Monday, 6 April 2015

Places to Visit in Delhi: Humayun Tomb

It is well-known that Taj Mahal borrowed its design to a large extent from the Humayun Tomb in Delhi. What differentiates the two is the pristine white marble of Taj Mahal.

The Humayun Tomb, Delhi

Another important but little-known difference is that Taj Mahal was made by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife whereas Humayun Tomb was built during 1565 to 1572 AD in memory of Emperor Humayun by his widow Hamida Bano Begum.

The main tomb is that of Humayun

This 47 meter high mausoleum structure was built on a 12000 square meter platform and has over 100 graves including, of course, that of Humayun. The mausoleum is surrounded by Char Bagh (four geometrical gardens in Persian style).

The Humayun Tomb has well maintained gardens on all sides

The structures and the gardens have been painstakingly restored by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Agha Khan Trust and they seem to have done a good job. Some of the restoration work is still going on. This is an UNESCO World Heritage site.

One of the magnificent arches of Humayun Tomb

During and immediately after partition the complex was used as a camp for refugees. During that time the complex suffered lot of damage which took the ASI quite some time to restore.

Humayun Tomb is a World Heritage Site 

Just behind the grand structure is a historical Gurudwara, Gurudwara Dam Dama Sahib whose onion-style dome is visible from the complex.

Carvings on the interior-side of the dome of Humayun Tomb

Inside the structure there are several sandstone screens which look beautiful, provide light and cool air and during summers it is a relief to be inside this building from the outside soaring temperatures.

A sandstome screen

There is a separate structure called Nai-ka-Gumbad for the royal barber. A person who is allowed to touch and cut the Emperor’s precious hair, has to be, by definition, immensely trustworthy. He probably passed on the palace gossip to the Emperor while massaging his scalp. No wonder he gets an exclusive resting place close to that of his master!

Nai ka Gumbad

Humayun Tomb was built by artisans brought all the way from Persia (today Iran). They knew their trade except that the stairs are as treacherous as ever. I wonder if it was deliberate!

The stairs at the Humayun Tomb are very steep

These artisans lived in the complex in what is today called Arab-ki-Sarai.

Arab-ki-Sarai Gateway

There are Gateways which are 48 foot high. A major portion of the Arab-ki-Sarai is either in ruins or has been taken over by an Industrial Training Institute. Though I could see conservation work on its Southern Gateway but on the main premises not much has been done. In this premises there is a well and a stepwell though both are not in good condition and the water collected there was green due to algae formation.

Arab-ki-Sarai where the artisans from Persia lived

Why is there no cafeteria and no souvenir shop in this important place visited by so many foreign and local tourists? 

3 comments:

swatiipr said...

Nice

Anil Yadav said...

Thanks for liking the post Swati!

Khushi R said...

Nice informative post on the Humayun's Tomb, Delhi. Delhi is the historically and culturally rich capital of India. It was captured, ransacked and rebuilt several times,hence the places to visit in Delhi have World Heritage status.Do visit the city to know the history of India.