Tihar Jail - One of the Largest Prison Complexes in Asia

Tihar Jail is a high-security prison complex located in Tihar village, Delhi, India. It is one of the largest prison complexes in Asia and is operated by the Department of Prisons of the Government of Delhi. Tihar Jail was inaugurated in 1958 and has undergone significant expansion and renovation since then.

It is known for its strict security measures and advanced rehabilitation programs for inmates. The prison complex has separate cells for male and female inmates, as well as special cells for high-profile prisoners and those on death row.

In addition to traditional prison facilities, Tihar Jail offers vocational training, education, and counseling programs to help inmates develop skills and prepare for their release. The prison complex also has a factory where inmates can work and earn wages, which helps to support their families.

Tihar Jail has been the subject of several high-profile cases, including the imprisonment of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1978 and the execution of Ajmal Kasab, one of the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.


Tihar Jail - One of the Largest Prison Complexes in Asia

Tihar Jail - One of the Largest Prison Complexes in Asia

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Tihar Jail, located in New Delhi, India, is one of the largest and most well-known prisons in South Asia. It was established in 1958 as a maximum security prison for male prisoners, and over the years, it has expanded to include multiple facilities for male and female prisoners.



Tihar Jail has a rich history, with many significant events taking place within its walls. In the early years of the prison, it was known for its strict rules and harsh conditions, and prisoners were often subjected to physical and emotional abuse. However, over time, the prison underwent significant reforms, and conditions improved significantly.

One of the most significant events in Tihar Jail's history took place in 1962 when several prisoners attempted to escape. The prison guards successfully thwarted the escape attempt, but the incident brought attention to the poor conditions and overcrowding in the prison.

In 1993, the prison implemented a new rehabilitation program that aimed to provide prisoners with education and vocational training. The program was highly successful and helped many prisoners reintegrate into society after their release.

Tihar Jail has also housed many high-profile prisoners over the years, including politicians, celebrities, and terrorists. In 2012, the prison gained worldwide attention when it housed the four men convicted in the brutal gang rape and murder of a young woman on a Delhi bus.

Despite its reputation as a tough prison, Tihar Jail has become a model for prison reform in India and is widely regarded as one of the most progressive and well-run prisons in the country.


Size and Capacity

It was built in 1958 and has undergone several expansions over the years. The capacity of Tihar Jail has also increased with each expansion. At the time of writing this article, the approximate capacity of Tihar Jail is known to be 10,026 inmates, but it can sometimes exceed this limit.

Tihar Jail is divided into several jails, each with its own capacity. The jail with the highest capacity is Jail No. 3, which can accommodate up to 2,500 inmates. Other jails within the Tihar complex include Jail No. 1, Jail No. 2, Jail No. 4, Jail No. 5, and Jail No. 6, each with its own specific capacity.

It's important to note that overcrowding is a common problem in Tihar Jail, as well as many other prisons in India, leading to poor living conditions and increased risk of disease outbreaks.


Types of Prisoners in Tihar Jail

The Jail houses a diverse range of prisoners. It's important to note that the classification of prisoners in Tihar Jail is based on several factors, including the nature of the crime, age, gender, and mental health status. Here are some of the types of prisoners that can be found in Tihar Jail:-

  • Convicted prisoners: These are prisoners who have been found guilty by a court of law and have been sentenced to a certain term of imprisonment.
  • Undertrial prisoners: These are prisoners who are awaiting trial and have not yet been convicted of any crime.
  • High-profile prisoners: Tihar Jail has been known to house high-profile prisoners such as politicians, celebrities, and business people who have been accused of crimes.
  • Foreign prisoners: Tihar Jail also houses foreign prisoners who have been convicted of crimes in India, or who are awaiting trial.
  • Women prisoners: Tihar Jail has a separate jail for women prisoners, which houses both convicted and undertrial prisoners.
  • Juvenile prisoners: Tihar Jail has a separate jail for juvenile offenders, who are below the age of 18 years.
  • Mentally ill prisoners: Tihar Jail has a separate ward for mentally ill prisoners, who require special care and treatment.


Few High Profile Prisoners

Tihar Jail is a high-security prison located in Delhi, India. Over the years, several high-profile prisoners have been held in this facility. Some of the notable high-profile prisoners in Tihar Jail include:-

  • Sanjay Dutt: Bollywood actor who was convicted in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case.
  • Jayendra Saraswathi: Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham, who was arrested on charges of murder in 2004.
  • A. Raja: Former Telecom Minister who was arrested in connection with the 2G spectrum scam.
  • Sasikala Natarajan: Former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and close associate of late J. Jayalalithaa.
  • Manu Sharma: Convicted in the Jessica Lal murder case.
  • Suresh Kalmadi: Former Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, who was arrested in connection with the 2010 Commonwealth Games scam.
  • Om Prakash Chautala: Former Chief Minister of Haryana, who was convicted in a teachers' recruitment scam.
  • Tarun Tejpal: Founder of Tehelka magazine, who was arrested on charges of sexual assault.
  • Amar Singh: Former Samajwadi Party leader, who was arrested in connection with the cash-for-votes scam.
  • Vikas Yadav: Convicted in the Nitish Katara murder case.

It's important to note that the status of these prisoners may have changed depending on the time you may be reading this.


Rehabilitation and Culture

Tihar Jail is known for its efforts to rehabilitate prisoners and provide them with vocational training and education. The jail has also been recognized for its cultural programs and initiatives.

It has organized a number of cultural programs and activities for inmates. These include music and dance classes, painting and drawing classes, theater workshops, and literary programs. Inmates are encouraged to participate in these activities to help them express themselves, develop new skills, and build confidence.

One of the most famous cultural initiatives at Tihar Jail is the Tihar Food Court, which was started in 2014. The food court is run by inmates and offers a variety of food options, including Indian, Chinese, and continental cuisine. The food court has become popular among visitors and has even won awards for its food.

Tihar Jail also has a radio station called Radio Tihar, which is run by inmates. The station broadcasts programs on various topics, including education, health, and music. Inmates are trained in broadcasting skills and have the opportunity to host their own shows.

The jail has also hosted cultural events such as music concerts, plays, and art exhibitions. These events are open to the public and provide inmates with the opportunity to showcase their talents.



In summary, Tihar Jail has made significant efforts to provide inmates with cultural and educational opportunities. These initiatives not only help inmates develop new skills and express themselves but also contribute to their rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

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