“Humayun’s greatest enemy was he himself.”
Poole referred to a particular incident which had led to taking his own life. A connoisseur of wine, he died in January 1556, at the age of fifty-one. He is credited to build the sixth city of Delhi, called Dinpanah, beside the river Yamuna. Upon his death, by falling from the stairs of his library, he had left behind an empire that was precariously held together.
The Humayun’s tomb complex was origninally built in the land of Kilokheri (a medieval name for modern day Nizmuddin), a city which was built by the Sultanate ruler Kaiqubad. It encompasses the main tomb of the Emperor Humayun as well as numerous other Mughal structures. Haji Begum, Humayun’s widow was responsible for its construction of Humayun tomb, begun in 1564, eight years after the emperor’s death. The tomb structure is a massive red-sandstone and white marble structure rests on a large plinth, made up of fifty-six cells, in the centre of an enclosed Mughal Chahārbāgh. A rigid geometry of the main pathway sand water courses compels the visitor forward, from the garden’s entrance in the center of the southern wall, up through the plinth, which is ascended by a series of stairs. Subsidiary water channels and paths subdivide the quadrants of the garden into smaller sections. Small streams of water punctuate the juncture of each of the canals and channels. The tomb itself is built in a typical Persian hast-bīhist (noni-partite) plan, the best example of which is encountered at the Taj Mahal. The style of the complex structure is a blend of Persian architecture and indigenous styles. One of the 27 UNESCO World Heritage Site in India, was the first of the monumental mausoleums built in the country.
The tomb of Isa Khan, son of Niyaz Aghwan, the Chief Chamberlain, was built during the reign of Islam Shah in 1547-48. Built on a high octagonal platform the tomb copied the earlier tombs constructed under Tughlaq and Lodis. The mosque covered by a central massive dome and flanking chhatrīs, a reminiscence of Lodi tombs. The unknown and un-associated Bu Halima garden complex comprising an arched gateway and a tomb that leads to the Humayun tomb is undoubtedly an early Mughal architectural production. The ruins of Arab Sarāi was also built by Haji Begum, the widow of Humayun in 1560-61 supposedly to house the masons and workers engaged to build the royal cenotaph. Beside that there were tomb Fahim Khan died in 1626 as Nila Gumbad outside the eastern enclosure wall, Chillah-gah Nizamuddin Auliya, the residence of the said saint, located outside to the north-east corner, and Afsarwala tomb and mosque, south-west gate of the main mausoleum built between 1560-61 and 1566-67. The Chillah-gah Nizamuddin Auliya is believed to be the residence of Shaikh Nizamuddin Auliya who died in 1325 A.D.
The complex is an exquisite piece which was a benchmark for future tomb-making examples. Join us as we explore the architectural masterpiece and listen to the stories of the man, his struggles to regain his empire only to die in coming 11 months.