As I was on HOHO, I’m not sure how accessible this place is for people looking round Delhi. Research tells me that the nearest metro station is 2km away and it might be quite pricey to get a tuk-tuk from Central Delhi to here. But what I will say is that if you make the effort to get here, it’s so worth it. This was one of my favourite sites in India – I was so overwhelmed that I was unsure how the Taj Mahal was going to be able to possibly top this. It’s a really magnificent building based in beautiful grounds. I’d highly recommend taking a look.
It’s positioned just off a large roundabout at the Mathura Road/Lodhi Road crossing and when I went, the front gate was locked so I had to head down the side road and enter through the car park on the site. I think I still ended up going through the front entrance by the time I manouvred round though. I paid 250 rupees (and didn’t get short-changed this time which left me in a good mood!) to get in and was told when I entered to take my first right. I thought this was a bit odd since everyone else was moving forwards, but I did so and got a dress rehearsal for the ‘big’ tomb by getting a look at the smaller tomb of Iza Khan, which is still a fantastic building. It had a great rustic charm about it, which is odd, as I feel like I’m describing a cosy log cabin in Scotland rather than an age old Indian tomb.
I then headed back on to the main path and walked up towards Humayun’s Tomb, which is guarded by two large and impressive gates. When entering the first gate, if you pause for a second, you can see the large dome of the tomb poking above the second gate. The gates themselves are actually really intricate and interesting to look at.
But I was truly blown away when I walked through the second gate and got to see the tomb in all its glory. I think part of my admiration was because I knew I was getting a glimpse of what it would be like to see the Taj Mahal in a few days time, but in a way that explanation doesn’t do the tomb justice. The true reason I was blown away is because it is such a stunning and beautifully crafted building.
I can’t quite put my finger on what it was – it was just captivating to look at. The intricate patterns which covered it were quite something but even just the shape and design of the building had a certain quirkiness. In an age of skyscrapers and sleek, modern buildings, it was just nice to see something a bit different. I spent ages just walking round the outside of the building, getting some cracking photos from different angles. I found it quite funny how the tomb itself was very modest – there was nothing particularly lavish about it, yet the building that housed it was extraordinary.
In a similar vein to the Taj, I feel it’s something pictures can’t quite convey. Perhaps it’s just me – it certainly wasn’t something I’d previously read was an incredible, ‘must-see’ place in Delhi. I was just blown away by it and it wasn’t hard to see why it was a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I’m also wary of selling it too much. One of the reasons I loved it so much was that it surprised me, in that I didn’t know much about it so it took me aback a little to see how good it was. I’m conscious that sitting here raving about it is going to build up expectatiions, but I really did find it that good.
With the drizzle now starting to wain, I continued my excitement by getting an ice cream from a vendor outside and then waited for the bus to take me to the next tomb – Safdarjang’s Tomb. It had a lot to live up to and, though I liked it, I’m not entirely sure doing two tombs in a row was necessarily a good way of spreading out my sightseeing in Delhi.
Don’t get me wrong, this tomb was still good to see and if you’re in the area, I’d take a look, particularly as it’s 150 rupees less than Humayun’s Tomb, for all you bargain hunters (100 rupees entry for foreigners). But by going to see it straight after, I felt like I was seeing the slightly downgraded version of Humayun. The Fiat Punto to Humayun’s Ferrari. Leaving a day or even a couple of hours in between them both might have warmed me towards this tomb a bit more.
But, certainly, there was nothing wrong with it. It was laid out in much the same fashion with nice grounds and a still very impressive tomb. It was smaller but still had a majestic feel to it and it was nice to walk round, though, as I say, a little too similar to the previous tomb for me to fully enjoy it. This was bad planning on my part though. Had I seen Safdarjang’s tomb first, or visited it a bit later, I’d have enjoyed it more so I wouldn’t want to warn people off going. If choosing between the two though, I’d definitely say Humayun’s was a more impressive site. Poor Safdarjang. He’s probably got tomb envy.
Whether you choose to visit one or both of these tombs, they’re both fantastic structures, rich in history and located on stunning grounds so you shouldn’t be disappointed. If you are keeping a diary or travel blog though, I’d advise sticking to Humayun’s Tomb – I’ve only just today worked out how to spell Safdarjang and I’m almost certain there’ll be an incorrect spelling littered somewhere in this post. Good job ‘Taj Mahal’ is easy to spell…