Location: One of the quaint exhibitions of sacred shrines, Nili Chhatri, is enticing the heart of India (Delhi) while being stood in Yamuna Bazaar area adjacent to Nigambodh Ghat on the bank of River Yamuna. The chronicles of Delhi are stuffed with the exclusive narration of its admiring features.

Presiding deity: Lord Shiva

Founder of the shrine: Yudhishthhir, the eldest son of Pandava.

Historical significance of the shrine: The chronicles of epic Mahabharata reveal that this pilgrimage dedicated to lord Shiva was built by Pandavas, under the special guidance of Yudhishthhir. More wings to its incredibility and utility used to be added when ‘Ashwamedh Yajna’ was conducted there.

But the excerpt from Carr Stephen (in 1876) mentioned in the annals of “The Archeology and Monumental Remains of Delhi” unveils that Nili Chhatri was a tomb. The blue caustic tiles have inspired the onlookers and its admirers to coin the term “Nili Chhatri” as its name.

Description of the shrine:

  • Tomb: The shrine Nili Chhatri used to be a tomb built in 1565 for providing abode to demised remains of Naubat Khan. Naubat Khan used to be a state official (mansabdar) during the reign of the great Mughal emperor ‘Akbar’.
  • Enclosure area: Amidst Purana Qila and the tomb of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, this pilgrimage has its place that is built enclosing several acres of land.
  • Structural analysis:
    • Walls: The charisma of its entire structure resembling at the time of its origin is non-extant but the signature of ‘the shrine at its marvel’ still looks magnetic.
    • Gateway: Though the walls of the shrine have begun revealing its ravaging condition but its gateway is standing in pretty good condition. 
    • Inscriptions: The inscriptions scripted at the entrance of the tomb’s wall with black marble inlaid on sandstone give clue of astounding architecture and the incredible work of dexter artisans.
    • Doors: A small building is built with three doors at the rear of the gateways.
    • Octagonal terrace: At rear of this building, an octagonal terrace about 6 feet (1.8 m) from the ground and 79 feet (24 m) in diameter is constructed. The mid section of this terrace has two flights of stairs.
    • The centre of northeastern and northwestern terrace: The mid part of the northeastern and northwestern terrace has two graves of masonry and stone. All four corners of terrace have erected piers in remnant form.
    • Centre of ‘Chabutra’: The central part of ‘Chabutra’ has mausoleum or memorial of Naubat Khan.
      • Shape of the tomb: Its shape is octagonal with 51 feet (16 m) in diameter and 34 feet (10 m) high. There are 8 arched entrances of the tomb having 5 feet (1.5 m) width and 7 feet (2.1 m) high.
      • Materials used to build it: The entire tomb is embellished with the stud like caustic tiles of four colours, i.e. green, blue, yellow and orange. 
      • Holy Inscription embossed on the tomb: The religious significance becomes more impactful via the glimpse of verses from scripture ‘Quran’ carved in the tomb.   
      • Striking features of its walls: Having flight of steps on walls of the tomb is one of the astounding features of the tomb. The 1st step of the flight leads to the leveled plain over the niches of the respective doorways. Whereas the trailing step shows way to the top of the monument.
      • Roof: The structure of the roof is constructed in octagonal shape that is 23 feet in diameter and nearly 2 feet high. The second ‘Chabutra’ on the roof has eight pillars that look awesome in blue hue.