Humayun's Tomb

Brief
Located near the crossing of Mahura road and Lodhi road, this magnificent garden tomb is the first substantial example of Mughal architecture in India. It was buit in 1565 A.D.nine years after the death of Humayun, by his senior widow Bega Begam. Inside the walled enclosure the most notable feature are the garden squares (chaharbagh) with pathways water channels, centrally located well proportional mausoleum topped by double dome. There are several graves of Mughal rulers located inside the walled enclosure and from here in 1857 A.D; Lieutenant Hudson had captured the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah II.

History
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. Bega Begum also known as Haji Begum, the Persian wife of Humayun, supervised the construction of a tomb for husband. Humayun's Tomb was the first building to be constructed during the reign of Akbar. The mausoleum was built from 1562-1572 AD in Delhi. It was constructed with the help of a Persian architect, Mirak Mirza Ghiyuath. The Humayun's Tomb clearly exhibits the influence of Persian art. The site chosen for the building was on the bank of the Yamuna River adjoining the shrine of the Sufi saint of Chisti silsilah, Nizamuddin Auliya.

The Architecture
The splendour of this monument becomes evident on entering the grandiose double-storeyed gateway. High rubble walls enclose a square garden divided into four large squares separated by causeways and water channels. Each square is divided again into smaller squares by pathways, forming a typical Mughal garden called Charbagh. The fountains were worked with simple yet highly developed engineering skills quite common in India during this period. The last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar II had taken refuge in this tomb during the first War of Independence in 1857. Several rulers of the Mughal dynasty lie buried here. Humayun's wife is buried here too.

The Tomb     
Humayun's Tomb was the first garden tomb made in India. The garden is divided into 36 squares by a grid of water channels and paths. The square garden is surrounded by a high rubble wall divided initially into four large squares separated by causeways and channels, each square divided again into smaller squares by pathways creating a char bagh. The laying down of the gardens in the Persian style was introduced by Babur and continued till the period of Shah Jahan. 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 storeyed 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 tomb is crowned by 42.5 m high colossal double dome. 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. The enclosure is entered through two eminent double-storeyed gateways, one on the west and the other on the south. The southern gateway remains closed nowadays. The baradari or the pavilion occupies the center of the eastern wall and the hamam or the bath chamber the center of northern wall.