Anarkali Tomb

A tomb, thought to be that of Anarkali, is situated on the premises of the Punjab Civil Secretariat in Lahore, Pakistan and now houses the Punjab Records Office. Previously, it had been transformed into a Christian church by the British. A bazaar located nearby on The Mall Road is named Anarkali bazaar after Anarkali. It is one of the oldest surviving markets in Pakistan, dating back at least 200 years.

The mausoleum is an octagonal building covered with a dome. At each corner of the building is an octagonal turret surmounted with a kiosk. In olden times, this building was surrounded by a garden that had at its entrance a double-storeyed gateway but no trace of the garden survives. The building houses a monolithicsarcophagus. On the sarcophagus are inscribed 99 names of Allah and the Persian couplet:


āh! gar man bāzbīnamrūīyār-e khīshrā

I would give thanks unto my God unto the day of resurrection

Ah! could I behold the face of my beloved once more 

On the northern side of the sarcophagus are inscribed the words (majnūn Saleem Akbar, the one profoundly enamored by Saleem, son of Akbar).

The sarcophagus also bears two dates, given in both letters and in numerals: 1008 Hijri (AD 1599-1600) on the eastern side of the sarcophagus and 1024 Hijri (AD 1615-16) on the western side.

Scholar Ahsan Quraishi mentions one more inscription in the tomb, that is said[who?] to have been destroyed by General Ventura, the French mercenary fighting for the Sikhs, who used the monument as his residence. The contents of this extinct Persian inscription can be translated as follows: "The innocent who is murdered mercilessly and who dies after enduring much pain, is a martyr. God considers him/her a martyr".

Although the name of Anarkali is not mentioned in any of these inscriptions but on the basis of the contents of these inscriptions, a group of scholars construe that the person buried in the memorial is no other than Anarkali. Of the two dates, the first is believed to be that of the execution of Anarkali and the second one as the date of the erection of the tomb. But this supposition cannot be correct because Akbar was not at Lahore in 1008 hijri. He had already left it for Agra in 1007 (hijri ) (in November 1598). So the story about Anarkali being buried alive by the orders of Akbar cannot be correct.