Humayun tomb

A Delhi tomb which was the inspiration for the Great Taj mahal…

Humayun Tomb


Introduction: We all know that the Mughal always loved gardens and it is clearly visible in the second Mughal Emperor Humayun’s tomb. Located in the eastern part of Delhi, this tomb is one of the best preserved Mughal monuments. Red sandstone is used entirely in the construction. Just like other typical Mughal architecture, garden is divided into four equal squares separated by water channels known as “Chaar Bagh”. Each square is further divided into smaller squares by pathways. In the centre of the garden, the tomb stands on a 22 feet high platform. Each side of the platform of the tomb has 17 arches. The floor of the platform also contains a number of unidentified graves. Main tomb is a square structure surmounted by a large dome made up of marble. The central octagonal chamber contains the cenotaph of Humayun. Actual grave is exactly below it and cannot be approached by anyone. Tomb is 47 meters high, and its breadth is 91meters (approximately). It has two entrance gates one in the west and other in the south.

The tomb was built under the supervision of a Persian architect Mirak Mirza Gyas at the cost of 15 lacs at that time. This tomb is built with three kinds of stones. Enclosure walls and two gateways are built of local quartzite and other gateways are beautified with red sandstone and marble.  The painting work in the center of the ceiling and sides and the plaster work have no match. This can be the perfect example of proper Mughal style architecture. Not only Humayun but several other members of the royal Mughal family are also buried in the tomb area and any tombstones can still be seen on the terrace of the tomb. In many ways this magnificent red and white palace is as beautiful as Taj Mahal of agra.


Some other monuments inside the complex are:

Arab ki sarai

The place is said to be built for the 300 horse carts that the Hamida Bhanu begum had brought from Mecca. Sarai means the resthouse hence it was a named Arab Sarai. This area is divided into two gateways, there are arched cells known as mandi.  Arab ki sarai is supposed to have been built by Haji Begum (Hamida Bhanu Begum). The construction of the tomb was started in 1605 A.D and almost took 22 years to be completely constructed. Some additions were later made by Mihir Banu in 1605 who was chief eunuch in the time of Jahangir (A.D.1605-1627).

Nai ka gumbad

The tomb stands on a raised platform, reached by seven steps from the south gate, it has a square plan and consists of a single compartment covered with a double-dome. Inside lie two graves each inscribed with verses from the Quran.  It is believed that tomb houses the remains of Fahim Khan, the aide of Abdur Rahim Khan, who lived during the reign of Jahangir and died in 1626 A.D.

Tomb of Isa Khan

 One can see on the south west end of bu halima’s garden, a mosque having mesmerizing mihrabs known as Isa Khan’s Mosque. This used to be his resting place. Isa Khan was a noble of influence at the court of Sher Shan Suri. This octagonal tomb is attractively designed with canopies, shiny tiles and a deep verandah surrounding it supported by pillars. A sandstone slab inscribed over the mihrab dates back to the construction year. Isa khan decided to build himself a tomb and it was constructed at the same time as the tomb. He died a few months later at the age of 95 and his body was placed in this attractive octagonal tomb in the same year. The lawns of the monument also contain the Afsarwala Tomb and Mosque.


History/About: On 20th January 1556, Emperor Humayun died and buried in his own Palace in Delhi. Later, on the instructions of his successor Emperor Akbar his grave was shifted to Sirhind in Punjab. In 1565, construction work in Delhi was started by Bega begum about nine and a half year after the demise of Humayun. She went to Macca for ‘Haj’ and returned after three years. She then came to be known as ‘Haji Begum’. In 1581AD the tomb was completely constructed at a cost of more than 1.5 million at that time. From 17th to the 19th centuries the garden was filled with the tombs of Humayun’s descendents and his courtiers. This tomb was called as the general graveyard of the house of Timur. Several members of the royal Mughal family lie buried in the tomb area and many tombstones can still be seen on the terrace of the tomb. It was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent built on red sandstone. Legend has that garden existed before tomb were built.


Visiting hours: 06:00AM to 06:00PM


Open: Daily


Entry Fee: 30 (Indians), 250 (foreigners)


Nearest metro station: JLN Stadium


Address: Mathura Road, Nizamuddin, New Delhi-110003


Contact no: 011-24355275



1 Comment

  1. hi vishal
    nice article thank you for sharing the knowledge

    taj mahal tours

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