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Humayun’s Tomb

My First Visit to Humayun’s Tomb. Humayun’s Tomb, the tomb of the great Mughal Emperor Humayun, was built way back in 1572 by his widow Bega Begum and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. The Mughal era is the most favourite part of Indian history. The mausoleum is constructed of red sandstone and stands on a 7m high platform. The central burial chamber being of black and white marble. It’s said to be the first garden-tomb to be built in the Indian subcontinent and is one of the first monuments to be made using the combination of red sandstone and white marble in India. The tomb is set in 12 hectares of serene and beautiful gardens.

History Of Humayun’s Tomb

Humayun’s tomb is the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun in Delhi, India. The tomb was commissioned by Humayun’s first wife and chief consort, Empress Bega Begum, in 1569-70, and designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyas, a Persian architect chosen by her. It was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent and is located in Nizamuddin East, Delhi, India, close to the Dina-Panah Citadel, also known as Purana Qila (Old Fort), that Humayun founded in 1533. It was also the first structure to use red sandstone at such a scale. The tomb was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, and since then has undergone extensive restoration work, which is complete. Besides the main tomb enclosure of Humayun, several smaller monuments dot the pathway leading up to it, from the main entrance in the West, including one that even pre-dates the main tomb itself, by twenty years; it is the tomb complex of Isa Khan Niyazi, an Afghan noble in Sher Shah Suri’s court of the Suri dynasty, who fought against the Mughals, constructed in 1547 CE. The construction began in 1565, nine years after his death, and completed in 1572 AD at a cost of 1.5 million rupees at the time.After his death on 27 January 1556, Humayun’s body was first buried in his palace in Purana Quila at Delhi. Thereafter, Purana Quila damaged the tomb of Humayun. In 1558, it was seen by his son, the then Mughal Emperor, Akbar. Akbar subsequently visited the tomb when it was about to be completed in 1571

The architecture of Humayun’s tomb

The Humayun’s tomb is the starting point of the Mughal architecture in India. This style is a delightful amalgamation of the Persian, Turkish and Indian architectural influences. This genre was introduced during the reign of Akbar the Great and reached its peak during the reign of Shah Jahan, Akbar’s grandson and the fifth Mughal Emperor. Humayun’s tomb heralded the beginning of this new style in India, in both size and grandeur. The high rubble built enclosure is entered through two lofty double-storeyed gateways on the west and south, 16 metres high with rooms on either side of the passage and small courtyards on the upper floors. Six-sided stars that adorn the main gateway on the west, are also seen on the iwan of the main tomb structure, though it has been used as an ornamental cosmic symbol.

Inspired by Persian architecture; the tomb reaches a height of 47 metres (154 ft) and is 91 metres (299 ft) wide, and was the first Indian building to use the Persian double dome on a high neck drum, and measures 42.5 metres (139 ft), and is topped by 6 metres (20 ft) high brass finial ending in a crescent, common in Timurid tombs. The double or ‘double-layered’ dome, has its outer layer which supports the white marble exterior, while the inner part gives shape to the cavernous interior volume. As a contrast to the pure white exterior dome, rest of the building is made up of red sandstone, with white and black marble and yellow sandstone detailing, to relieve the monotony.

The main chamber also carries the symbolic element, a mihrab design over the central marble lattice or jaali, facing Mecca in the West, here instead of the traditional Surah 24, An-Noor of Quran which is inscribed on the mihrabs, this one is just an outline allowing light to enter directly into the chamber, from Qibla or the direction of Mecca, thus elevating the status of the Emperor, above his rivals and closer to divinity

The building was first to use its unique combination of red sandstone and white marble and includes several elements of Indian architectural, like the small canopies, or chhatris surrounding the central dome, popular in Rajasthani architecture and which were originally covered with blue tiles.

Have a look at the pictures!

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