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Humayun's Tomb 

Visited 18th December 2004

Huymayun's Tomb is in south east Delhi and is said to have inspired the Taj Mahal.  The tomb was built by his grieving wife Haji Begum in 1565-66, nine years after his death.  Many tourist sites charge different rate to residents and international visitors, as Andy had his resident's permit he got a domestic rate and was then called an Indian by the guards, which he found very funny.

When you enter the site you are first in a courtyard that leads to Isa Khan's tomb which was built about 20 years earlier.  This is relatively modest in size but is still very ornate though it shows quite a wear.

In this area some renovation work was taking place and stonemasons were working with the prevalent red sandstone. As we wandered about the tomb we were given an impromptu guided tour by the cleaner.

Going back to the first courtyard, we then walked through an arch and then along a tree lined path towards past the north gate of Arab Sarani.

In this area there were many small stripped squirrels and some puppies playing on the grass.  We then walked through the west gate and for the first time got a full view of Humayun's Tomb

                                         

 

It is very beautiful, made in red sandstone and white marble, sited in the centre of a square formal garden, which has a grid of water ways and fountains.  The red dust in the paths contrasts with the green in the gardens but helps harmonise the whole area.  As you approach the tomb, the intricate geometric patterning becomes clearer.  The central arch has some steep steps to the top of the lower platform.

 

The platform is eight metres high and gives some good views of the garden and into Delhi.

               

 

There are many ante chambers in the tomb which hold the graves of relatives and descendants of Humayun.  It is said that over 150 bodies are buried there.  You have to walk to the south side of the building to enter the main room and the tomb.  Though the tomb is there the body is actually interred in an underground chamber.  The room is very peaceful and has a mix of plain simplicity in the single white tomb and complexity in the geometric floors, walls and trellises.

Overall it was a very enjoyable visit and good introduction to the mix of Indian history, with Hindu and Muslim influences.  In the late afternoon sunlight the red sandstone is at its best glowing with warmth.

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