The marriage between Mughal and Persian architecture can be best exemplified in the magnificent Humayun’s Tomb. Humayun was India’s second Mughal emperor. A Persian architect designed the tomb which was commissioned by his widow, Hamida Banu Begum, in 1562, six years after his death.
From afar, one cannot help but be awed at this amazing structure. The use of red sandstone made Humayun’s Tomb regally stand out in the middle of a Charbagh Persian garden. Charbagh is a style in Persian gardens where a rectangular garden is divided into four parts using walkways and water features. This was also the first edifice where the red sandstone was used in a grand scale. The boldness of the color really made Humayun’s Tomb a remarkable architectural milestone. By 1993, Humayun’s Tomb was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the clear depiction of outstanding qualities of architecture during the period it was erected in. It also introduced the concept of garden tombs.
At close inspection, the Humayun’s Tomb is a mausoleum built out of love. The intricacy in the marble work and the inlay patterns are quite exquisite. As one goes nearer, it is hard to choose on which architectural detail one should focus on. The combination of the various geometrical patterns, the ceiling chambers that take in light in a dramatic way, the lattice work and the different passageways are all indeed an overwhelming sight. Visitors will definitely need to take a moment to just absorb the beauty. Although some of the patterns have faded through time, its elaborate workmanship still shows its rich interior.
The cenotaph, which is an empty tomb in honor of a person, lies prominently in the main chamber. Humayun’s actual burial site is underneath the main chamber but is restricted from the public. Humayun’s wife, Hamida Banu Begum, who commissioned this tomb, is also buried here along with other Mughal emperors who succeeded him.
The tomb underwent major restoration in the past decade including the planting of flowers and trees to restore the regal glory of the site. The water system was also revitalized to enable water to flow through the waterways and fountain systems the way it was originally designed. Today, these water canals are crucial in keeping the garden in a healthy condition.
Luckily, these restoration efforts did not go to waste. The proof can be seen by the influx of tourists to the site. Many visitors are impressed by the beauty of the place. Humayun’s tomb is located near Lodi Road in New Delhi and can be reached through different modes of transportation. Tourists may have to pay a certain fee to set foot on the site but the structure is open to visitors from sunrise to sunset. The best time to visit is in the late afternoon which is the optimal time for great photography. Photography fees however may be collected.
Humayun’s Tomb is indeed a perfect example of a landmark that depicts Mughal and Persian architecture. Its gorgeous gardens, repeating archways, well-proportioned dome structure and rich history are worth the visit. Humayun’s Tomb is indeed a reminder of India’s glorious past and flourishing present.