Ataga Khan

Shamsuddin Muhammad Atgah Khan (Ataga Khan) (died 15 May 1562), also known as Khan-e-Kalan Shamsu'd-Din Muhammad Khan Atgah Khan, held important positions in the court, including that of wakil (advisor or minister) to which he was appointed in November 1561, much to displeasure of Maham Anga, whose son Adham Khan, eventually murdered him in 1562. Ataga Khan was the husband of Jiji Anga, one of Akbar's wet nurses.


Shamsuddin was the son of Mir Yar Muhammad of Ghazni, a simple farmer, and started life as a soldier in Kamran Mirza’s army. He saved Humayun from drowning in the Ganges. As reward, Humayun took him into his personal service and his wife became one of Akbar's foster-mothers. She was called foster-mother( Anagah) and her husband Shamsuddin was designated foster-father (Atgah). He also received the title of Khan and his biological son, Aziz became Akbar's foster or milk-brother (Kokah).

Young Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana being received by Akbar, being helped by Ataga Khan, Akbarnama, ca 1590-95
Akbar orders punishment of Adham Khan for murdering Ataga Khan, by throwing him twice down the terrace. Akbarnama, ca. 1590-95


Ataga Khan’s Tomb near Chausath Khamba in Nizamuddin West

On May 16, 1562 Adham Khan accompanied by a few ruffians burst in upon him as he sat in the Diwan-e-Aam, the hall of audience, in Agra Fort, and murdered him, in the courtyard of Diwan-e-Aam.[1] Hearing of this murder, an enraged Akbar ordered Adham Khan to be defenestrated from the ramparts of the fort. The fall only broke Adham Khan's legs, so the still angry emperor ordered that he be thrown down again. The second fall killed Adham Khan instantly.

After the death of Ataga Khan, his tomb was built by the instructions of Mughal emperor Akbar and built by his foster brother, Mirza Aziz Koka, in 1566-67. It is situated on the northern edge of Nizamuddin, most known for the dargah of 13th century Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya. Its architect was Ustab Khuda Quli and calligrapher Baqi Muhammad from Bukhara, who added Quranic verses on the white marble slabs, inlaid on the red sandstone exterior walls, which were suitably chosen reflecting his mode of death, considered a martyrdom by Mughal historian, Abul Fazal.[2] An inscription on the southern door of the tomb mentions that it was finished in 974 AH (1566–67).[3]


  1. ^ The punishment of Adham Khan Akbarnama
  2. ^ The Age of Akbar The New Cambridge History of India, by Geraldine Forbes, B. R. Tomlinson, Sugata Bose, Stewart, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-26728-5. page 42.
  3. ^ Archived 2008-06-09 at the Wayback Machine

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