Humayun's Tomb (1993), Delhi
Humayun died in 1556, and his widow Hamida Banu Begam, also known
as Haji Begam, commenced the construction of his tomb in 1569,
fourteen years after his death. It is the first distinct example of
proper Mughal style, which was inspired by Persian architecture. It is
well known that Humayun picked up the principles of Persian
architecture during his exile, and he himself is likely to have
planned the tomb, although there is no record to that effect. The tomb
was constructed at a cost of 15 lakh rupees (1.5 million).
Mirak Mirza Ghiyath, a Persian, was the architect employed by Haji
Begam for this tomb.
The tomb proper stands in the centre of a square garden, divided
into four main parterres by causeways (charbagh), in the centre of
which ran shallow water-channels. The high rubble built enclosure is
entered through two lofty double-storeyed gateways on the west and
south. A baradari (pavilion) occupies the centre of the eastern wall
and a hammam (bath chamber) in the centre of northern wall.
The square red sandstone double-storeyed structure of the mausoleum
with chamfered corners rises from a 7-m. high square terrace, raised
over a series of cells, which are accessible through, arches on each
side. The grave proper in the centre of this cell-complex is reached
by a passage on the south. The octagonal central chamber contains the
cenotaph, and the diagonal sides lead to corner-chambers which house
the graves of other members of the royal family. Externally each side
of the tomb, its elevations decorated by marble borders and panels, is
dominated by three arched alcoves, the central one being the highest.
Over the roof pillared kiosks are disposed around the high emphatic
double dome in the centre. The central octagonal chamber contains the
cenotaph, encompassed by octagonal chambers at the diagonals and
arched lobbies on the sides. Their openings are closed with perforated
screens. Each side is dominated by three arches, the central one being
the highest. This plan is repeated on the second storey too. The roof
surmounted by a double dome (42.5m) of marble has pillared kiosks (chhatris)
placed around it.
The mausoleum is a synthesis of Persian architecture and Indian
traditions-the former exemplified by the arched alcoves, corridors and
the high double dome, and the latter by the kiosks, which give it a
pyramidal outline from distance. Although Sikandar Lodi's tomb was the
first garden-tomb to be built in India, it is Humayun's tomb which set
up a new vogue, the crowning achievement of which is the Taj at Agra.
There is also a somewhat common human impetus behind these two
edifices-one erected by a devoted wife for her husband and the other
by an equally or more devoted husband for his wife.
Several rulers of the Mughal dynasty lie buried here. Bahadur Shah
Zafar had taken refuge in this tomb with three princes during the
first war of Independence (AD 1857).
On the southwestern side of the tomb is located barber's tomb (Nai-ka-Gumbad)
which stands on a raised platform, reached by seven steps from the
south. The building is square on plan and consists of a single
compartment covered with a double-dome.
Open from sunrise to sunset
Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal,
Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC
Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar)
- Rs. 30 per head.
Others: Indian Rs. 500/- per head
(children up to 15 years free)