Kotli Maqbara

The town ‘Eminabad’ is home to a number of religiously significant monuments; a Gurdwara, temples and a crumbling mosque all peacefully coexisting.

A few kilometers ahead, towards the east, in the town of Kotli Maqbra is a mesmerising octagonal structure raised on a platform with four minarets on each side. It is hard to miss the arched edifice rising above the fields as one approaches Kotli Maqbra.

The conical minarets with cupola at the center are all built in lock brick work and glazed tiles with geometric and floral patterns on the exterior. The minarets are quite similar to the early 17th century buildings like Jahangir Tomb, Dai Anga Mosque and the Wazir Khan Mosque in Lahore. The arched entrance to the underground grave chamber is on the southern side, with three graves wrapped in green silk sheets that bear Islamic inscriptions on them.According to Salman Rashid’s book “Gujranwala: The glory that was ” the local narrative has changed since then, people from nearby villages now acknowledge the building as a man-made structure.They now believe the tomb to be associated with Sheikh Abdul Nabi, Sadrus Sudur (Chief Qazi) during Akbar’s era.This idea is based on the research of some of our renowned archeologists, for example Ihsan H. Nadiem in an article on historic monuments in Gujranwala writes:“The tomb is associated with Sheikh Abdul Nabi who was a tutor of the great Akbar. The sheikh reached the status of Sadrus Sudur but was exiled to the holy places (Makkah and Madina) when the emperor was poisoned by Sheikh Faizi and Abul Fazal.“He was ordered not to return to his country unless called by the emperor. On receiving rumors of disturbed conditions in India under Akbar he, however, came back without the permission of the emperor and settled in Ahmadabad in Gujarat in 1583. He was, therefore, arrested by Akbar and sent to prison under the charge of his old rival, Abul Fazal.This beautiful Mughal monument has not received any attention from British historians and archaeologists and this disinterest continued in the post partition era, eventually leading to its dilapidation.The monument not only battles to survive harsh environment, weather, old age and lack of conservation but is also a regular target of burglars seeking to find hidden treasure beneath the tomb.