humayun tomb location

Humayun: Founder of the Great Mughal Dynasty

Nine years after her husband’s death, Hamida Banu Begum hired a Persian architect to build a grand mausoleum in honor of her husband, Humayun, the second Mughal emperor. Why it took her almost a decade to come up with this decision, I’m not sure. But this 450-year-old Mughal monument (and a Unesco World Heritage Site) is the first garden-tomb on the Indian Subcontinent.

In contrast, Emperor Babur, founder of the great Mughal dynasty and father of Humayun, had requested out of piety that he be buried in a garden.

I guess none of the other emperors that succeeded him shared the same piety.

Anyway, so this is the first of the two gates…

humayun

Do not ever visit this place in summer. Do not be fooled by the lush green trees lining the pathway; they provide shade from the sun, but you’ll still perspire like you’re sitting in the middle of a desert. Do not assume that the tourists shown above are discussing the lovely weather. In short, do not visit Delhi in summer.

But the entrance to the garden is grand, nevertheless.

And here is a photograph from the second gate…

humayun's tomb

One look at Humayun’s mausoleum and one can immediately see where his great, great grandson, the famous emperor Shah Jahan, took his Taj Mahal inspiration from (except that he made it even grander so that it eventually became one of the World’s wonder).

humayun tomb location

Emperor Humayun’s story is a sad one.

Only 10 years after succeeding his father, Humayun faced resistance from the hands of an Afghan ruler, was defeated and driven out of Delhi in 1540 AD. Humayun took shelter in Iran and witnessed a series of hardships for nearly 15 years in exile during which period his son Akbar also was born. Humayun returned ultimately with a borrowed Persian army and defeated the son of the Afghan ruler who defeated him.

However, he died the following year after falling from his library stairs.

humayun tomb

Not learning from this tragedy, the succeeding Mughal emperors continued building such wide, heart attack-inducing concrete stairs. No other emperor has been reported to have fallen off the stairs after Humayun, but it remains fatal to visitors like us. I mean, just look at those guys in the picture above…you can clearly hear their hearts beating violently against their chests miles away. Notice that each one of them carries a life-saving device—a bottle of water.

“I will not climb that in this weather!” Masood refuses flatly. But his lovely wife needs to go up there and take photographs; it’s not like she visits this place everyday. And being the wonderful husband that he is, Masood delightfully and ecstatically obliges. “Sure,” he says, “I can’t wait to climb up those magnificent, royal steps!”

humayun tomb

Humayun’s garden is huge. And there are several other structures within these gardens that take us to another era. The details of these structures are a joy to photograph. But here’s the reality: it’s two in the afternoon, the heat is such that we could boil an egg in Humayun’s pool, our blood’s running low on potassium and chlorides, and our water bottle is already empty. In short, we didn’t want to be buried next to Humayun.

But I’d definitely visit this place again during the cooler months. I would say it will easily take a couple of hours to see everything.

Oh, and restoration works are currently under way at Humayun’s tomb. Architect Farkhod Bagirov from Uzbekistan is hired to do it. But why the Uzbeks, you wonder? Well, because the tile work is a complex, traditional art form in Uzbekistan, passed down generations. And although samples for physical and chemical analysis were sent at different laboratories worldwide including Oxford University, Barcelona, IIT Roorkee, Iran and Uzbekistan, the technique in Uzbekistan was found to be the closest to the original process. The Uzbek architect and his team have picked up the skill from their forefathers and have over 40 years of experience in traditional tile-making.

Humayun’s Tomb and Gardens

  • Timings: Open from sunrise to sunset
  • Location: Mathura Road, near the crossing with Lodi Road (every Delhiite knows this place)
  • Entrance Fee: Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) – Rs. 10 per head. Others: US $ 5 or Indian Rs. 250/- per head (children up to 15 years free)
  • Camera Fee: Rs. 25
  • Parking Fee: Rs. 10 for 4 hrs.

28 comments

    1. LavendarClouds, history without humor would make a boring post which nobody would care to read 😀 Besides, most of us know the facts from school already. That’s why I thought adding my own account would make the post more personal (as opposed to looking like a wikipedia).

    1. Hello, Aiman. I never really traveled this much before when I was studying. The opportunity to travel began after I got married 🙂

  1. Wow! Amazing shots Nadia! And I love your rhetorics very much and that’s what makes me enjoy your blog so well! The personal stories of heat wave,strokes ……is just absolutely so You!! 😀 And I must agree to your sentiment regarding the look-alike to the Taj Mahal,sort of a blueprint imagination.That window shot is fantastic!

    Why it took almost a decade to decide to build a mouseleum for Humayun sounds interesting.Maybe she wanted to get famous at an opportune moment or waiting for the right architect to do the job.The previous ones were giving her a headache? 🙂 And I’m taking your suggestion of not visiting India in Summer very Seriously! InshaAllah the opportunity to visit my motherland will soon arrive 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Lat! Hehe…yeah, I do tend to complain a lot about the heat. BUT seriously, heat is OK if it’s heat alone, but if coupled with pollution (and traffic noise) 🙁

      Waiting for the right architect could be a reason. Or maybe she’s just used to procrastinating like that 😀

    1. Sharmila, we’ve actually heard a lot about Delhi’s summer, but our vacations almost always fall on summer months, so we had no choice (specially this year). But I do intend to experience Delhi’s winter too 🙂

  2. Salams Nadia,

    What a coincidence! Humayun is one of the names I’m considering for my 2nd! I love the meaning of the name… 🙂 Didn’t know there was an emperor by that name!

    Btw I’m enjoying your travels and posts of India!! You’re amazing with words! Masyallah!

    1. Walaikum assalam, Mrs Umer! And thank you!

      Humayun has a nice meaning, I agree (it means, lucky or fortunate, right?). However, don’t you think it’s going to be a bit difficult to pronounce for those who aren’t familiar with Muslim names? I don’t know… I mean, I’m just trying to figure out how an American or a Filipino, for instance, will pronounce the name.

  3. Hi Nadia,

    Just dropped by to say hello. It’s an interesting blog you have here so I guess I’ll be back soon. This post brought back good ole memories of my visit to the place aeons ago – like, when I was still in school.

  4. haha! ang dami ko pa ring tawa rito, nadia.

    so, it’s still your fascination with Indian palaces and your tirade (of sort) against those oppressive stairs, huh? btw, i can actually see masood’s face as he ecstatically obliges, haha…

    don’t you think the tourism ministry will get back at you for advising tourists against summer visits? couldn’t you just have said that the palaces were grand and the gardens lovely, huh?

    splendid, your articles are. 🙂 como estas?
    doon po sa amin recently posted..Kung sa iyong pag-iisa

    1. Hey, San! Muy bien,gracias. Y tu?

      Yeah, you should indeed see Masood’s face…he was like, “WHAT?! Whatever it is you want to photograph, do it from here.” 😀

      The tourism ministry won’t mind, I’m sure, because they have several places like Baguio that’s cooler during the summer. And no, I can’t just say that the palaces were grand and gardens lovely 😉

  5. hey, Nadia! ca va! et toi? 🙂

    masood surely has his reasons. and i’d say they’re not unwarranted either, ahaha…

    ah, may four seasons din ba sa India? and how many times have you been there na? is that where you and masood met? naku, the only thing i remember yata from history was that pakistan used to be part of india, tama ba? :s

    oh, dear, the palaces are grand and the gardens must be lovely, hihi… 🙂
    doon po sa amin recently posted..Akala Natin

    1. Hello, San! Ça va. Merci 😀

      Meron din four seasons dito, but not in all places (certainly not where I’m staying). Yep, tama ka! It used to be called the Indian Subcontinent (includes Pakistan and Bangladesh)…kanya kanya na sila ngayon 😉

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