The tomb of the second Mughal emperor is a must-see sight for a number of reasons. It was the first great example of Mughal architecture in India, the first garden tomb, and the first building to use red sandstone on such a scale. Commissioned by Humayun’s first wife, Hamida Begum, fourteen years after his death in 1556, a hundred years later it would inspire the design of the best-known of such tombs, the Taj Mahal itself. Architecturally it forms a bridge between the mausoleum of the Mughals’ ancestor Timur in Samarkand, the Gur Emir and the Taj Mahal. Unsurprisingly it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (listed in 1993).
You enter on the west side where a small museum (which we didn’t visit) tells the story of the tomb and its restoration, partly funded by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. Among other things, this restoration work removed many intrusive shop stalls etc. from the surroundings and recreated the garden setting of the tomb – a garden designed on the lines of a Persian-style charbagh with quadrilateral form. As you approach the main tomb look to your right where you will see an even older structure, the 1547 tomb complex of Isa Khan Niyazi, an Afghan noble who fought against the Mughals (see photo five).
Humayun’s Tomb itself stands on a massive platform about seven metres high, dominating its surroundings. It is built from red sandstone, with white marble decoration and a white marble dome. It is 47 metres high and 91 metres wide. Like the garden which surrounds it, it was inspired by Persian architecture and is an early classic of the Mughal style which blends the Islamic elements of the homelands of the foreign dynasties that ruled India from the 12th century with local features, mainly originating from the Rajasthan region. Thus Islamic arches are in-filled with carved sandstone lattices or jaalis, and the Persian-influenced main dome surrounded by small chuttris – the elevated domed pavilions seen on so many Hindu and Mughal buildings and as free-standing structures in cenotaphs at cremation sites.
You ascend to the platform up a flight of steps under the central arch, and from there can enter the tomb on its south side. The main central chamber contains one cenotaph, that of Humayan himself – although, in accordance with standard Indo-Islamic practice, his body lies on a duplicate cenotaph in a lower chamber, precisely aligned with this one but sealed off from public view. Both are on a north-south axis, with his head to the north and turned to face Mecca which from India lies to the west. The raised cenotaph in this chamber allows those paying their respects to focus on the point of his burial and ensures that no one walks directly above him. We were to see the same burial style in several other places, most notably the Taj Mahal. And as there, the chamber is ornamented with delicate pietra dura work – a technique in which marble is inlayed with coloured, often precious or semi-precious, stones. Another feature echoed in the later Taj Mahal is the network of smaller chambers that surrounds this central one, containing the burial places of a number of other members of the royal family and nobility, including that of Humayun’s widow herself, Hamida Begum. These chambers, like the main one, have eight sides and themselves have even smaller chambers opening off them. As you explore you have a sense of being in something of a rabbit warren, and yet you are drawn to circumnavigate the main chamber from which all others radiate. Have a look at the plan on this website to see what I mean. Also buried on this site, although not in the main tomb building, is Humayun’s favourite barber - in fact, there are over 100 graves in this complex in total.
When you exit the main structure take the time to stroll around the platform, which provides a bird’s eye view of the gardens and their symmetry. This is also a good vantage point for views over this part of Delhi – look out for a Sikh and a Buddhist temple as a visible sign of the multiplicity of faiths here.
Entrance to Humayan’s Tomb costs 250 IR for foreigners, with no extra fee for photography.
Next tip: Qutb Minar, possibly my favourite sight in Delhi.
The Afsarwala tomb and mosque are dated from around 1560 to 1567 due to itheir architectural style and one of the marble tombs is dated 1566/67 but is unidentified.
The Arab-serai gate leads to a further small complex but most of which is dilapidated and this is the only structure left of note. The arch stands some 12 metres in height and originally supported a now-collapsed dome.
The garden is the first that one passes through upon entry to the site before the main gateway. Excavation work is being carried out and renovations to the walls and tomb of Bu Halima.
The tomb and mosque of Isa Khan, while not rivalling the tomb of Humayun, is in itself a worthwhile side visit while in the complex. Not far from the entrance it precedes the building of Humayun's tomb by some 20 years during the reign of Humayun's victor. The walled area encompasses the tomb and also a mosque in a Sur design and has been largely renovated.
Constructed in a Persian style by Haji Begam, the widow of Humayun 14 years after his death, the tomb lies in the centre of a square garden, the 'Charbagh'. Humayun didn't have much luck in his life, except perhaps having a devoted wife,10 years after being made Emperor he was beaten in an Independance battle and fled to Persia (Iran). In 1555 he amassed a large army and came back to defeat his rival and retook his throne, to finally fall down the stairs and break his neck within 1 year. The building is said to be the model for all Mughal tombs, notably that of the Taj Mahal in Agra. Perfectly symmetrical the tomb is supposed to house some 150 dead rulers and courtiers. Built on a high podium the top of the dome is 38 metres high.
The site in SE Delhi is quite large incorporating many other tombs and buildings as well as the spacious gardens where you will find kites and parakeets in abundance.
The site open generally from 06h00 to 18h00 and costs 250 INR for non-Indians.
At the edge of the complex, across from the tomb, lies a mosque with noticeable mehrabs. It is known as Isa Khan's Mosque, and was built along with the tomb in 1547-48 AD. Many of the architectural details present in these structures can be seen further evolved in the main Humayun's tomb, though on a much grander scale, such as the tomb being placed in a walled garden enclosure
Isa Khan's tomb was built during his lifetime ca 1547-48 AD, is situated near the Mughal Emperor Humayun's Tomb complex in Delhi which was built later, between 1562-1571 AD. Built within an enclosed octagonal garden, it bears a striking resemblance to other tombs of Sur dynasty monuments in the Lodhi Gardens. This octagonal tomb has distinct ornamentation in the form of canopies, glazed tiles and lattice screens and a deep veranda, around it supported by pillars. It stand south of the Bu Halima garden just as visitors enter the complex. An inscription on a red sandstone slab indicated that the tomb is of Masnad Ali Isa Khan, son of Niyaz Aghwan, the Chief chamberlain, and was built during the reign of Islam Shah Suri, son of Sher Shah, in 1547-48 A.D. On 5 August 2011 the restoration work on this tomb in New Delhi led to the discovery of the India's oldest sunken garden. Isa Khan’s garden tomb in the enclosed area of Humayun’s Tomb World Heritage Site in the Capital of India can now be considered the earliest example of a sunken garden in India – attached to a tomb – a concept later developed at Akbar’s Tomb and at the Taj Mahal
The 16th century monumental Arab Sarai gateway is standing at the prime location of the World Heritage Site on the main axis leading to Humayun’s Tomb. The gateway leads to Arab Sarai, a walled enclosure erected by Hamida Banu Begum, the mother of Emperor Akbar, supposedly as a settlement for 200 Arabs whom she had brought from Mecca to help in the construction of Humayun’s Tomb.
The gate stand 12.2 meters high fromits pilinth and its built of quartzite with redstone dressing and marbel inlay
The cream colored Bu Halima Gate comes just before the entrance to Humayun’s Tomb. This 16th century gate leads to the tomb garden of Bu Halima. Unfortunately, not much is known about Bu Halima. but it is said that she was part of Babur's entourage to India and occupied an important place in his harem. Probably a Mughal noble woman, she was also a wet nurse of Humayun
It is amazing to see. It is known as the finest Mogul garden tomb in India and deserves its reputation.Humayun's Tomb is a World Heritage site. This place is a must see for its architecture,styles,gardens etc. This tomb was built by Humayun's first wife Bega Begum (widow) in 1573 .The tomb is in middle surrounded by beutiful gardens and water channels.The site was chosen on the banks of Yamuna river, due to its proximity to Nizamuddin Dargah, the mausoleum of the celebrated Sufi saint of Delhi, Nizamuddin Auliya, who was much revered by the rulers of Delhi, and whose residence
It is located near the Nizamudhin Police Station. Approach road is narrow and limited parking is available. The tomb is an architectural marvel. Mughals indeed took time to construct. They built buildings with passion. Their carvings are very impressive. It is well laid out and the lawns are very nicely maintained. The first thing that hits you is the serene atmosphere. Very peaceful. If you have not studied Mughal history, then it is recommend that you hire a guide for better understanding and significance of the tomb. You need a minimum of 2 hrs. to see it.
He was second in line of The Mughal Dynasty. After Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur his son Nasir ud-din Muhammad Humayun became the Emperor.
The tomb was commissioned by Humayun's wife Hamida Banu Begum in 1562 CE, and designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyath, a Persian architect.It was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent, and is located in Nizamuddin East, Delhi, India, close to the Dina-panah citadel also known as Purana Qila, that Humayun founded in 1533.
I am not able to locate the other pictures taken there , so I am putting one picture now.
The 16th century tomb of Humayun, the second of the great Mughal emperors, is a magnificent example of `Indo-Islamic' architecture. The tomb is of special significance since it was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent and it went on to inspire the designs of several major monuments, culminating in the Taj Mahal.
It was built by Humayun's widow, nine years after his death. The architect was reportedly brought from Herat in Afghanistan, and the design was based on the description of the `gardens of paradise', as portrayed in the Quran. The design is also said to have inspired the design of the Taj Mahal, which was built by Humayun's grandson- Shah Jahan.
It is a `World Heritage Monument' and has been recently rennovated by the Aga Khan trust(AKTC)/ Intach/ Archeological Survey of India.
The tomb area is has several other smaller and lesser known monuments/ tombs, some that pre-date the main structure. Also, it was from here that in 1857 A.D, lieutenant Hudson had captured the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah II, who was subsequently exiled to Rangoon.
I visited it recently after a gap of several years, and the rennovations have lent it a great ambience. Also, there dosent seem to be a huge crowd here, unlike some of the other popular monuments, so its a pretty serene place.
Budget a couple of hours at least to get a real feel of this place, since there is a lot to see.
The Tomb of Humayun was built by Bega Begum the last surviving wife of Humayun, the second emperor of the Moghul empire, in 1565. The typical Moghul garden is divided into 4 large squares, which are divided again into smaller squares by pathways. The mausoleum is in the centre and rises from a podium faced with a series of cells with arched openings. the central octagonal chamber contains the cenotaph. There are octagonal chambers at the diagonals, and arched lobbies at the sides. the openings are closed with perforated screens.
The roof is 425 metres high with a double dome, the first, of marble with pillared kiosks around it. It is built of red sandstone.
Several unidentified rulers are buried nearby , as well as Bega Begum, Hamida Bani Begum [a junior wife], Shah Jehan's son , later Moghuls and Bahadur Shah Ii, the last Moghul emperor of India .
To the south east is an impressive square tomb called the Barber's Tomb.
This was my first visit to a typical Moghul building where symmetery is the keyword. The steps are steep howvever. It was also the last chance I had to really see anything close up in Delhi.