Immortalized in the 1960 classic Mughal-i-Azam, with actors Dilip Kumar and Madhubala in the lead, the tragic love story of Mughal Prince Salim (Jahangir) & the court dancer Anarkali is well known. But is there any historic truth to it? Was there really a lady called Anarkali, condemned to death because of her affair with the Mughal heir apparent ? The Answer will surprise you.
The search for the truth, amidst layers of local folk lore and immortalized productions, must begin in the city of Lahore. Over here in heart of the city, you will find a simple Mughal era tomb, popularly known as Anarkali’s tomb in an area also called Anarkali bazaar. The person buried in the tomb is said to have died in 1599 CE and the tomb to have been constructed around 1615 CE. Inside, is an exquisitely carved marble sarcophagus with a couplet in Persian –
‘Ah! If I could behold the face of my beloved once more
I would thank my god until the day of resurrection’
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