Humanyun Tomb

Trip Start Nov 06, 2010
1
8
45
Trip End Mar 18, 2011


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Sunday, November 14, 2010

This was so far our most impressive site yet in New Delhi, Humanyun Tomb.  The tomb was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993 and since then has undergone extensive restoration work, which is still underway.  Below is some history so you can get a feel for the pictures in the entry.

Humayun, the eldest son of Babur, succeeded his father and became the second emperor of the Mughal Empire. He ruled India for nearly a decade but was ousted by Sher Shah Suri, the Afghan ruler. Humayun took refuge at the court of the Safavid ruler, Shah of Persia, who helped in regain Delhi in 1555 AD. Unfortunately, he was not able to rule for a long time and met with his untimely death after he fell from the stairs of the Sher Mandal library. Haji Begum, the Persian wife of Humayun, supervised the construction of a tomb for her husband. The mausoleum was built from 1562-1572 AD in Delhi.

The Humayun's Tomb was a landmark in establishing some of the essential norms for later Mughal mausoleums in India.  It is set in the middle of a geometrically arranged garden. In Islam, there is a concept that paradise is a place set somewhere in the middle of the garden with water flowing through it.

The entry to the Humayun's Tomb is through a long axial processional track. On the way, there are gateways, which offer a glimpse of the tomb. The tomb is octagonal in shape and placed over a platform with colonnades, under which there are numerous graves of lesser known people and can be ascribed to various nobles and workers of Humayun's period. A great central chamber has four offsets, double storied in height and with arcade on their facades. Their openings closed with perforated screens. Three emphatic arches dominate each side, the central one being the highest. The central room contains the cenotaph of the emperor Humayun. and his queen Bega begum.

The structure is built mainly with red sandstone along with use of white and black marble to relieve the monotony. The marble is used largely in the borders. The dome is made of white marble. The Humayun's tomb is the first Indian building to use the Persian concept of a double dome.

It is also the first finest example of the garden-tomb, which culminated in the Taj Mahal at Agra. The design of the Taj Mahal is inspired from the Humayun's Tomb.

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