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 sites 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 actually 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 on top of the structure. and it’s decorative columns still stand. Even inside, the actual tomb, which lays 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 on all sides by railway yards. In order 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 actually arriving at the site all the more impressive.

Know Before You Go

This monument is located behind the fruit market at Shalimar Road near Gulabi Chowki in Mughalpura Lahore

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