Chausath Khamba is the tomb of Mirza Aziz Kokaltash, son of Atgah Khan and Jiji Anga. He was Akbar’s foster brother, and thus was known b the name ‘Kokaltash’ meaning foster brother. The tomb was built in the year 1623-24 A.D. The structure gets its name on account of the 64-columns which support the roof of the hall. Conservation works on Chausath Khamba were carried out in partnership with the Archaeological Survey of India and with support from German Embassy. The plan of this unique 16th century marble building is inspired from Iranian garden palaces and in turn inspired the Emperor Shah Jahan’s Diwan-i-Khas of the Red Fort. In one of the most complex conservation efforts ever undertaken, each marble piece, most weighing over 1000 kilos, from the 25 domed cells, was dismantled to remove the 16th century iron dowels many of which had rusted and was damaging the marble. The iron dowels were replaced with non-corrosive stainless steel prior to fixing the marble back in its original position. In the process, over 1meter deep cracks in the underlying masonry were carefully stitched and repaired. The area comprising of the Chausath Khamba, Urs Mahal courtyard and Mirza Ghalib Tomb together form the largest open space in Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti. The complex open courtyards have been recently upgraded under the ongoing urban renewal program. Three sites have been integrated by the landscape design. It has enhanced the spatial feeling of the place by replacing the solid stone wall dividing Chausath Khamba and Urs Mahal with a delicately detailed open grill iron fence – exposing the fine marble architecture of Chausath Khamba from the Urs Mahal courtyard. The courtyard of the Urs Mahal has been developed with the vision of it being the event sehan or courtyard of the Basti, to promote and introduce its rich artistic and cultural tradition.

Read more about the conservation of the Chausath Khamba