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Left: Prior to restoration, Sabz Burj had become a roadside ruin through centuries of neglect, vandalism and poor repair. Right: Sabz Burj lit up at night and returned to its former glory in the historic precinct of Delhi.


Though the mausoleum bears no date, and it is not recorded who lies buried there, the architectural style – harmonious geometric proportions in perfect symmetry and pishtaqs framing the arches topped by an onion-shaped dome ornamented with tile work – is Timurid and similar octagonal structures are seen across Central Asia.

The conservation took place from 2018 to 2021. Upon removal of the 20th century cement, a ceiling was painstakingly revealed to have been painted in pure gold and lapis amongst other elements. This is now thought to be the earliest surviving painted ceiling for any monument in India.

Originally, the dome was decorated with glazed green tiles thus deriving the name Sabz Burj, which means “green tower”. Tiles matching the physical and chemical properties of the 16th century tiles were restored on the dome as well as on the drum where these were missing. All surviving original tiles have been retained, even if these had lost their glaze.