The Humayun Tomb

A symbol of love and the most beautiful dormitory of the Mughals

9 JULY 2014,
The Humayun Tomb, photo by Farhan Masood
The Humayun Tomb, photo by Farhan Masood

When a person think of eternal love of a husband's love for his wife, he thinks of Taj Mahal. But Delhi had an another story untold. A story of a wife's love for his late husband.

Wife of second Mughal emperor Humayun, she built the Humayun’s Tomb in the loving memory of her late husband. When Humayun had died in 1556, Bega Begum was so grieved over her husband's death that she dedicated her life thenceforth to a sole purpose: the construction of the most magnificent mausoleum in the Empire, at a site near the Yamuna River in Delhi for the memorial of the late Emperor. Some sources also credit the building to Humayun’s senior widow, Bega Begum, also known as Haji Begum (because she performed the Haj). Persian architect Mirak Mirza Ghiyas ensured the final resting place befitted the status of the deceased. And when Shahjahan started work on the Taj Mahal, he came knocking on the doors of Humayun’s Tomb for design ideas for Taj Mahal in Agra. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. The entrance to the complex leads up to a few lesser known monuments such as the Tombs of Isa Khan & Bu Halima, and a mosque. Further down the path is the West Gate - the main entrance into Humayun's tomb-garden.

Popular Belief

It was built in 1565, nine years after Humayun tumbled down his library steps and died. The site was selected for its proximity to the Nizamuddin Dargah, the mausoleum of the Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. The whole area was thus believed to be blessed and, if one is buried here too, it was seen as a shortcut to heaven.The monument was built in close proximity to the Dargah (mosque) of the celebrated Sufi Saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, as it was a popular belief amongst the Mughals that getting buried near a mosque ensured a smooth passage into a great afterlife. No wonder you’ll find every Mughal ruler of fame buried close to a Dargah! The Tomb is also often referred to as the ‘Dormitory of the Mughals’ having over 160 Mughals buried in the premises.

Travelling Delhi? How to reach here?

Humayun’s Tomb is a short drive/auto ride away from the Jangpura metro station on the Violet Line of Metro train of Delhi. The best time to visit the place is on a cloudy day, as its real beauty actually emerges out in the rain.
Visitors beware: Given the vast area it covers, come geared with a bottle of water & walking shoes to explore the charm of the place in its entirety.

How it is architected?

The tomb of Humayun in the midst of spacious gardens & water fountains is an architectural marvel in itself. Large quantities of red sandstone & marble went into its construction commissioned by the emperor’s wife Hamida Begum a few years after his death in 1556 AD. The structure has a characteristic huge marble dome on top, whose loftiness is balanced by the numerous smaller canopies all around it. The structure is built on a raised platform reachable from all four sides by lofty flights of steps. At the centre of the inner chamber stands the marble cenotaph of Humayun, while his grave lies in the basement below - a method of building tombs that was characteristic of Indo-Islamic architecture.Surrounding the main chamber is a series of chambers, all constituting an elaborate floor-plan encompassing two storeys. A panoramic view of the whole structure is a real treat to behold.