach Anuvrat Marg and take a u-turn from Qutub Minar Metro station. You will find the entrance gate just ahead of a flower nursery.
By Metro : Nearest Metro station is Qutub Minar. Turn to your right on Anuvrat Marg. The park would be on your left at a distance of around 500m.
Entrance Fee: Nil
Parking: Right next to ‘Jamali Kamali’