Ahmadabad: Marble slab in the floor of the tomb of Mai Alam in the Shah Alam group
Surveyor: Burgess, James (1832-1916)
Medium: Pen and ink on paper
Pen-and-ink drawing of a marble slab in the floor of the tomb of Mai Alam in the Shah Alam complex at Ahmadabad by an anonymous artist dating to between 1884 and 1886. This image is from the Burgess collection, an album of 49 drawings of plans, sections, elevations, sculpture and architectural details of Muslim monuments in Ahmadabad and the surrounding areas made during this period. The drawings were prepared mainly by Indian draftsmen under the supervision of James Burgess (1832-1916). Burgess was in India from 1855 to 1889. He served as the Archaeological Surveyor and Reporter for Western India 1874-80, with South India added 1881-85, before becoming the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India in 1886 until his retirement in 1889.
Situated on the banks of the Sabarmati River, Ahmadabad was founded by Ahmad Shah, Sultan of Gujarat, in 1411 on the site of the village of Asaval. The dynasty ruled until 1537 when Sultan Bahadur Shah was killed by the Portuguese at Diu. Gujarat was annexed by the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1572. The city is architecturally interesting as it boasts many examples of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Gujarati provincial Islamic architecture. Shah Alam was a Sufi saint who belonged to the Bukhariya Sayyid religious order, members of which held a great influence with the Sultans of Gujarat. Shah Alam was the spiritual preceptor and teacher to Sultan Mahmud Begarha (r. 1459-1511). This marble slab is found inlaid into the floor of Mai Alam's tomb in the 'dargah' or shrine of Shah Alam. According to its Persian inscription, the shrine complex was begun in 1485 under the patronage of Taj Khan Nariali, a nobleman at Begarha's court, eight years after the death of the saint.