Humayun’s Tomb

At the Yamuna River bank in New Delhi, India stands Humayun’s tomb.

It is considered as a creation that paved path for the future wonders that amaze the tourists till date. Humayun was a mughal emperor. Mughals ruled over Indian subcontinent before it was ruled by British empire. As with other dynasties, Mughals too commemorated their departed leaders with Mausoleums(an impressive building housing a tomb) and architectural marvels. Humayun’s tomb was constructed as a burial site for Humayun by his first wife(Bega Begum) and his son(Akbar). It was first garden tomb in the Indian subcontinent and was supervised by architects who were called from Persia.

Humayun’s tomb in Delhi India. A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Spread over an area of around 27 Hectares, the complex consists of other garden tombs as well such as – Nila Gumbad, Isa Khan, Bu Halima, Afsarwala, Barber’s Tomb and Arab Serai. Humayun’s tomb has a Charbagh design. Charbagh means 4 gardens which are separated by pathways or water channels depicting the 4 rivers of paradise mentioned in the Holy Quran.

Aerial View of Humayun’s tomb .Image Courtesy : Aga Khan Development Network

Humayun’s tomb is a good example of Persian architecture with Indian components in it. Domed kiosks, star motifs(star patterns) and inverted lotus are primarily Hindu designs(Inverted lotus or kalash is revered as pious in Hinduism). Kiosks or Chhatris is typically found in traditional Hindu architecture (Rajasthani forts and Hindu temples).

Finial at the top – It is believed that the shape is inspired from the Hindu Design of kalash(metal pot with large base and small mouth).
Canopy on Humayun’s tomb – an influence from Rajasthani(Indian) architecture.

Humayun’s tomb has earned itself the name “Dormitory of Mughals” owing to a large number of Mughal graves in the complex(around 100). A few other graves which do not belong to Mughal family are also present.




Afsarwala tomb – Its grave of an unknown person. Afsarwala can be translated to Officer’s. Therefore, this could be a grave of a renowned military official in Humayun’s army.


Neela Gumbad(Blue Dome) is believed to have remains of Fahim Khan , an attendant of Abdur Rahim Khan(a renowned poet during Mughal era). Some believe that this tomb predates Humayun’s tomb. The Humayun’s tomb enclosure walls has a gateway to Neela gumbad which suggest that this structure existed before Humayun’s tomb was constructed.

Chilla Nizamuddin Auliya : residence of Nizamuddin Aulia – A Sunni Muslim Scholar and one of the most famous Sufi saints of Indian subcontinent. Image Courtesy : Wikipedia
Adjacent to the Neela Gumbad stands Barber’s Tomb ( Nai ka Gumbad). It is another unknown grave in the complex believed to be a burial place for Humayun’s favorite barber (Nai). Another example of honoring a barber can be found at Nai ka Kot near Tughlaqabad fort in Delhi.

Humayun’s tomb had been weathered out owing to its age. Aga Khan Trust for Culture completed its restoration in 2013. Apart from the Humayun’s tomb complex another important initiative that was taken was to improve the quality of lives of residents of Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti( Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti is a locality near Humayun’s tomb which required extensive infrastructure development along with cultural upliftment of the inhabitants).

Here is a short slide showcasing the restoration work undergone here at Humayun’s tomb.

One may want to visit – http://www.nizamuddinrenewal.org/ – to read through the information provided regarding Nizamuddin Renewal.

With restoration done for the entire Humayun’s tomb complex, the tourists tend to spend more time at the historical place gazing at the beauty of the monuments.

A few videos to relish the beauty of this place…

Video Courtesy : UNESCO
Video Courtesy : UNESCO

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