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Friday, December 12, 2014

Humayun's Tomb: A great architecture by Mughals in India

Humayun's Tomb is the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun in Delhi, India. The tomb was commissioned by Humayun's first wife Bega Begum in 1569-70, and designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyas, a Persian architect chosen by Bega Begum.

It was the first garden-tomb on the Indian Subcontinent and is located in Nizamuddin east in Delhi, India, close to the Dina-panah citadel also known as Old Fort, that Humayun founded in 1533. It was also the first structure to use red sandstone at such a scale. The tomb was declared a World heritage site by UNESCO  in 1993, and since then has undergone extensive restoration work, which is complete. Besides the main tomb enclosure of Humayun, several smaller monuments dot the pathway leading up to it, from the main entrance in the West, including one that even pre-dates the main tomb itself, by twenty years; it is the tomb complex of Afghan noble in sher shah suri's, Isha khan niyazi who fought against the  the Mughals, constructed in 1547 CE.

The complex encompasses the main tomb of the Emperor Humayun, which houses the graves of Bega Begum herself, Hamida Begum, and also Dara Shikoh, great-great-grandson of Humayun and son of the later Emperor Shah Jahan, as well as numerous other subsequent Mughals. It represented a leap in  Mughals architecture and together with its accomplished garden, typical of Persian garden, but never seen before in India, it set a precedent for subsequent Mughal architecture. It is seen as a clear departure from the fairly modest mausoleum of his father, the first Mughal Emperor Babar, called Bagh-e-Babar (Gardens of Babur) in Kabul. Though the latter was the first Emperor to start the tradition of being buried in a paradise Garden. Modeled on Gur E Amir, the tomb of his ancestor and Asia's conqueror Timur in samarkand, it created a precedent for future Mughal architecture of royal mausolea, which reached its zenith with the Taj Mahal, at India.

The site was chosen on the banks of Yamuna river, due to its proximity to Nizamuddin dargah, the mausoleum of the celebrated Sufi saint of Delhi,Nizamuddin Awliah who was much revered by the rulers of Delhi, and whose residence, Chilla Nizamuddin Auliya lies just north-east of the tomb.