Located in eastern Delhi
, near the banks of the Yamuna River
, Humayun's tomb is the resting place of Mughal
and an important architectural precursor to the Taj Mahal
. After the Red Fort
and the Qutb Minar
, Humayun's Tomb is Delhi's most popular tourist attraction.
Visitors to the domed, octagonal structure of pink and cream stone are immediately struck by its resemblance to the Taj. Indeed, while Humayun's tomb does not incorporate any new architectural elements that had not already appeared in earlier Indian architecture, it was the first to combine them all into the form of the domed, symmetrical, garden tomb that would become the hallmark of Mughal architecture and culminate in the form of the Taj Mahal.
While most Mughal aristocrats began contruction on their own tombs while still alive, Humayun's sudden fatal accident on the steps of his library occured before he began planning for his final resting place. Thus it was left to Humayun's chief widow, Haji Begam, to commission his tomb after his death in 1556. She commissioned the well known Persian architect Mirak Mirza Ghiyas to undertake the project, which began in 1563 and was completed in 1571.
Ghiyas incorporated many traditional Indian elements into the tomb, such as the double construction dome and the chattris that surround it, but his key innovations were the monumental scale of the building, and its novel plan of four identical facades and the four identical gardens (known as a "charbagh") abutting each facade.
Today the tomb is one of the best preserved examples of Mughal architecture. Its stonework is hardier than the marble construction of the Taj and its lack of inlaid gemstones has prevented excessive vandalism. Less of a tourist trap than the Taj Mahal or the Red Fort, the tomb's peaceful gardens can make for a pleasant afternoon on quieter days.