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Monuments

Humayun's Tomb

Humayun's tomb in the capital Delhi is a fine specimen of the great Mughal architecture. Built in 1570, the tomb is of particular cultural significance as it was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. Its unique beauty is said to have inspired several major architectural innovations, culminating in the construction of the unparalleled Taj Mahal. In many ways, this magnificent red and white sandstone building is as spectacular as the famous 'monument to love' in Agra. This historic monument was erected by Humayun's queen Hamida Banu Begam (Haji Begam) at a cost of about 1.5 million. It is believed that she designed the tomb.

The splendour of this monument becomes evident on entering the grandiose double-storeyed gateway. High rubble walls enclose a square garden divided into four large squares separated by causeways and water channels. Each square is divided again into smaller squares by pathways, forming a typical Mughal garden called Charbagh. The fountains were worked with simple yet highly developed engineering skills quite common in India during this period. The last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar II had taken refuge in this tomb during the first War of Independence in 1857. Several rulers of the Mughal dynasty lie buried here. Humayun's wife is buried here too.

The main sarcophagus stands in the central hall, oriented - in accordance with Muslim practice - on the north-south axis. Traditionally, the body is placed with the head to the north, the face turned sideways towards Mecca. The dome is what is called a full dome, a complete semi-circle which is a special feature of Mughal architecture. The structure is built with red sandstone, but white and black marble has been used in the borders. UNESCO has declared this magnificent masterpiece a world heritage.