Heaps of History

Nalini Thakur marches through the front door of a town house in New Delhi, crosses a courtyard where a woman is snoring on a rope bed, and arrives at a brick tomb that has survived for 450 years. Hidden away in this unlikely domestic setting, it's a splendid archeological curiosity—one of the first tombs to fuse Persian and Mughal styles in a way that prefigured the design of the Taj Mahal a century later. But as Thakur steps inside, she is assaulted by a stench that reveals the mausoleum's current function: it has become a toilet. "Heritage in India is endless,"...

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