Humayun's tomb lies on the Mathura road near its crossing with the
Lodi Road. High rubble-built walls enclose here a square garden
divided initially into four large squares separated by causeways
and channels, each square divided again into smaller squares by
pathways ('Chaharbagh') as in a typical Mughal Garden.
The lofty mausoleum is located in the centre of the enclosure and
rises from a pod
faced with series of cells with arched openings. The central octagonal
chamber containing the cenotaph is encompassed by octagonal chambers
at the diagonals and arched lobbies on the sides, their openings
closed with perforated screens.
Three emphatic arches dominate each side, the central one being
the highest. This plan is repeated on the second storey, and a
42.5m high double dome of marble surmounts the roof with pillared
kiosks ('chhatris') placed around it. The structure is built with
red sandstone, but white and black marble has been used to relieve
the monotony, the latter largely in the borders.
True Mughal Architecture
The tomb was built by Humayun's senior widow Bega Begam, popularly
known as Haji Begam, nine years after his death in 1565 according
to some, but fourteen years according to the manuscript of an 18th
century text. It is the first substantial example of the Mughal
architecture, with high arches and double dome, which occurs here
for the first time in India. Although some tombs had already been
sited within gardens, it is also the first mature example of the
idea of garden-tomb, which culminated in the Taj-Mahal at Agra.
The enclosure is entered through two lofty double-storeyed gateways,
one on the west and the other on the south, the latter now remaining
closed. A 'baradari' (pavilion) occupies the centre of the eastern
wall of the enclosure and a bath-chamber that of the northern
A Homage To The Royal Dynasty
Several rulers of the Mughal dynasty lie buried in the mausoleum,
although it is not possible to identify their graves. Among those
lying buried here are Bega Begam, Hamida Banu Begam - Humayun's
junior wife, Dara Shikoh - Shah Jahan's son, and the later Mughals,
Jalandar Shah, Farrukhsiyar, Rafi'u'd-Darajat, Rafi'u'd-Daula and
'Alamgir II, Bahadur Shah II, the last Mughal emperor of Delhi had
taken shelter in this tomb with the three princes during the mutiny
and was captured here in 1857 by Lieutenant Hodson.
How To Reach
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Rail services to most Indian locations. Road links to neighbouring
states and major cities.