Tomb of Ali Mardan Khan – Lahore, Pakistan - Atlas Obscura

Tomb of Ali Mardan Khan

This grand Pakistani mausoleum can only be accessed via an almost 1,000 foot long alleyway. 


The grand Tomb of Ali Mardan Khan has stood for centuries as a lovely funerary monument for the Mughal-era governor. While it was once surrounded by a lush garden, it now is largely forgotten surrounded by industrial rail yards. Adding to the sense of melancholy, the side is only accessible via a macabre passageway lined by barbwire cutting across rail yards. 

Originally built around the 1650s, the tomb holds the remains of Ali Mardan Khan, a former governor in the region. Before being buried in his lovely, octagonal tomb, Khan governed the areas of Kashmir, Lahore, and Kabul in the mid-1600s. The large brick tomb had been prepared for Khan’s mother, but when he died in 1657 and was buried adjacent to her inside, the tomb came to bear his name. At the time of its construction, it likely stood in the middle of a richly attended paradise garden, like many similar tombs. 

In its original form, the tomb was likely covered in colorful decoration, but time has taken its toll on the tomb, and the exterior is now a uniform brick color that belies its construction. Nonetheless, the iconic dome is on top of the structure. and its decorative columns still stand. Even inside, the actual tomb, which lies below ground level, is often surrounded by offerings left by visitors. Local rumor has it that Khan was considered a holy man, and many refer to the tomb as his shrine. 

Today, the garden is long gone, and the site of the historic tomb is surrounded by railway yards. To keep people out of the yards, but still allow access to the tomb, an almost 1000-foot-long passageway was created out of unbroken brick walls that enclose a narrow alleyway path. While it seems like a drab entrance to such a grand tomb, it manages to make arriving at the site all the more impressive.

Update as of January 2024: The site is closed indefinently for renovations. 

In partnership with KAYAK

Plan Your Trip

From Around the Web