Sunday, February 01, 2009

A Visit to Humayun's Tomb

It was winter saturday and a sunny day. I decided to go out with family. Usually we hang out at some mall in Delhi but this time my wife suggested to visit some historical place. After a shoot discussion, we agreed on Humayun's Tomb. We also took children of my brother-in-law, who lives nearby, with us for the company of my daughter, Yanshi. I drove to the site comfortably as the traffic was smooth. There were little issue at the parking as the whole parking was full. But I managed to get place for my car at the VIP parking area.

Humayun was the son of Babar, founnder of the Moughal dynasty in India. Humayun' son, Akbar, was one of the most respected and liberal emperor of the Moughal Seltnate. His tomb is listed under the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Earlier we planned to sit there in the garden, but later decided against it. My daughter argued that this is not a park. Since we came to see a historic monument, we must explore it. So we left our snacks and coffee in the car.

We entered the entrance gate of the complex and welcomed by the well maintained garden. Thanks to ASI, which has the responsibility to maintain the heritage sites in Delhi and in India. After waling a few steps in the pathway between the garden, we encountered another gate. A guard was checking the tickets, so I learn that we must buy tickets. I purchased two tickets for me and my wife for Rs. 10 each. The entry for children below 15 year was free.

We entered the gate and found that people were going in two directions. Straight from the gate was the main entrance of the Humayun's tomb. At the left hand, there was another gate which leads to the Isa's tomb. We decided to see the Isa's tomb first. I will describe the Isa's tomb later in another post.

After we have seen the Isa's tomb and the mosque in its premises, we headed towards the Humayun's tomb. The main entrance of the tomb is guarded by a double story gate, made up of red and white sand stone. One thing that caught my eyes were two stars, one at each side of the of the gate. These stars are printed in white color on the pink sandstone. The look of the gate is almost same from both sides - outer and inner.

On reaching inside the gate, there were large garden, divided in four parts by swallow water channels. In front of the main entrance of the building, there was a small rectangular tank of water. Now they have installed a fountain in it.

The main building is dome shaped and is raised on a large stage. The stage is 17 meter high. There are stairs from all the four sides of the stage to reach on the stage. The stage is made up of many cells (small rooms). These cells are locked now and visitors are not allowed to see inside these cells. The first floor of the gateway has square and oblong rooms. On the outside, the gate is flanked by screen-walls with arched recesses. Immediately to the west of the south gateway is an enclosure measuring 146 meters by 32 metres, built against the exterior face of the enclosure wall. The building is a low-roofed one with 25 arched entrances and was meant to house the attendants of the royal tomb. There were rectangular holes on the roof of the stage, which are now covered with the iron railings, to allow light and air inside the stage.

The main building on the stage is made of the combination of red sandstone and white marble. White marble is used for decoration over the background of red sandstone.

Around the main dome, above the stage, were many graves. Something were written on these graves in Urdu, so I could not know whose graves were these. But I believe that these were the graves of other members of Humayun and Akbar, his son.

Humayun's grave was built in a in a hexagonal cell within the dome on a floor which is decorated by the octagonal and irregular hexagonal white tiles. The roof of the dome is decorated by the beautifully arranged white rectangular, rod-shaped tiles. The arrangement of tiles gives the look of feathers. It looks like the dome was made of bird feathers. The wall of the dome is decorated by the small windows.

There were other graves in other cells as well.

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