This one from the Sarojini Haul, Peter Pater wine dress for the help, metling myself to the ruling period.
Marhaaban my loveliest readers, I am right back from the dream world to share my this escapade. Not taking much time here I take you to my fascination of The Humayun’s Tomb.
The place is one of a kind. One where you might like to bury a million thoughts. I’ve always been a keen observer and praiser of Mughal culture. Their monuments, in particular, and the mist that floats between you and the brainstorming that had served as a precursor to the building, is divine. That mysterious smell of royalty that chokes you to pleasure is sacred. And as they say, its the mystery, in which lies its beauty.And we couldn’t agree more. The beautiful jaalis and chambers seemed to hide someone who overlooked us. With a keen look in his eyes. The walls feel as if they trap in them some living and loving souls. Making you want to scream and confirm their presence. Touch the graves, and they seem to be gold. You are spellbound , but fearful, that your touch might dirty the art.
But then your unconcious scientific mind clicks ,and you wonder if the graves still lie intact. Those Arabic words, which you might not have the knowledge to understand, are like love . You may not know their meaning, but you surely recognise its touch.
Mughal architecture has its soul living in those jaalis , dense and beautiful like the Kohinoor. Nothing’s changed my friend. They stole your heart then, and hence have they done that again. I am a laywoman, and those figures seemed like vaastu shastra to me . The chirping now attracts your attention ,and they seem to share your feelings of joy and overwhelm. People come and forget but what has my curiosity till date, is these forts closing by evenings. Do they come to life and enjoy their dynasty’s creations? Anyhow…
The smell took away your heart, you still had your mind. But as “older the wine, the better” stands true, the old red stones seem to capture it as well. The Darbar of Hearts in Delhi! When its creators stood in our place, what might have they felt! What pride! The kings and their queens, when they took over these places for their lone,long romantic walks, what joy! Their ornaments, their dresses, what royalty! The gardens seem to reflect that even today,and seems like they’ll continue to for another hundred years.
To capture the place’s full essence.I wore a red dress, its time you wore yours, and set on a journey to the divinity of Mughal architecture. They created their heavens, its about time, that we create ours.
Well, this if you have read, was my experience on a lofted plane, But now we will go through its structural series. Reads on…
A heritage walk through the Humayun’s Tomb Complex in Delhi, best known for the tomb of Mughal King Humayun but it is a melange of heritage monuments belonging to known and unknown officers and nobles of Mughal Court. While we talk, it is Delhi’s best preserved heritage monument. This travel blog guides you through the different sections of the Humayun’s Tomb complex.
When it comes to talk about Taj Mahal’s blueprint, people redirect you to the Humayun Tomb in Delhi. As people reach the Humayun’s Tomb Complex, they quickly walk past several structures trying to reach the main Tomb. In this hurry, they generally ignores the fact, that Humayun’s Tomb Complex is actually a combination of 4 different complexes with a series of monuments, some of which are totally hidden from visitors.
Now let’s try to think about the order these four should actually be visited in…
As you enter the Humayun’s Tomb Complex from the ticket counter, on your right is Kotla Isa Khan Niazi,the oldest planned Garden Tomb in India. It is an octagonal tomb with an octagonal boundary wall. The single entry/exit towards North is accessed via a plight of stairs. Towards west is the 3 domed Mosque on high platform. Right outside the mosque, on the platform is a well, meant for ablution.
In the middle of the beautiful octagonal park is situated the tomb of Isa Khan Niazi. He was born in 1453, when Delhi was just taken over by the Lodhis. Soon he became popular amongst the ruling houses of Delhi. He belonged to a Pashtoon Family and in the final years of his life, he was hired by Sher Shah Suri, who made him the governor of Multan and bestowed him with the title of Azam-i-Humayun. Within a few years of his governorship, Isa Khan Niazi died at the age of 95 and was brought to Delhi to be buried in this Tomb, which was built during his lifetime. This complex was built, roughly a decade before the death of Humayun.
As we step out of Kotla Isa Khan, we proceed towards Humayun’s Tomb through Bu Halima’s Enclosure. An interesting fact is that the only entrance to Bu Halima’s Enclosure is facing towards Humayun’s Tomb and towards Isa Khan’s Kotla is its back. However, much earlier the wall towards Kotla of Isa Khan was broken and British created a beautiful pathway through it, connecting Isa Khan’s Complex with Humayun’s Tomb via Bu Halima’s Enclosure. Anyways…
While not much information is available about Bu Halima, popular record states that she travelled with Babur to India and served as a wet nurse of Humayun. Due to her respected status in the Mughal family, she was buried right outside the Humayun’s Tomb and a proper garden tomb was built in her honour. This,however is an unusual tomb with no domes or chambers. Cenotaph is on the high platform. Ideally, there should have been the crypt with the original grave. It also appears that there is a huge chamber below the cenotaph, but a lack of access to the chamber leads to two hypotheses: a) It was never built, b) It was sealed during the course of time.
As we cross Bu Halima’s Garden Tomb, entrance to Humayun’s Tomb is just 140 meters further east. Connected to Bu Halima’s Gateway on the South is the gateway to Arab ki Sarai. This magnificent complex comprises of several untouched secrets. Starting from the huge gateway with rooms and platforms to sit, the inner lawns have random grave platforms. To north is the Afsarwala (Officer’s) Tomb and Mosque, belonging to unknown nobles. 200-meter-long Arab Sarai Complex has a huge market down south, commonly known as Mir Bhanu’s Market. The Market has a small entrance from lawns, often ignored by visitors to the Monument. As you cross the secret slit in wall, you find yourself in another huge complex (Mir Bhanu’s Market), with two majestic gates, a huge courtyard with rooms on both sides, a baoli and a small attached block for horses and caravan animals. The gate on the west is permanently closed, while the gate on east that opens into Nizamuddin East colony is used by local residents only for their morning walks.
After exploring the other three complexes, one now enters The Humayun’s Tomb . It has two entry gates, but only one, that on the west is open to visitors. Humayun’s Tomb is a fine example of a well-planned Mughal Charbagh. The Garden is divided into 4 parts, where each part is further divided into 8 sections. In the centre, stands a square platform, the majestic Humayun’s Tomb. Though the structure appears to be a square from distance, upon closer observation one realizes that the Tomb is actually an octagon. The southern gate of this complex is most interesting with a small compound attached to it. The compound is closed for public as ASI uses it to store material used to maintain the lawns. It also has a small mosque with graves built with greystone. In the South East corner of lawns, is situated the Barber’s Tomb. People say that he was the loyal barber of Humayun. However, it cannot be said with 100% surety that he was the same person. The Barber’s Tomb contains two graves, probably of barber and his wife.
Towards north and east, we have beautiful pavilions, one touching the Yamuna and other having a huge well which might have had a Persian wheel in past to lift water and circulate for the garden fountains. Garden of Humayun’s Tomb has earliest reference of water harvesting in Delhi.
The main tomb was constructed to be the graveyard of Taimur family. In the centre, rests emperor Humayun, son of Babur. Tomb is reached via four plights of stairs on each side. The high platform has numerous rooms on the lower level. The upper level has main tomb with 5 chambers. Central chamber has grave of Humayun alone, while other 4 chambers have several other family members of Humayun, including his wives and daughters. As the chambers got full, the outer courtyard was used to bury the Mughal royalty. While the grave of Humayun is situated inside the crypt below main grave, the cenotaph is one of the most beautifully decorated.
Cenotaph of Humayun is a rare example where ‘Kalam’, used to denote a male grave ,is missing. This chamber was originally decorated with beautiful drapes and chandelier illuminating the entire complex.
Not just Humayun’s Tomb Complex, but the wall around it also hides numerous secrets. The Khanqah and Chillah (residence) of Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya (r.a.) of chisti order of sufism was constructed much before kotla of Isa Khan Niazi or any other structure in Humayun’s Tomb. The periphery of complex has several other monuments including Sunderwala Burj, Sunderwala Mahal, Lakkarwala Burj, Chhota and Bada Batashewala Mahal, a Mughal Tomb, Gurudwara Damdama Sahib, Nila Gumbad, Sabz Burj, Sayyid Yassin’s Tomb and many graves, mosques and small structures.
The structural account has been taken and edited from the blog INDITALES.COM,titled HUMAYUN TOMB COMPLEX TOUR, by ANURADHA GOYAL . INDITALES.COM. I liked her account very much and found it to suite my purpose extremely well. Hearty thanks to her!
And of course, we’d like to thank ZapinG, who have yet again helped us in crisis. They always save my day when my wardrobe doesn’t impress my wants and they’ll surely work out for you as well.
This is from me Shivani giving thanks to Kirti Kapoor for photography and Vibhor my blog partner for writing this expert heritage story .❤️
Stay tuned and keep The H Life running !!!