Cypress Tomb

Cypress Tomb (Saruwala Maqbara) is in close vicinity of the Gulabi Bagh and lies directly in the north of Dai Anga's tomb, it is not accessible from there due to the various buildings that have been constructed in the area. No doubt, at one time the gardens of these sepulchers were inter-connected.

To visit the unusual monument of Cypress Tomb, you will have to take a left turn on Begampura Road going east on G.T. Road. Turning right (east) through a locality known as Sharif Park and turning left again (north) you will reach your destination. The tomb, however, is not directly visible, because of the houses that surround the monument. But once the location is pointed out and as you turn left, you will not have any difficulty in locating it since it is only slightly set back from the road, and is accessible by car.

The tomb of Sharf-un-Nisa Begam is popularly known as 'Saruwala' Maqbara because of images of cypress trees rendered in square ceramic tiles, rather than the tile mosaic seen in Gulabi Bagh Gateway, as a decorative feature. The begam was a sister of Nawab Zakariya Khan, governor of Lahore during the reign of Emperor Mohammad Shah.

The tomb was the last worth nothing building of the later Mughal Period constructed at Lahore in 1745. The tower-like form, sporting slightly battered walls, is unique in itself. The tomb for its unusual shape and facade decoration of cypress motif is considered to be the jewel of Mughal architecture at Lahore.

The building was constructed to cater to Sharf-un-Nisa Begam's requirement of daily visits to the first floor chamber, 16' above the ground. There, after reading the Holy Quran she would deposit the holy book as well as her jeweled sword, descending by means of a removable wooden ladder. After her death she was buried in the same chamber, along with a copy of the holy book and her jeweled sword. Respecting her wishes to keep her mortal remains out of sight and inaccessible, all openings were blocked up, providing a blank appearance in the battered walls on all four sides.

Due to the desecration carried out on this 18th century tomb during the Sikh rule—it was believed that the tower contained treasure, and breaking open the tomb, the holy book and jeweled sword were removed—decorative features are extant only in the upper part of this two-storey structure.

Square in plan, the tomb is a solid, tower-like tapering brick structure with chajja near the top of the dome. The chamber is covered by a single dome of a four-sided pyramidal shape. The drum has a low neck. A band of color glazed tiles runs around the neck of the dome. It is embellished with the attributes of Allah in superb calligraphy. The burial chamber can only be approached by the use of a moveable ladder. The idea behind such structure is that even the grave of the purdah observing lady should be kept out of the view of public. The low pitched four-sided pyramidal dome, over a double drum, is a unique feature of this tomb. The dome is covered with glazed tiles in blue and white colors finished in zig-zag patterns. The projecting chajja (eaves), and a pyramidal low roof, similar to one seen in the tomb of Hazrat Mian Mir provides a fitting termination.

The exterior of the tomb is embellished with colorful cypress trees. These cypresses, four on each side, are intercepted by little blooming flower plants, all in enamelled square tile mosaic work on the plaster base. The tomb was surrounded by a large garden at the time of its construction,  however; now it is hemmed in by houses, leaving a small garden which is used by the local youth to play cricket, as is the case in many of the remaining tomb gardens.

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