Thursday, 16 April 2015

NUSRAT KHAN TOMB

Nawab Nusrat Khan alias Khawaja Sabir belonged to a distinguished family of nobles and received the title of Khan-e-Dauran from Shah Jahan. He died at Lahore in 1659 and the present mausoleum was raised to his memory by Aurangzeb.

My Journey of Two years for getting permission to visit this Tomb:-

Two years back, I was searching the list of Tombs present in Lahore. Most of them, I had seen in past or at least know there locations. Then there was a name came in front of me, “Nusrat Khan Tomb”. I had never heard about it and also did not know about its location or see any of its pictures. I thought it might be vanished in past and may be some ruined exists of it. Only information which I got on internet that it was located few kilometers from Kokaltash’s tomb. At that time, I did not have idea that it is inside the grounds of carriage shop. So the search begins after my office work, I reached near Kokaltash tomb and asked from locals is there any tomb there. There were very funny interesting answers. Someone was telling me about Mian Mir Tomb and someone speaking me about Madhu Lal Tomb. Then I reached near the Chabacha stop there was railway line coming out of carriage railway workshop. Few railway policeman were standing there, I also inquired the directions from them. They were not sure about the name but they told me same structures like Kokaltash also exists inside the carriage workshop but it was using as Mosque and they did not know was there any grave inside . So at last the mystery solved. I asked them how to visit there. They told come at early 8 in the morning and take permission from inspector railway deputed at Railway Carriage. Next morning, I reached there and meet the inspector. There was quite interesting conversation. Firstly I told him my reason of my visit. He answered there is no tomb exists inside. Secondly he questioned, do I visit there for making documentary film? He again questioned, you looks an educated guy are you preparing report for some organization. I wanted to explain him I have passion to explore historical architectures but I could not able to convince him. When I was about to leave he smiled and advised take promise from headquarters or bring some media card with you, you might get permission.
I was not disheartened in fact I got more anxious to visit it. The second attempt was discussing this site with one of friend Syed Faizan also known as Lahore ka khoji. He tried to get permission but it was also in vain. 
Thirdly I asked one of my friends and my table tennis coach as well Masood Ali, who plays table tennis for Pakistan railways to grant me permission from head quarters. He asked from seniors but they told the site is prohibited to visit as the area is sensitive.
I also asked one of my friend, who is editor in a renowned newspaper. But he also failed to get permissions.
After so many failed attempts, I again asked few of my friends who have passion of history and architecture like me. But none of them, able to get permission of visit.
At last after two years when I visited all the tombs of Lahore, I found a way how could I visit this last tomb a tricky way but it works. Someone told me meet railway worker union president. I found him and told him the reason of meeting. He was not willing first but I offered him some handsome fee for his great generous services :P. After few weeks he called me that I can come in morning but I am not allowed to bring DSLR camera with me. Well that I did not listen next I day I was there with camera bag and two mobile camera as well for Plan B. luckily at entrance they did not check my bag I have only two three minutes to see the great architecture. I took few shots all around, absorb the site in mind and left the place with feeling of accomplishment.

Location

Nusrat Khan's tomb is located at a distance of approximately ½ mile northwest of Zafar Jang Kokaltash's tomb in thegrounds of Carriage and Wagon Shops of Pakistan Railways. It can be reached by traveling north on Mughalpura Road until it ends on Workshop Road. Traveling some distance east on Workshop Road, you will reach the Pakistan Railways Carriage and Wagon Shops gate on your right. The tomb lies hidden deep within the grounds of the Carriage and Wagon Shops and is inaccessible to the general public due to the security requirements of the Pakistan Railways.

Construction

The tomb is a massive structure, built entirely of small Lahori bricks without the use of stone or Kashi Kari. The octagonal mausoleum stands in the centre of a platform of octagonal shape which is now covered with grass. The building has an ornamental niche decoration on its fa├žade and pigeon-holes in a schematic way on its dome. The double shell dome is raised over a circular drum. There is a clear evidence of tendency towards the evolution of a bulbous dome. The monotony of the circular drum is broken by rectangular panels set back slightly. On the eastern side, the drum has been pierced with a small window giving an entry to the cavity between the two shells.
At the top of the dome, there can been seen the remains of a lotus base for a pinnacle that is no longer extant. The building is surmounted by turrets of much elegance and beauty. Many of them survive to this day, however; the domes have fallen off of a few of them. The interior was decorated with paintings of different colors but unfortunately now has been paint-washed in the traditional colors of the Pakistan Railways, green and yellow. The tomb has been converted to the use of a mosque for the employees of the Carriage and Wagon Shops. Most of the arched entrances have been closed up and metal posts have been used to support a tin roof over a portion of the first storey.

Historical Background

The tomb suffered extensive damage during the reign of Ranjit Singh when the marble embellishments were removed. The tomb was also used as a private residence by General Court, a member of Ranjit Singh's army. General Court added many rooms to the building but they had all been destroyed by the early 1890s except three arches in the upper storey to the west. It was further damaged during the British time when it was turned into a hall room for military officers. The structure came to be called Gumbad Bijjar-wala on the account of people from the Bijjar tribe having lived in it after the collapse of the Sikh government.





Gurdwara Sacha Sauda