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How Conqueror Timur Continues To Scare Many After His Death

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Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor, one of Bollywood’s most talked about couples, made headlines on December 20 as they welcomed their first child together and opting for a rather unique name for him - Timur Ali Khan Pataudi. But the name ended up sparking a debate online. The reason? Its connection to the name Timur, which was historically linked with the 14th century Turkic conqueror Timur the Lame, or Tamerlane. Timur, who is believed to have led a ruthless annihilation of Indians in 1399 AD. Tamerlane, or Timur died on February 18th, 1405. He was buried in Gūr-i Amīr or Guri Amir in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. And even after his death, he continued to scare everyone.

Nader Shah took away the stone adorning Timur’s tomb

At that time, the stones that were laid on the upper side of Islamic structures were decorated, and the actual coffin would be kept in the lower area. Timur’s tomb too was adorned with an expensive stone, In 1740 Nader Shah took the stone away to Iran where it was unfortunately broken into two parts. It is said, post this Nader Shah’s ugly phase began. On being advised by his well wishers, Nader returned the stone on his coffin and the situation became normal.

Opening of the tomb of Timur

In 1941, Joseph Stalin ordered the opening of the tomb of Timur. Russian anthropologist by the name Mikhail Gerasimov was assigned the task of exhumation. It was he who suggested that Timur was 6 feet tall.

It is believed that on Timur’s coffin Mikhail Mikhaylovich Gerasimov discovered a few warnings. 1) The world will be shaken once I resurrect 2) The one who will open my coffin will be defeated by his enemies. A few old men and a priest told Mikhail Mikhaylovich Gerasimov and Tashmukhammed Kary-Niyazov (who was the chief supervisor) that soon a problem will surface, but this warning wasn’t taken seriously. These people stated that within three days, a problem would appear and it would affect that person who had opened the coffin. A day after the coffin was opened, on June 22 1941, Hitler attacked the Soviet Union.

Burial of remains

After several attacks by Germany, Stalin ordered the return of the remains of Temur and to bury them with full honor. This had happened on December 20, 1942. After Temur’s remains were buried, German forces surrendered and Russians won the Battle of Stalingrad. This was referred to as one of the most terrible battles of the war.

The Mysterious Tomb

When Timur’s coffin was opened it filled the mausoleum with a stench of frankincense, rose, camphor and resin. Initially it was thought to be the odor of different curses, but later it was found that the smell was actually from oils used for embalming.

Book References:

Orthodoxy, Innovation, and Revival: Considerations of the Past in Imperial Mughal Tomb Culture

History of Timur Bank: Sharf Ul Din Ali Zyadi

Taj Mahal Ya Mummy Mahal: Afsar Ahmad

first published:December 21, 2016, 17:31 IST