Humayun’s Tomb, the inspiration to Taj Mahal

Across India, many monuments are said to be an inspiration for the Taj Mahal. The Ibrahim Rouza in Bijapur is one such glaring example. The local guide in Bijapur narrated stories about how the Taj was inspired by Rouza’s architecture.

But the only validated inspiration for the Taj Mahal is the tomb of Mughal emperor, Humayun, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Humayun's Tomb
The majestic facade of Mughal Emperor Humayun’s Tomb

Humayun was born as Nasir-ud-Din Muḥammad in 1508 to Zahīr ud-Dīn Muhammad, known as Babur, the founder and the first emperor of the Mughal dynasty in the Indian subcontinent. Humayun ruled from 1530–1540 and again from 1555–1556.  

Located in Nizamuddin, Delhi, the construction of Humayun’s Tomb was commissioned in 1565 by his wife Hamida Banu Begam in the emperor’s memory and was completed in the year 1572. The construction of Taj Mahal by commissioned in 1632 by Shah Jahan, Jahangir’s son and the fifth Mughal emperor. 

Persian architect Mirak Mirza Ghiyas designed the magnanimous tomb of Humayun and hence has a strong Persian influence. The charbagh garden, divided into four parts, resembles the paradise garden described in the Quran. The tomb displays the finest of Mughal architecture and set precedence to further Islamic architecture in the period. It is the first garden-tomb in the Indian subcontinent.

Humayun's Tomb
Humayun’s Tomb stands over 150 ft tall and is considered an architectural masterpiece

The grand structure, incidentally, also has Star of David, a Zionist symbol adorning its walls. The six-pointed star was used as a decorative cosmic symbol by the Mughals. According to a Wikipedia article, the star became a symbol of Judaism much later around the 19th century.

Humayun's Tomb
The six-pointed star on the walls of Humayun’s Tomb

Apart from Humayun’s Tomb, the complex also holds the tombs of Humayun’s relatives and several other Mughal soldiers. His wife and Dara Shikoh, Emperor Shah Jahan’s son, are also buried here. 

The Union Ministry of Culture recently formed a committee to locate Dara Shikoh’s grave in the complex. It also is home to Isa Khan’s tomb, Bu Halima’s tomb and Barber’s tomb among other historic monuments. 

Isa Khan’s Tomb
Isa Khan was a noble in Sher Shah Suri’s court who fought the Mughal dynasty. His tomb was built almost 20 years before Humayun’s tomb.

Isa Khan's Tomb
Entrance to Isa Khan tomb

The tomb reflects the architectural style used for royal tombs during the Sayyid and Lodi dynasties. It also has one of the earliest known/surviving sunken gardens. The sunken gardens also served an inspiration to the Taj Mahal Further ahead of the tomb lies Isa Khan’s mosque.

Isa Khan's Tomb
Isa Khan’s Tomb at Humayun Tomb complex in Dehli

Humayun Tomb’s visit timing
Humayun’s Tomb is open for visitors from sunrise to 9 pm every day.

Buying tickets at Humayun’s Tomb
There are multiple ways to buy a ticket. A ticket window is available at the monument but it generally has a queue. One can also book tickets online on website. There is also a barcode displayed at the entrance to scan and pay through UPI but for some reason, the barcode was not getting scanned. So to skip the queue, we booked tickets online on the spot.

Humayun Tomb’s ticket price
The ticket price at Humayun’s Tomb is Rs. 35/- for Indian, SAARC and BIMSTEC nationals. For all other foreign nationals, the ticket price is Rs. 550/-


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