Saturday, September 23, 2023

Humayun Tomb – History, Architecture, Timing & More

Delhi has a fair share of historical monuments that attract visitors from across the world. While most monuments are built by men in memory of their beloved wives, for example, the Taj Mahal, some are built under women’s leadership. Humayun Tomb is one of them. A wife built it in memory of her deceased husband, Humayun. 

Dedicated to Humayun, the second Emperor of the Mughal Dynasty, Humayun’s tomb, also known as Maqbara-i Humayun, is in the area of Purana Quila of Delhi. It’s nestled between Lodhi Road and Mathura Road on the east side of Nizamuddin. The memorial was erected years after the emperor passed away. It attained the coveted status of a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993. 

In this article, let us explore the history, architecture, major attractions, and how to reach the Humayun tomb. 

Humayun Tomb At a Glance 

Location Mathura Road, Nizamuddin East, Delhi, India
Also Known as Maqbara-i-Humayun
Timings 6:00 am to 6:00 pm; every day
Architects Mirak Mirza Ghiyath and Sayyed Muhammad
Type Tomb
Status UNESCO World Heritage Site
Architectural Style Mughal
Entry Fee  INR 30 for Indians and people from BIMSTEC and SAARC nations; otherwise, the fee is INR 500. 
Commissioned by Humayun’s first wife, Bega Begum or Haji Begum
Made of Red sandstone and white marble
Cost of Construction 1.5 million rupees


Humayun Tomb – History, Architecture, Other Tombs, and Timings

An Overview

Humayun’s Tomb Delhi

Wondering who built Humayun Tomb? Well, the credit goes to the emperor’s wife, Bega Begum (also known as Haji Begum). The construction went underway in 1565 and took 8 years to complete. It cost 1.5 million rupees, and the Empress paid it all. 

Though the emperor’s wife commissioned it, the Humayun Tomb was built by the Persian architect Miraq Mirza Ghiyat and his son, Sayyid Muhammad. That’s why the architecture blends Persian and Indian styles. It was the first tomb with a garden on the Indian subcontinent. Additionally, it was the first architecture to use red sandstone on a large scale. 

Some mesmerizing gardens, fountains, and paths surround the Tomb. The Char Bagh Garden is the most notable of all. The Persian-style garden was South Asia’s first of its sort. You can also find other Mughal kings’ tombs nearby. There’s even a tomb of Nai Ka Gumbad, a royal barber. However, the tomb doesn’t have anyone’s name or message.

Humayun’s Tomb and many other tombs are attached to a common building complex. This includes Bu Halima’s Tomb, the Ila Khan Tomb and Mosque, the Afsarwala Tomb and Mosque, the Chilla Nizamuddin Auliya, and Ara’s Safari. Humayun’s wife, Hamida Begum, was also buried in the same Tomb. The other Bu Halima complex has a beautiful garden, which houses the Tomb of Bu Halima.


Construction on the structure began in 1565, lasted till 1572, and accounted for 15 lakh rupees. Devastated by her husband’s untimely demise, Bega Begum took it upon herself to create a resplendent memorial that would rival even the most prolific structure in the empire. 

Bega Begum oversaw the Tomb’s construction after returning from Mecca and performing the Hajj, according to the Ain-i-Akbari, a detailed 16th-century book compiled during Akbar’s reign. As a side note, Akbar was Humayun’s son and his successor to the throne.

Mirak Mirza Ghiyas, a Persian architect, designed the Tomb’s structure. He has designed numerous structures in Herat, Bukhara (now Uzbekistan), and other parts of India. Sadly, the architect passed away prior to the completion of the project. His son, Sayyid Muhammad ibn Mirak Ghiyathuddin, had it finished. 

William Finch, an English trader who visited the Tomb in 1611, described the magnificent interior of the central chamber. Rich carpets, a shamiana, a little tent over the grave covered in a pristine white sheet, and copies of the Quran with Humayun’s sword, turban, and shoes in front are all mentioned.

Charbagh (Four-gardens) was once a famous garden with four squares, pathways, and a central reflection pool. It covered a vast area of 13 hectares around the tomb, which underwent several changes over the years. 

With the decline of the Mughals in 1556, the monument and its features started decaying. The upkeep of the massive garden became challenging. In the 18 century, the lush garden was turned into a vegetable garden by people who settled there. 

Furthermore, during the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the capture of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor, brought more difficulties to the tomb. The entire Delhi was under the control of Bristishers. In 1890, the Britishers transformed the garden into an English-style garden. They replaced the central water pools with circular beds and planted several trees in flower beds. 

The 20th century witnessed the major restoration of the garden under Viceroy Lord Curzon’s orders. A planting scheme in 1915 made the garden look more beautiful. 

Role of Humayun’s Tomb in Modern History

The Purana Qila and the Tomb of Humayun became significant refugee camps for Muslims going to newly founded Pakistan during India’s partition in August 1947. The Indian government later supervised it. These camps were open for nearly five years, causing significant damage to the huge gardens and water channels, and infrastructure.

The mausoleum’s tombs were eventually walled in bricks to prevent damage. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) took over the conservation of cultural structures. The organization restored the building and its gardens in the following years.

Humayun Tomb Architecture

Humayun Tomb Architecture

The Humayun Tomb architecture makes the monument a big draw. It is housed in the center of a big Chahar bagh (a Persian-style gardening style). Mirak Mirza Qiyat adopted the Hasht Bihisht architectural style, which features a large central space surrounded by eight smaller rooms. The building is 47 meters high, 6 meters wide, and with a floor space of 12,000 square meters. The brass ledge above the huge marble dome adds to the height and beauty of the tomb.

The building’s exterior is built with granite, red sandstone, and marble accents. The flooring, lattice screens, door frames, eaves, and the main dome are made of white marble. All four sides of the rectangular garden surrounding the main structure have gates. The west gate is the most important of them all, allowing visitors to enter the main premises. 

You’ll come across rooms on the sides and upwards of the 16-meter-high entryway. The southern gate, however, was more important as it served as an entryway for the Mughals. That’s why they call it the Royal Gate. The garden’s canals are approximately 3 km long.

The tomb is square-shaped; however, the chamfered edges give it an octagonal appearance. Its base, called a plinth, is made of rubble and has 56 cells with 100 gravestones inside. A raised platform forms the basis for this entire structure. You need to climb a few steps to reach its top. 


The importance of Char-Bagh is not overlooked in the description of the Tomb of Humayun. The garden spans over 30 acres and has a perfect layout, square walkways, and a touch of Persian architecture. 

This garden has four squares divided into 8 smaller gardens with little pathways, resulting in 32 miniature gardens. A water body divides this garden into two sections, representing four rivers that flow in Jannat (Paradise). The central water channels disappear beneath the tomb and appear on the other side in a straight line. 

High rubble walls surround the entire garden and the tomb on three sides. The fourth side was supposed to be on the Yamuna River. However, the river has changed its flow and is far from the monument. 

Other Monuments at Humayun’s Tomb

Humayun Tomb Delhi is home to several monuments. Here’s the list.

1. Isa Khan Masjid

Isa Khan Masjid

The Tomb of Isa Khan Niazi, an Afghan noble and lineage member of Sher Shah Suri, is one of the most important monuments in Humayun’s Tomb. This tomb is older than Humayun’s Tomb, built in 1547 when Sher Shah’s son Islam Shah Suri was in power. 

Isa Khan’s Tomb has an octagonal structure. You will find a prayer hall or three-bay mosque on the west side built using red sandstone. An octagonal garden encircled it and was later used to bury Isa Khan’s family.

2. Bu Halima Complex

The entrance to the Humayun’s Tomb from the west is through Bu Halima Garden. Bu Halima’s Tomb, shaped like a loft, is located in the Bu Halima Garden’s northeast corner. However, who Bu Halima was is still unclear. She was either a member of an aristocratic family that lived in Delhi during the Mughal rule or a notable Arab woman who had intimate relations with the Mughals.

3. Arab Sarai Gate

The Bu Halima Gate leads to the Arab Sarai Gate on the eastern side. The Arab Serai is the section of this gate that is within. It is adorned with sandstone and marble and is mostly composed of Delhi-sourced quartz stone. The sculptors who traveled from Persia to construct Humayun’s Tomb lived in Arab Sera.

4. Afsarwala Tomb and Mosque

Standing near the southwest end of Humayun’s mausoleum, the tomb is dedicated to an eponymous courtier of Akbar. This mausoleum is also in the mosque within the Arab Serai enclosure. Some archeologists believe that these structures were built between 1566 and 1567 CE. The word officer is the direct translation of Afsar, thanks to Afsarwala.

5. Barber’s Tomb

Around the main building of the Humayun’s Tomb Complex is a modest tomb in the southeastern corner of the Charbagh Garden. They call it the Barber’s Tomb or Nai-ka-Gumbad. It was constructed in the late sixteenth century. The tombs of a man and a woman can be found inside. Although there is no evidence as to whose Tomb it is, the people assume it to be that of Humayun’s hairdresser.

6. Chilla Nizamuddin Auliya 

Chilla Nizamuddin Auliya was to serve as the residence of Nizamuddin Auliya. As a side note, Chilla means shouting. It is located just outside the complex. It is a coveted site flocked by devotees across religions, especially on Thursdays when qawali sessions are held here. This monument has architecture resembling the one popular in the Tughlaq period. 

7. Nila Gumbad (Blue Doom)

Blue Gumbad or Nila Burj is a blue-domed monument near Humayun Tomb. Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana, the son of  Bairam Khan, built this monument for his servant Miyan Fahim. The complex’s border is formed by a dome, often known as the “Nila Dome,” which adorns blue-glazed tiles. 

The fact that it is octagonal and a square from within is the most crucial feature of this one-of-a-kind edifice. The painted and incised plaster serves as a decoration for the ceiling. It is among the high-neck domes of that period.  

8. Bada Bateshewala Mahal

Lies far away from the tomb complex, Bada Bateshewala Mahal is the tomb of Muzaffar Husain Mirza, the grand nephew of Humayun. It is built on a platform with five arches on each side. The incised and painted plaster covers the interior walls of the monument. 

Along with Bada Bateshewala Mahal, you can find Chote Bateshewala Mahal with domed ceilings and stone jaalis. Bada Bateshewala Mahal and Chote Bateshewala Mahal both reside in a commercial area in front of the complex’s parking lot. 

Other Tombs of the Mughals near Humayun’s Tomb

  1. Tomb of Bega Begum – One of Humayun’s wives
  2. Tomb of Hamida Bhanu Begum – One of Humayun’s wives
  3. Tomb of Sultan Murad Mirza – Son of Emperor Akbar
  4. Tomb of Muhammad Badar Bakht – Grandson of Aurangzeb
  5. Tomb of Dara Shikoh – Son of Shah Jahan
  6. Tomb of Jahandar Shah – Eighth Mughal Emperor
  7. Tomb of Farooq Siar – Ninth Mughal Emperor
  8. Tomb of Alamgir II – 14th Mughal Ruler

Tourism in Humayun’s Tomb

Humayun’s Tomb welcomes approximately 2000 Indians and 350-400 foreign tourists on weekdays and around 3000 Indians and 600-700 foreign tourists on weekends. The Qawali session at Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulliya, situated close to the monument, attracts many Muslim devotees on Thursdays. The seasons also play a part in determining the number of visitors. In the winter, there are more tourists than in the summer.

1. Humayun’s Tomb Address

Mathura Road, Opposite Nizamuddin Dargah, New Delhi – 110013

2. Humayun’s Tomb Ticket Price

The entrance fee at the Humayun Tomb is 30 rupees for Indian visitors and those from the BIMSTEC ((Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Myanmar) and SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives, and Afghanistan) nations. For people other than these nations, the charge is 500 rupees. Children under the age of 15 are admitted free of charge.

3. Humayun’s Tomb Opening Days 

Humayun’s Tomb remains open on all days, even on public holidays.

How to Reach Humayun Tomb?

The distance between Nizamuddin railway station and Humayun’s Tomb is 2.8 kilometers. Taxis, buses, and auto-rickshaws are available outside the station. The bus station, around 8 kilometers away, is close to the Tomb Sarai Kale Khan. Outside the bus station, auto-rickshaws are readily available. Jawaharlal Nehru Metro Station is the closest violet line metro station.

By Train

Delhi has four main stations:

  1. Delhi Junction (also known as “Purani Delhi”)
  2. New Delhi (located in Central Delhi)
  3. Hazrat Nizamuddin (located in the southern part of the city)
  4. East (placed in the northern portion of the city).

Metro Line 2 connects Delhi Junction and New Delhi Railway Station, whereas Metro Line 3 connects Anand Vihar. Most trains to the south depart from Hazrat Nizamuddin, which also runs the majority of the services in Anand Vihar. No matter which station you land in, you can easily access taxis and buses to transport you to various parts of the city.

By Air

Indira Gandhi International Airport, near the city’s western borders, is the leading airport in the world. You can fly to IGI Airport to get to Humayun Tomb, which is 25 km away. A can will take you to the tomb from the airport within 50 minutes. 

What is the Best Way to Get to Humayun’s Tomb?

All of the country’s major cities are connected to Delhi by road. You have multiple bus terminals in Delhi, with Delhi Transport Corporation as the primary operator (DTC).


Humayun’s Tomb, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must-visit place in Delhi. It is the country’s first garden-tomb, combining Persian and Indian architectural styles. Commissioned by Bega Begum, this monument is built in memory of her husband, Humayun. Its architectural style is what mesmerizes visitors across the globe. 

You can visit this place in the winter or spring and enjoy the architecture and history of Humayun’s Tomb and all the other monuments around it. 

We hope this article has helped you know more about Humayun’s Tomb. If we missed out on anything, let us know in the comments.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who constructed Humayun’s Tomb and why?

Bega Begum, or Haji Begum, constructed the tomb in honor of her deceased husband, Humanyun. The majority of the work was done under her supervision. Mirak Mirza Ghiyath and his son, Sayyed Muhammad, were major architects.  

2. Why was Humayun’s Tomb built? 

Humayun’s Tomb was built in his memory by his first wife, Bega Begum, and to house his remains.  

3. How do I purchase tickets to Humayun’s Tomb online?

To book a Humayun’s Tomb online ticket, go to an online monument booking site, look for Humayun’s Tomb, add it to your cart, and complete the payment. You will then receive your verified ticket.

4. Which is the Best Time To Visit Humayun’s Tomb?

The summers in Delhi are extreme, with the mercury hitting 42 degrees, making it unsuitable for sightseeing. The temperature drops slightly during the monsoon, but the inclement weather can spoil your sightseeing plans. As such, the best time to visit Delhi is in the winter or spring.

5. What are the timings to visit Humayun’s Tomb? 

Humayun’s Tomb welcomes visitors from the morning 6 AM to evening 6 PM.

Rohit Kumar
Rohit Kumar
Passionate about content quality and attention to detail, Rohit has penned over 15,000 copies for some of the leading online and offline publications in his eight-year career. Currently heading the content team at Dunia Ka Gyan, he believes in team spirit, ingenuity, and reader satisfaction.

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