Nakodar is not a famous town of Punjab but any traveller who has done enough pre-trip research would not miss it. I arrive at Nakodar in search of two mausoleums dedicated to some religious teacher during the time of Jehangir. I enquire around for directions to these monuments and I find them quite easily.
Unlike great monuments elsewhere in the country, these two are right next to busy roads that have no choice but to go around them. Due to their accessible location, they stand as buildings next door. They stand rather humbly and even unnoticed. The busy traffic ignores them outright. So when I see them for the first time I am surprised. The monuments are beautiful and grand but they don’t flaunt that grandeur like many others of their genre. The end result is that these two monuments are not very well known amongst tourist circles but they are among the best of Islamic India.
There is no information board to tell me about the history or dedication of these two mausoleums. I have to satisfy myself with the finer points of art and architecture. The mausoleums differ from each other in many ways. Because they stand facing each other, it becomes an interesting study to compare their designs. I find it difficult to decide which of the pair is more beautiful.
One of them is a square building with octogonal towers rising at all four corners. The towers stand fused to the building and only five faces are visible. Each tower ends in a dome supported on a kiosk of eight arches. The domes end in little finials. At the center is a high dome ending with an inverted lotus and finials. High central arches are on all four sides but only the southern one allows access to the inside. The others contain beautiful jalis. The entire tomb rests on a platform about 8 feet high. Recessed blind arches line the platform on all sides. On the south, a pair of stairs lead to the building. Beautiful mosaic of glazed tiles decorated the outer walls of the monument. An enclosed space on the eastern side enshrines a separate tomb.
The other mausoleum is less ornate and more austere by design. The basic design is of a chamfered square. There are no corner towers. Instead a pair of small kiosks stand on top of the eastern and western arches. This means that the mausoleum has a different balance when viewed from north or south as opposed to views from east or west. I personally like the balance from the north and south. In this view, the little kiosks are kept to the sides, the main dome is prominently seen and balanced by the kiosks. The walls contain both murals and glazed tilework. The murals are faded and tiles too have suffered more than those of the other monument.
There is one more important difference between the two buildings – the high central arches. In the first one, the arch curves into the recess as it joins the back wall. Taj Mahal is an example of this style. In the second one, the arch rises in strict fashion from the front to the back. I am told that Humayun’s tomb is an example of this style. I have to look it up when I am in Delhi.
The little park next to them is decent. I walk around taking in the monuments from all possible angles. Some school kids come by and play around for a while. Caretakers of the place are busy in a shed preparing tea. I take some pictures, pick up my backpack head to my next destination.