Revel in the quiet and serene atmosphere of this little-visited riverside tomb, which was built for Persian poet Afzal Khan.
Empty and peaceful, the forgotten Chini ka Rauza tomb is the perfect antidote to the crowds and chaos of the nearby Taj Mahal. Though somewhat timeworn and unkempt, this Persian-style funerary monument is nevertheless charming. Evocative flourishes hint at its original splendor. Pay your respects to the entombed poet Afzal Khan and admire what remains of the colorful glazed-tile decoration.
This monument was built in 1630s to house the tomb of scholar and poet Afzal Khan, who served as the chief minister of Emperor Shah Jahan, the emperor responsible for the Taj Mahal. It stands out from the other tombs in the area due to its Persian architecture, which was chosen to reflect Khan’s own origins. Be sure to inspect the decorative tiles on the structure. These are known as chini and are what gives the tomb its name.
As you approach, you’ll be able to see that the once elegant exterior is somewhat dilapidated. Examine the building closer though and you can identify intriguing traces of its former grandeur, evidenced in the remnants of bright colored tiles on the now predominantly dull brown façade. Look for turquoise, blue and yellow patterns and imagine how the tomb would once have looked when these vivid tiles adorned the whole exterior.
The real treasures are hidden inside. Enter the tomb and you’ll find intricate patterned tiles adorning the interior, as well as traces of paintings and inscriptions taken from Islamic texts. Visit in late afternoon and stick around for sunset. With the tranquil surrounds and view over the Yamuna River, it is a peaceful spot to watch the day transition to night.
Chini ka Rauza is situated on the east bank of the Yamuna River, about a 20-minute drive from the famous Taj Mahal tomb. Rent a cycle rickshaw or an auto-rickshaw to travel between the two. The tomb is open from sunrise to sunset.