Humayun’s Tomb

A Historical Monument in DelhiThe Humayun’s Tomb or Humayun ka Maqbara in Delhi is the tomb of the great Mughal Emperor Humayun. 

After Humayun’s death on 1556, his wife Banu Begum also known as Haji Begum restarted the construction of his tomb in the year 1569, after fourteen years of his death. 

The tomb was designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyath, a Persian architect. In the year 1993, Humayun Tomb Delhi  was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and since then has undergone extensive restoration work.

History of Humayun's Tomb

Humayun's body was first buried in his palace in Purana Quila at Delhi, after his death on 20 January 1556. Khanjar Beg, later took the body to Sirhind, in Punjab because it was feared that Hindu king Hemu, who had defeated Mughal forces in Agra and Delhi in October 1556 and captured Purana Quila, will damage the tomb. Later in the year 1558 Humayun’s son and the then Mughal after the tomb.

After fourteen years of Humayun’s death, in the year 1569, his wife Banu Begum also known as Haji Begum restarted the construction of his tomb.The construction work of the tomb was completed in 1572 AD. It is believed that After the death of her husband, Bega Begum was so grieved that she dedicated rest of her  life to a sole purpose: the construction of the most magnificent mausoleum in the Empire, at a place near Yamuna river for the memorial of the late Emperor.

The famous charbagh (four-square) gardens changed over the years, repeatedly after its constructions. As the Mughal rule declined the expensive upkeep of the garden and the monument became impossible. 

By the early 18th century, one of the gardens were replaced by vegetable garden of people who settled around the walled area. During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Tomb saw its worst days, as the last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar along with his three sons were was captivated in the tomb by the British, as they completely took over Delhi.

In August 1947, during the Partition of India, the Humayun's Tomb and the Purana Qila, became major refugee camps for Muslims migrating to the newly founded Pakistan. The Monument was later managed by the government of India. Presently, the responsibility for the preservation of heritage monuments in India, was taken over by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI), and gradually the building and its gardens were restored.

Architecture Humayun Tomb Delhi

Architecture of Humanyun's TombMirak Mirza Ghiyas also known as Mirak Ghiyathuddin designed the monument. He was from Heart, Northwest Afghanistan and had designed several buildings previously. 

Bega Begum assigned him with the task to design the monument,  but unfortunately before the completion of the structure he expired and his son Sayyed Muhammad ibn Mirak Ghiyathuddin completed the construction of the monument in 1571.

The tomb had two had double storeyed getaways on the west and the south which are 16 metres in height. It has rooms on either side of the passage and a small courtyards on the upper floors. Six sided stars on the main gateway on the west, is also seen on the iwan of the main tomb structure.

The structure is made of rubble masonry and red sandstone. White Marble is used for the flooring of the monument, door frames, lattice screens (jaalis), eaves (chhajja) are used for the main dome. 

The structure is square in design and the plinth of the monument is constructed with rubble core and has fifty-six cells all around, and houses over 100 gravestones. The design of the tomb was inspired by Persian architecture.  The building with chamfered corners rises from a 7-m. high square terrace and it is raised over a  number of cells, which can be reached  through, arches on each side. 

The central chamber of the tomb is octagonal in shape and it consists of the cenotaph. The diagonal sides directs to the corner chambers which consists of the graves of members of the royal family. The outer sides of the tomb are designed by marble borders and panels and the three arched alcoves adds to the beauty of the monument with the central one being the highest.

The roof with the double dome (42.5 m) in the centre is decorated by pillared kiosks(Chhatris). The cenotaph in the central octagonal chamber is surrounded by octagonal chambers at the diagonals and arched lobbies on the sides. 

The mausoleum is a combination of Persian architecture and Indian traditions. The arched alcoves corridors and the high double dome depicts Persian architecture and the the kiosks, which give it a pyramidal outline from distance is an example of Indian tradition. Several Mughal Emperors dynasty lie buried here. The Barbers (Nai-ka-Gumbad) tomb is located on On the southwestern side of the tomb,which stands on a raised platform, reached by seven steps from the south.

Char Bagh garden

Char Bagh Garden's quadrilateral layout is defined by the four central water courses. The Charbagh Garden, a Persian style garden was the first of its kind in the South Asia region with quadrilateral layout. The garden is divided into four squares paved walkways (khiyabans) and two bisecting central water channels. Each of the four square is further separated into smaller squares with pathways and finally creating 36 squares.

The garden depicts a design typical of later Mughal gardens. The central water channels suggests the Quranic verse, which talks of rivers flowing beneath the 'Garden of Paradise' by appearing to disappear beneath the tomb structure and reappearing on the other side in a straight line.

The Humayun Tomb

Presently, terrorist attack, vandalism as well as regular mushrooming of illegal constructions and plastic waste thrown within the prohibited area around Humayun ka Maqbara Delhi is a major threat to the monument.  The tourist traffic to Humayun’s tomb was largely decreased during the Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008. 

The monument also faced other threats such as to widen the roads near the tomb for the 2010 Commonwealth Games to connect National Highway-24 with Lodhi Road, and the Delhi Government's plans in 2006/2007 to build a new tunnel to connect East Delhi to Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi in South Delhi. 

Finally, the Archaeological Survey of India was able to stop construction the plans. US President Barack Obama visited this site, during his visit to India in November 2010.

Quick Facts/ Guide about Humayun ka Maqbara Delhi

Location: Situated at Lodi Road, Mathura Road, opposite Dargah Nizamuddin, New Delhi.
Open: For all days

Timings: From 6am to 6pm

How to Reach: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium is the nearest metro station from where one can take an auto rickshaw. A local bus towards Nizamuddin Railway Station can also be boarded. The distance is around 2 kms.

Entry Fee: 
30 per person for Indians
500 per person for Foreign Tourists
No fee for Photography
25 per person for Video filming

Approx. distance from Indira Gandhi International Airport: 17 kms

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