Nizam al-Din is a Chisti saint who died in 1325.1 The Chisti order is a very old school of Sufi Islam that is popular in India.2 Sufism is a denomination of Islam that embraces a mystical practice of Islam.3 The priority of a Sufi devotee is obtaining a "direct experience of the Divine." 4 A Sufi order can be affiliated with Sunni or Shiite Islam.
1. S.A.A. Naqvi, Humayun's Tomb and Adjacent Buildings (New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India, 1947), 15.
2. Catherine B. Asher, Architecture of Mughal India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), xxv.
3. Michael H. Fisher, A Short History of The Mughal Empire (New York: I.B.Tauris and Co. Ltd, 2016), 52.
4. ibid, 19.
5. Asher, Architecture of Mughal India, xxv.
6. ibid, xxvii.
7. S.A.A. Naqvi, Humayun's Tomb and Adjacent Buildings, ed. Swati Mitra and Sona Thakur (New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India, 2002), 63.
Nizam al-Din's chilla-khana is in a small cluster of buildings. A chilla-khana is, "a saint's house of meditation."5 A khanqah is, "a residential center for spiritual study."6
Outside the north¬eastern corner of the enclosure of Humayun's mausoleum are the remains of a house in the Tughluq style. Though there is no historical reference available to substantiate the fact, it is believed to be the residence of Shaikh Nizamuddin Auliya (died in 1325), whose dargah is also close by. The austere form of architecture of the building is also consistent with a 14th century date.
The house stands on a platform 3.6 metres above the ground, and once faced the river Yamuna, which used to flow past the site. It consists of a low dalan (rear-chamber) behind a simple verandah with battered walls which opens towards the east. Remains of another room with massive walls and square headed doorways stand immediately to the south-east of the dalan. The eastern adjacent room is an addition, designed to fill the gap between the room mentioned above and the house to be described below.
Close to the dalan and adjoining the north-east corner of the enclosure of Humayun's mausoleum are the remains of another double-storeyed house with a verandah on its eastern front which once faced the river. The details of the red sandstone columns and lintels supported on brackets indicate that this was a construction of the Humayun-Akbar period. The house stands structurally independent of Humayun's Tomb.7
Asher, Catherine B. "A Ray from the Sun: Mughal Ideology and the Visual Construction of the Divine." In The Presence of Light: Divine Radiance and Religious Experience, edited by Michael Kapstein, 161-94. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.
Naqvi, S.A.A. Humayun's Tomb and Adjacent Buildings. Edited by Swati Mitra and Sona Thakur. New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India, 2002.
The Delhi Walla. "City Faith: Hazrat Nizamuddin's Chilla Central Delhi."