Humayun’s Tomb is one of the most beautiful monuments in Delhi but you don’t see it as often as you see India gate or Qutub Minar. It is located right in the heart of the city but the spacious compound surrounding the monument hid it away from the glare of public eyes. Sandwiched between Yamuna River and Nizamuddin Dargah, Humayun’s Tomb was the first garden tomb on the Indian Subcontinent. It is the Tomb of Mughal Emperor Humayun and it was commissioned by his wife Hamida Banu Begum in 1562 AD.
I've no difficulty admitting that it is one of the most beautiful Tombs, only next to Taj Mahal. Designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyath a Persian architect and built by Indian and Persian workers, this monument is one of the first to employ Persian architecture and also the first to use Red sand stone and White marble in such a huge quantity. In 1993 it was declared a UNESCO World heritage Site.
The garden tomb is some hundredmeters walk from the main road. The place is quite spacious and refreshing. The place is undergoing lots of renovations right from the outer gate to the main tomb. An outer gate and an inner gate surround the main tomb. Near the outer gate which is also known as the Bu Halima, there’s another gate known as the Arab Serai Gate. It is a 14 m high structure which led to the walled enclosure which hosted the Persian Craftsmen who came to work on Humayun’s Tomb. The main entrance or the inner Gate is also known as West Gate. It is a 16 m high structure with rooms on each side of the passage. Now it housed the museum.
This red and white building is an example of Persian influence on Indian architecture. Humayun was the first to be buried in the Tomb when he died in 1556 but the tomb has now within it over 100 graves, earning the name, ‘Dormitory of The Mughals’. Steep steps lead up to the Sanctum of the tomb. The Central chamber looks quite plain now but it was remarkably decorated in the past. William Finch an English Merchant who visited it in 1611 unforgettably describes the presence of expensive carpets, and other rich items including Humayun’s sword, turban and shoes.
The 13 acres land surrounding the tomb became difficult to maintain when the Mughals shifted the capital to Agra. Things got worsened when the British captured Bahadur Shah II in 1857. They replaced the original garden with British like garden. Archaeological Survey of India has tried to restore it to the glorious past. The vast open spaces and cool shades surrounding the tomb are a treat for city dwellers.
Though the monument we see now is only a shadow of the glorious past, the red Sandstone tomb sparks when the golden evening sun shines over it. The magic of that moment makes everything new again.