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Jamali Kamali: The mysterious, haunted twin tombs of Delhi

By Dhrubaa Ghosh,

Who lies within inside two tombs? Why is this place haunted?

Jamali Kamali Mosque and Tomb was built in 1528-1529 during the reign of Sultan Babur and is located in the Archaeological Village complex of Mehrauli, Delhi. (Image: Twitter)

Some tourists who have visited Jamali Kamali, the twin tomb of Delhi, have seen a figure in white while others have felt someone breathing down their neck. There are even stories of some being watched and a tourist getting slapped by an invisible ghost. However, if we visit this haunted monument with a glorious past, we will not see any ghosts, but scribbled names over the beautiful walls and random trash left by unthinking visitors. Welcome to Jamali Kamali, Delhi’s supposedly haunted tombs built centuries ago.   

What is the Jamali Kamali complex? 
Jamali Kamali Mosque and Tomb was built in 1528-1529 during the reign of Sultan Babur. It is in the Archaeological Village complex of Mehrauli, Delhi. It consists of two similar tombs and a mosque. It shares boundary with the Qutub Minar premises. The Jamali Kamali Mosque is in an enclosed garden. It is built in the red sandstone and white marble typical of the Mughals. The complex was once even more beautiful before tourists started damaging it. It has been partially restored and entry is partially restricted now to stop damage.   

Who was Jamali?  
Jamali was the pseudonym of Sheikh Hamid bin Fazlu’llah, also known as Sheikh Jamal-ud-din Kamboh Dehlawi aka Jalal Khan. In Urdu ‘Jamal’ means beauty and positivity. Jamali was a Sufi poet who had travelled across Asia and Middle East before settling in Delhi. Jamali’s works are still read, and the most famous pieces are ‘The Spiritual Journey of the Mystics‘ and ‘The Sun and Moon‘. Jamali was offered a place in the Mughal court by Babar, where he remained till death. Humayun built this tomb for him.   

Who was Kamali? 
This is a complete mystery! But who lies in the tomb next to the famous poet? Is it a servant, a disciple, a Sufi guru or his wife? In Urdu, ‘Kamal in means miracle or wonder. An American author named Karen Chase even wrote a book on the assumed love story of Jamali and Kamali. But the most probable theory is that she was his wife, and had been buried earlier.