The Tomb of Sharf un Nissa Begum is popularity known as “Saru Wala Maqbara” because of the images of cypress (Saru) trees on its walls. Sharf un Nissa was the sister of a Mughal noble. She had a garden in Lahore and in the midst of this garden she built a tower where she studied Quran every day. Respecting her wishes, after her death, she was buried in the chamber of same tower along with a copy of the Holy Book and her jewelled sword. This unusual tower-like tomb is 16 feet above the ground.
The structure was built during 1735—1740 C.E., and was used by Sharf-un-Nisa Begam as a meditation chamber during her lifetime. Sharf-un-Nisa Begam had the structure constructed as a place for her to read the Quran in the mornings. She climbed up and descended from the structure by means of a wooden ladder. After the death, the meditation chamber was converted into her tomb, so that even in death, she could remain in purdah and out of view of unrelated men. The building came to be known locally as the Cypress tomb, on account of the tile motifs depicting cypress trees, alongside other floral motifs used on the tiles on the exterior walls.
The tomb was originally surrounded by a garden and pool, which likely abutted the garden which once surrounded the nearby Tomb of Dai Anga. The tomb was one of the last notable structures of the late Mughal era. During Sikh rule in the 18th century, it was believed that the tomb contained treasure, and so Sharf-un-Nisa Begam’s Quran and sword were both plundered and the tomb desecrated.
As new buildings have been constructed around the area, it has become difficult to access the tomb. It was initially surrounded by gardens, but because of the houses built on them, a “small garden” exists today in which the local boys play cricket.
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