Three of these tombs were built during the Sayyid and Lodi period, and are located in Kotla Mubarakpur (Mubarak Shah, mid-15th century) and Lodi Gardens (Muhammad Shah, mid-15th century, and Sikandar Lodi, early-16th century). Another is from the Suri interregnum, located near Humayun’s Tomb (Isa Khan, mid-16th century). However, the first of the series (and the first octagonal tomb built in India) is that of Khan-i-Jahan Tilangani (mid-14th century), prime minister to Firoz Shah Tughlaq. This tomb is located in the winding lanes of Nizamuddin basti, south of Nizamuddin Auliya’s dargah.
Till recently, Tilangani’s tomb was almost completely enclosed by present-day construction, built by multiple families living in different parts of the structure. A few months ago, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture started the process of relocating the families and clearing a portion of the area around the tomb. The central chamber was made accessible and many feet of accumulated earth and debris were removed to reveal multiple graves. The structure is being strengthened to prevent collapse. As more of the edifice is painstakingly uncovered, the detailing and elegance of its architecture are slowly being exposed.