Bagh-e Babur Restoration: Babur's Grave
Kabul, Afghanistan
Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme

Babur's wish, recorded in his memoirs (Baburnama) was that he be buried in a modest grave open to the sky. This wish was fulfilled circa 1544 when his body was moved from Agra, where he had first been buried, to one of his favourite gardens in Kabul. In around 1607, Jahangir commissioned a headstone for the grave, added inscriptions to the adjoining graves of Babur's son and grandson, and had a marble prayer platform (chabutra) erected nearby. The marble enclosure (jali) around Babur's grave, drawn by Charles Masson in 1832, is thought to have been in place when Shah Jahan visited Kabul in 1639; he has a similar enclosure erected around the grave of his great-aunt Ruqia Sultan Begum at this time. The screen around Babur's grave had collapsed by the time of a surviving photograph by John Burke from 1872. The grave was extensively altered during the early 20th century.

The original levels of Babur's grave terrace were restored by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in 2003/4, and a replica (based on fragments found on the site) of the carved marble grave enclosure erected in 2006. This is a square structure whose elevations are made up of four narrow arched openings containing carved latticework, flanking a taller central arch. The enclosure and grave are on a raised marble plinth, accessed from a central archway to the west. An outer arcaded enclosure wall of brick was also rebuilt in 2006, on the foundations of an earlier structure that was uncovered during archaeological excavations in the grave area.


Dupree, Nancy Hatch. "Kabul". An Historical Guide to Afghanistan, Internet Edition. [Accessed December 4, 2005; inaccessible September 13, 2013. Text now available at]

Dupree, Nancy Hatch. 1965. "Babur Shah Gardens." An Historical Guide to Kabul, Internet Edition. [Accessed July 31, 2006; inaccessible September 13, 2013]

Niedermayer, Oskar von and Ernst Diez. 1924. Afganistan. Leipzig, K.W. Hiersemann.

Parpagliolo, Maria Teresa Shephard. 1972. Kabul: The Bagh-i Babur. Rome: IsMEO.

Zajadacz-Hastenrath, Salome. 1997. "A Note of Babur's Lost Funerary Enclosure at Kabul." Muqarnas, 14, 135-142.

"Bagh-e Babur Excavation and Training Program." Website of the Deutsches Archaologisches Institut. [Accessed December 4, 2005]

"Historic Cities Programme Website." Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) Website. [Accessed August 10, 2006]

"In pictures: Kabul's Moghul Garden." November 6, 2003. Website of the BBC News, World Edition. [Accessed December 4, 2005]

""Paradise Garden" Restoration to Revitalise Kabul." 2002. Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) Website. [Accessed August 10, 2006]

Eastern end of gardens, Kabul, Afghanistan
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Associated Names
Part of Site
Associated Collections
16th c.- 17th c.
Style Periods
Variant Names
Grave of Muhammad Zahir al-Din Babur Shah
Building Usages