Humayun’s Tomb, Entry Fee, Timings, Location, History, How to Reach. Humayun’s Tomb, About Humayun’s Tomb, The Tomb Complex, Architecture, Accommodation, Location, Best Time to Visit, How to Reach, History, How to Reach.
Location: Opp. Dargah Nizamuddin, Mathura Road (Located near the crossing of Mathura road and Lodhi road, this magnificent garden tomb is the first substantial example of Mughal architecture in India)
Metro Station: JLN Stadium
Timings: Sunrise to sunset
Entry Fee: Rs. 30 (Indians), Rs. 500 (foreigners)
Photography Charges: Nil, (Rs. 25 for video filming)
About Humayun’s Tomb
It was built in 1565 A.D. nine years after the death of Humayun, by his senior widow Bega Begam. Inside the walled enclosure the most notable features are the garden squares (chaharbagh) with pathways water channels, centrally located well proportional mausoleum topped by double dome. There are several graves of Mughal rulers located inside the walled enclosure and from here in 1857 A.D; Lieutenant Hudson had captured the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah II.
Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi is the first of the grand dynastic mausoleums that were to become synonyms of Mughal architecture with the architectural style reaching its zenith 80 years later at the later Taj Mahal. Humayun’s Tomb stands within a complex of 21.60 ha. that includes other contemporary, 16th century Mughal garden-tombs such as Nila Gumbad, Isa Khan, Bu Halima, Afsarwala, Barber’s Tomb and the complex where the craftsmen employed for the Building of Humayun’s Tomb stayed, the Arab Serai.
Humayun’s Tomb was built in the 1560’s, with the patronage of Humayun’s son, the great Emperor Akbar and senior widow of Humayun Hamida Banu Begum. Persian and Indian craftsmen worked together to build the garden-tomb, far grander than any tomb built before in the Islamic world. Humayun’s garden-tomb is an example of the charbagh, with pools joined by channels. The garden is entered from lofty gateways on the south and from the west with pavilions located in the centre of the eastern and northern walls.
While the main tomb took over eight years to build, it was also placed in centre of a 30-acre (120,000 m2) Char Bagh (Four Gardens), a Persian-style garden with quadrilateral layout and was the first of its kind in the South Asia region in such a scale. The highly geometrical and enclosed Paradise garden is divided into four squares by paved walkways (khiyabans) and two bisecting central water channels, reflecting the four rivers that flow in jannat, the Islamic concept of paradise. Each of the four square is further divided into smaller squares with pathways, creating into 36 squares in all, a design typical of later Mughal gardens. The central water channels appear to be disappearing beneath the tomb structure and reappearing on the other side in a straight line, suggesting the Quranic verse, which talks of rivers flowing beneath the ‘Garden of Paradise’.
The entire tomb and the garden is enclosed within high rubble walls on three sides, the fourth side was meant to be the river Yamuna, which has since shifted course away from the structure. The central walkways, terminate at two gates: a main one in the southern wall, and a smaller one in the western wall. It has two double-storey entrances, the West gate which used now, while the South gate, which was used during Mughal era, now remains closed. Aligned at the centre on the eastern wall lies a baradari, literally a pavilion with twelve doors, which is a building or room with twelve doors designed to allow the free draught of air through it, finally on the northern wall lies a hammam, a bath chamber.
Humayun died in 1556 AD following a fall from stairs. He was laid to rest at his palace at Purana Quilla in Delhi. Following his death, Delhi was attacked by Hemu, the Hindu general and Chief Minister of Adil Shah Suri of Suri Dynasty. To preserve the sanctity of their Emperor’s remains, the retreating Mughal army exhumed Humayun’s remains and took them to be reburied at Kalanaur in Punjab.
Following her husband’s death, the grieving queen Bega Begum set out for Mecca to undertake the Hajj pilgrimage and vowed to build a magnificent mausoleum in his memory. She employed the services of a Persian architect, Mirak Mirza Ghiyas, hailing from Herat region of Afghanistan and having an impressive repertoire. Bega Begum not only commissioned and paid for the construction of the tomb, but supervised its construction as well..
The grandeur of this spectacular edifice gradually diminished due to lack of maintenance as funds dwindled in the royal treasury of the declining Mughal Empire. In 1880, after the establishment of the British rule in Delhi, the surrounding garden was redesigned to accommodate an English style garden. However, it was restored to the original style in a major restoration project between 1903 and 1909. The complex and its structures were heavily defiled when it was used to house the refugees during 1947 Partition of India. The most recent phase of restoration started in 1993, after Humayun’s tomb was named as a UNESCO world Heritage Site, by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) – Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC).
The Tomb Complex
The Humayun’s tomb complex comprises of several buildings, tombs, mosques, and a lodging place. Important buildings in the complex are: Nila Guband, Arab Sarai and Bu Halima. Tombs of Mughal royalty and nobility like Bega Begum, Hamida Banu Begum, Isa Khan and Dara Shikoh are present within the main mausoleum building and the whole complex is said to be dotted with over 150 tombs earning the complex the name of “dormitory of the Mughals”.
The tombs and buildings are centered around the shrine of 14th century Sufi Saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, located just outside the complex. The Mughals considered it an auspicious site to be buried near a saint’s grave, and thus generations of Mughal royalty has chosen to be buried near the site.
The Humayun’s tomb is the starting point of the Mughal architecture in India. This style is a delightful amalgamation of the Persian, Turkish and Indian architectural influences. This genre was introduced during the reign of Akbar the Great and reached its peak during the reign of Shah Jahan, Akbar’s grandson and the fifth Mughal Emperor. Humayun’s tomb heralded the beginning of this new style in India, in both size and grandeur.
The grand structure is situated in the center of a 216000 m2square garden complex on a raised 7 m high stone platform. The garden is a typical Persian Char Bagh layout, with four causeways radiating from the central building dividing the garden into four smaller segments. The causeways may also be adorned with water features. This Persian Timurid architectural landscaping style symbolizes the Garden of Paradise, which according to Quranic beliefs, consists of four rivers: one of water, one of milk, one of honey, and one of wine. The garden also houses trees serving a host of purposes like providing shade, producing fruits, flowers, and nurturing birds.
Built primarily in red sandstone, the monument is a perfectly symmetrical structure, with white marble double domes capped with 6 m long brass finial ending in a crescent. The domes are 42.5 m high. Marble was also used in the lattice work, pietradura floors and eaves. The height of Humayun’s Tomb is 47 m, and its breadth is 91 m. Two double storeyed arched gateways provide the entry to the tomb complex. A baradari and hammam are located in the centre of the eastern and northern walls respectively.
Delhi is one of the India’s busiest entry points. It has a wide range of accommodation available from deluxe five star luxury hotels, with top-notch restaurants, 24-hour coffee shops, swimming pools, travel agents and shopping arcades, to middle-range hotels and guest houses offering good services and a comfortable stay, down to economical tourist lodges. There are a few Tourist Hostels, Working women’s Hostels, Service Apartments, Camping Sites and Dharmashalas as well.
Best Time to Visit
The monument is open throughout the day and throughout the year. It is better to visit the monument when sun is out so that you can enjoy all delicate architectural features of the monuments. The best to visit is from 8 in the morning to 6 in the evening.
Summers of Delhi are harsh and dehydrating and thus, it is better to avoid summers. Monsoon can cause interruption to sightseeing. Thus, it is better to visit in the winter season when the climate is cool and pleasing. Winter starts in October and ends in March.
How to Reach
Easily accessible by road as well as by Delhi Metro. The nearest railway station is Nizammudin. Nearest Metro stations are, Jorbagh and Race Course stations (both on the Yellow line) are the nearest. AC/non AC buses can be availed from Rajiv Chowk/ISBT/Nizamuddin to reach Humayun’s Tomb Complex. Autos plying all over the city can also be availed.