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.
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 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.
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.