Nestled on a saddle of high ground, KHULDABAD, also known as Rauza, is an old walled town famous for a wonderful crop of onion-domed tombs. Among the Muslim notables deemed worthy of a patch of earth in this most hallowed of burial grounds (“Khuldabad” means “Heavenly Abode”) were the emperor Aurangzeb himself, who raised the town’s granite battlements and seven fortified gateways, a couple of nizams, and a fair few of the town’s Chishti founding fathers.

The last of the great Mughals’ tomb lies inside a whitewashed dargah, midway between the North and South gates. The grave itself is a humble affair decorated only by the fresh flower petals scattered by visitors, open to the elements instead of sealed in stone. The devout emperor insisted that it be paid for not out of the royal coffers, but with the money he raised in the last years of life by selling his own hand-quilted white skullcaps. Aurangzeb chose this as his final resting place primarily because of the presence, next door, of Sayeed Zain-ud-Din’s tomb, which occupies a quadrangle separating Aurangzeb’s grave from those of his wife and second son, Azam Shah. Locked away behind a small door in the mausoleum is Khuldabad’s most jealously guarded relic, the Robe of the Prophet, revealed to the public once a year on the twelfth day of the Islamic month of Rabi-ul-Awwal, when the tomb attracts worshippers from all over India. Directly opposite Zain-ud-Din’s tomb is the Dargah of Sayeed Burhan-ud-Din, a Chishti missionary buried here in 1334. The shrine is said to contain hairs from the Prophet’s beard, which magically increase in number when they are counted each year.

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