The tomb or maqbara for the Mughal emperor Humayun was built in 1565, nine years after his death, by his widow empress Hamida Bega Begum who decided to create the most beautiful mausoleum for her husband. The construction lasted 7 years and was finished in 1572.
Humayun’s Tomb: Significance and Architecture
Humayun’s Tomb was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. It is the first important example of Mughal architecture in India, a grand symbol of one of the most powerful dynasty that ruled the sub-continent. It is significant because it inspired several architectural innovations culminating in the design of the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world. So you know it all started here.
Things to observe at Humayun’s Tomb: Mughal Art, Architecture and Design
Symmetry: Notice that everything is symmetrical. The entire structure with the ‘Char-bagh’ garden layout is perfectly symmetrical. Just pause and think how much of planning went into achieving this core principle of Islamic Design.
Merging of Styles Notice how architectural styles are merging – you will see influences of Persian, Turkish and Indian architecture in the structure. It’s an interesting game to play – try to guess which element belongs to which style.
No Sculpture: Notice that you do not see sculpture or paintings of people- Islam does not believe in portraying the physical form of things but their true essence.
Sacred Geometry: Geometry is considered the language of the universe. You will notice a common feature of Islamic art – many geometric patterns used in repetition- this is meant to represent the infinite.
Humayun’s Tomb: Interiors
Humayun’s Tomb Complex: Isa Khan’s Tomb
Humanyun’s tomb is situated near the shrine of the 14th century sufi saint, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. It is considered auspicious to be buried near a saint’s grave and hence you can find many other tombs around this area – making this a tomb complex.
In the end, when we were leaving we were lucky to witness a beautiful sunset at this magnificent tomb. I could not help but get poetic and remember what the Persian poet, Rumi said about death…
If you have more time do visit the other tombs in the complex. And like we did, walk to the Nizammuddin dargah right across the road. Read about what we discovered in Nizamuddin basti in our post: 72 hours in Delhi. Part1: Streets of Delhi – Eat, Walk, Metro