Humayun’s Tomb, as the name suggests, is the tomb of the great Moghul Emperor Humayun who ruled the city of Delhi, India. The construction of this tomb was ordered by Humayun’s first wife, Bega Begum, in 1565, who appointed a Persian architect, Mirak Mirza Ghiyas, to do the task. The garden-tomb is the first of its kind to be built in the Indian subcontinent and is situated close to another famous landmark of Delhi, Purana Quila (Old Fort). Purana Quila was founded by Humayun in 1533. In 1993, Humayun’s Tomb was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has gone through major restorations since then. The tomb ground holds many other small monuments, amongst those is one which is surprisingly 20 years older than the main tomb – the tomb of Isa Khan Niyazi constructed in 1547 CE, an Afghan noble who was a part of Sher Shah Suri’s court of the Suri dynasty.
Humayun’s tomb is not only the resting place of Humayun but a lot of other family members and Mughals including Bega Begum, Hamida Begum, Dara Sheikh the great-great-grandson of Humayun and the son of Shah Jahan, Jahandar Shah (the son of emperor Bahadur Shah I), Farrukhsiyar (son of Azim-ush-Shan who was the second son of Bahadur Shah I), and other notable Mughals. The tomb complex adorned with the one-of-its-kind and magnificent gardens made the tomb something that nobody had ever seen before. Oozing of rich Persian designing, it became one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture.
The construction began in 1565 under the orders from Humayun’s first wife and chief consort Bega Begum and was regularly inspected by Humayun’s son, Akbar the great, until its completion in 1572, nine years after the emperor’s death (20th January 1556). Unfortunately, Mirak Mirza Ghiyas passed away during the construction. However, the remaining work was completed by his son Sayyed Muhammad ibn Mirak Ghiyathuddin.
The actual garden, Charbagh garden (named so because of its four corners), was a lush garden area covering almost 13 hectares enclosing the monument. However, this beautiful garden transformed into a vegetable garden in the 18th century when people staying around the area started producing vegetables in the land. After the Indian rebellion of 1857, the garden lost most of its Mughal charm when the ruling British decided to change the garden’s look to a more English version, replacing the four central water pools with circular flowerbeds. However, in the 20th century, Lord Curzon ordered that the original garden be restored and a major restoration process was carried out between 1903-190. Ultimately, in 1993, the site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the gardens and the monument went through severe restoration which finally led to salvaging of the four water pools after several centuries of them being dysfunctional.
Inspired by the beauty of Persian architecture, the tomb was made 91 metres wide and 47 metres high and displays the first of its kind Persian double dome in India. It is built out of red sandstone and rubble masonry while the plinth constructed out of rubble core has around 56 cells altogether and hold more than 100 gravestones.
Apart from the tomb, the Char bagh gardens and the tomb of Isa Khan Niyazi, the complex houses other monuments as well such as the barber’s tomb (the tomb of the royal barber), Bu Halima’s Tomb and Garden, Afsarwala Tomb and mosque (made for a nobleman in Akbar’s court), Araba Sarai (the resting place of the horses), Nila Gumbad (meaning Blue dome was built by Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana for his servant Miyan Fahim), and Chillah Nizamuddin Aulia (the supposed residence of Nizamuddin Auliya, the patron saint of Delhi).
On his previous visit to India in November 2010, US President Barack Obama visited the tomb.
The nearest metro station to Humayun's Tomb is JLN Stadium (Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium). The metro station is approx. 2 km from the monument. You can take an autorickshaw from the metro to the Tomb.
Alternatively, you can hire a radio taxi or a cab or ask the locals about the bus route.