View of Charbagh from the terrace of Humayun's Tomb, New Delhi, India

A Morning at Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi

Listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Humayun’s tomb was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. Built in 1572, it was also the inspiration for the Taj Mahal.

Sightseeing is like chasing a dream. It’s also good for mental health and inspiration. I needed inspiration to practice my photography skills (I had just started with my DSLR), so on a cool morning I landed at Humayun’s Tomb. I don’t think I succeeded with arty photographs, but the serene ambience did make me feel better. Contrary to our imagination regarding mausoleums this one doesn’t burden you with death. It’s sublime and restful.

Who was Humayun?

Born on March 6, 1508, at Kabul, Afghanistan, he was named Nāṣir al-Dīn Muḥammad. His father, Babur, was the founder of the Mughal Dynasty. Humāyūn ruled from 1530-1540 and again from 1555-1556. He died in January 1556 after slipping from the stairs of his library in the neighbouring Old Fort, which he had built.

Heavenly Resting Place

The grand tomb was commissioned by his first wife—Hamida Banu Begum. It was designed by Persian architect Mirak Mirza Ghiyas, who died before the mausoleum was completed. His son Sayyid Muhammad-i Mirak completed it. The vision was a resting place in paradise, as described in the Holy Quran. Even Babur’s tomb in Afghanistan is based on this model.

The empress chose to build the tomb in close proximity to the shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia, as it is considered auspicious to have a resting place close to a saint’s grave. It was also close to the Old Fort. The construction began in 1565 and was completed in 1572.It cost the empress Rs 1.5 million.

South Gate, Humayun's Tomb, Delhi (India), UNESCO
South Gate, Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi (India), UNESCO

Persian and Indian craftsmen worked together to build this tomb. There are two lofty entrances-one on the south and other on the west. There are pavilions in the centre of the eastern and northern walls. Visitors go through the west gate.

West Gate, Humayun's Tomb, Delhi (India), UNESCO
West Gate, Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi (India), UNESCO

There were many firsts in this—the use of red sandstone and the paradisical gardens. The red sandstone structure with white and black inlaid marble borders is surrounded by a beautiful garden. The 30-acre of greens are quite a mesmerising sight. They do take away the sadness of death.

This four-quadrant garden, Charbagh, has water channels representing the four rivers flowing in paradise. Pools connect the channels. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has partnered with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture to conserve the tomb, its gardens and the buffer zones, including the neighbouring Sunder Nursery. The flowing water has been restored as it was an essential element of the garden.  

Humayun's Tomb, Delhi (India), UNESCO World Heritage site

I kept clicking pictures, while walking towards the mausoleum, built on a high, terraced platform. The magnificent marble dome did catch my eye, but my small lens wasn’t able to capture the details of this 42.5 m high structure. There used to be blue ceramic tiles on pillared chhatris or kiosks.  

Here rests Mughal Emperor Humayun, New Delhi, India
Here rests Mughal Emperor Humayun, New Delhi, India

The large octagonal structure is home to pigeons as well. The vaulted roof compartments are interconnected by corridors. The second storey is similarly planned but visitors are not allowed to go there.

  • Mughal family tombs, Humayun's Tomb, Delhi (India), UNESCO
  • Tombs of Mughal family on terrace,, Humayun's Tomb, Delhi (India), UNESCO
  • Verses from the Quran, inscribed in Persian, Mughal Family Tombs,, Humayun's Tomb, Delhi (India), UNESCO

There are many tombs on the terrace as well. In fact, historians have labelled this as a ‘dormitory of the Mughals’ as over 150 Mughal family members are buried here.

  • 16th century monuments inside Humayun's Tomb, Delhi (India), UNESCO
  • Signboard, 16th century monuments inside Humayun's Tomb, Delhi (India), UNESCO
  • 16th century monuments inside Humayun's Tomb, Delhi (India), UNESCO
  • 16th century monuments inside Humayun's Tomb, Delhi (India), UNESCO
  • 16th century monuments inside Humayun's Tomb, Delhi (India), UNESCO

The complex area covers 27.04 ha and also encloses 16th-century Mughal garden-tombs such as Nila Gumbad, Isa Khan, Bu Halima, Afsarwala, Barber’s Tomb and Arab Serai (where the craftsmen employed for the building Humayun’s Tomb stayed).

It’s quite amazing to find a quiet green zone amid the bustling Nizamuddin. In fact, the tomb has resulted in the conservation of buildings located in the buffer zone, that is the adjacent Sundarwala and Batashewala complexes.  

With the sun going higher, I decided to go back another day to shoot the other monuments and explore Sunder Nursery. Packing my camera, I turned back to take a final look at the monument that led to the perfection of architecture during the Mughal era and culminated in the magnificent Taj Mahal.

Quick Facts about Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi

Entrance to the main structure, Humayun's Tomb, Delhi (India), UNESCO
Entrance to the main structure, Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi (India), UNESCO

 Entry Fee per person:  Rs 30 for Indians; Rs 500 for Foreign Tourists

Rs 20 for Photography; Rs 25 for Video filming

Timing: (Monday-Sunday) 6am-6pm

Nearest Metro Station: Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium

BlogchatterA2Z 2023, Alphabet H

This blog post is part of #BlogchatterA2Z 2023 challenge.

Read previous posts A, B, CD, E, F, G


43 thoughts on “A Morning at Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi

  1. Fascinating to learn that Humayun’s Tomb was the inspiration for the Taj Mahal. The red sandstone with the white and black marble make for a beautiful architecture. It was good to know that the tomb did not burden you with death but was rather restful. The outdoor gardens and pools would certainly calm me. Great that a buffer zone has been created around the tomb area to make the area feel even calmer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Humayun’s Tomb was the first monument I have visited on my first visit to New Delhi. I met a local (years later and we are still good friends) through Couchsurfing who decided that this was one of the prettiest places in Delhi, so he took me there on his motorbike. It was a great introduction to Delhi. I remember the beautiful architecture and all the green around. Delhi was very hot, and visiting Humayun’s Tomb was a perfect place to cool down. It is indeed a tomb in paradise.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s a great post on Humayun’s tomb. Nice to know that Humayun’s tomb was also Taj Mahal’s inspiration and the first garden tomb. I totally agree that site seeing is good for mental health and develop your photography skills. The tomb is a architectural masterpiece built in red sand stone with black and white marble. The Charbagh is also a beautiful garden with water channels and pools representing paradise.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a beautiful place to call a final resting place. I’m captivated by the architecture of the tomb, and that it’s still in such good condition. The history behind it is fascinating to read, as I know nothing about the Mughals history in India. It would be a place I would spend plenty of time photographing, it’s truly an architectural and peaceful gem.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It looks like a nice place to release your stress while learning about the history of the Mughals family. I found it interesting that the mausoleum was built with inspiration from the Holy Quran. I wonder if the one in Afghanistan is still around.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Loved reading your morning adventure at Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi, and I couldn’t resist sharing your excitement! First of all, I can just picture appreciating the sheer grandeur of that place? It’s like stepping into a magical realm where history comes alive. I mean, those intricate details and majestic architecture are just wow! And let’s not forget about the lush gardens surrounding the tomb too. Somehow exploring Delhi’s rich history and cultural heritage by going to places like this is always a win in my book. Can’t wait till our India trip later this year, will def add this to my list! 🕌✨📸

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, this was such an interesting read! I have never heard of this place before, yet it was the inspiration for Taj Mahal. And the buildings there do look very beautiful. As it is the burial ground for so many, it makes you respect it so much more. I would love to be able to visit someday.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It seems peaceful to go around Humayun’s Tomb early in the day. You can relax while also increasing your appreciation for this historic location. Its architecture appears to be really stunning. I’ll surely take photos of the amazing scenery around it as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lovely read! I had no idea that Humayun’s tomb was the inspiration for the Taj Mahal. It must have been so amazing to explore this area and take photos, learning more of the history and culture. I would have enjoyed the beautiful gardens as well!


  10. Humayun’s Tomb is truly a magnificent architectural wonder and a testament to the rich history of the Mughal Dynasty. The fact that it inspired the iconic Taj Mahal speaks volumes about its beauty and significance.
    I can relate to your experience of visiting Humayun’s Tomb for inspiration and finding solace in its serene ambiance. Sometimes, sightseeing can be a source of mental rejuvenation and a chance to explore one’s creative pursuits. It’s admirable that you sought to practice your photography skills in such a remarkable setting.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This is interesting and great new info. It really was an inspiration for the Taj Mahal judging by its looks. I’d say that the Taj Mahal was a bigger and nicer version of this, with its color and size making it more attractive.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Many people only talk about known heritages likes Taj mahal, bibi ka makbara and all. But great to know about Humayun Tomb as it also says a history. ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Liked this post and the presentation; writing style, factual edits and pictorial narration. But I assume there were more magnificent sites before the Humayun’s Tomb which we need to explore. Our history books never taught us about them. Looking forward to read about such sites at your blog.


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