World at a Glance: Humayun’s Tomb

2014-10-25T10:16:09+00:0027 August 2014|Art and architecture, India, UNESCO World Heritage|


Like the Taj Mahal, Humayun’s tomb is a property worthy of special protection. And like the Taj Mahal, it’s a grave. And just as Emperor Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal for his late, much-loved wife, this tomb was built by Humayun’s widow, Biga Begum, in memory of her late (and equally-loved, one must assume) husband. Taj Mahal may be far better-known, but Humayun’s Tomb came first. By about 100 years.

Humayun’s memorial is made of red sandstone and white marble and is special because it

…stands as a landmark in the development of Mughal architecture, and also represents the earliest extant specimen of the Mughal scheme of the garden tomb, with causeways and channels. It is a well-developed specimen of the double-domed elevation with kiosks on a grand scale.

So who was this Humayun?

Nasir ud-din Muhammad Humayun was a Mughal emperor (the second after Bubur, direct descendant of Genghis Khan). And while he may have started out as a weakling ruler, losing territory hither and dither, he made up for it by gaining back all of it (and then some) in later years.

Though, later years… Humayun died at the fairly young age of 47, after getting his foot caught in his robes as he was walking down stone stairs with an armful of books, while at the same time kneeling down for the call to prayer. Of course, there are those who claim he was pushed. I suppose we’ll never know. (Meanwhile, note to self: walking while reading a book can be an equally fatal combination.)

I enjoyed wandering around this garden, admiring the architecture, listening to birds twittering… it’s a lovely, peaceful sanctuary in an otherwise bustling, slightly chaotic city. If you’re going to Agra and the Taj Mahal by way of Delhi, I recommend stopping by Humayun’s Tomb first.

World at a Glance is a series of short articles here on Sophie’s World, with a single photo, portraying curious, evocative, happy, sad or wondrous, unexpected little encounters.


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Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Here are more UNESCO World Heritage sites around the world.

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  1. Bryan 28 August 2014 at 0223 - Reply

    I can see the headline now – World leader dies from tripping while checking his iPhone!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 28 August 2014 at 1144 - Reply

      Isn’t really that unthinkable, is it…

  2. Muza-chan 28 August 2014 at 1422 - Reply

    Great picture 🙂

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 1 September 2014 at 2141 - Reply

      Thanks, Lili.

  3. Gil 28 August 2014 at 2144 - Reply

    Great picture of a very impressive building. Interesting story.. Thanks.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 1 September 2014 at 2142 - Reply

      Thank you for stopping by, Gil. 🙂

  4. Maria Falvey 28 August 2014 at 2235 - Reply

    So many accomplishments during such a short life. Diggin’ the mini history lesson Sophie.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 1 September 2014 at 2142 - Reply


  5. Mette 31 August 2014 at 1742 - Reply

    Thank you for sharing the story of Humayun’s sad demise. I visited his tomb once, but did not learn the lesson.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 1 September 2014 at 2144 - Reply

      Nothing like a bit of back story to appreciate a place more.

  6. Mary @ Green Global Travel 1 September 2014 at 0757 - Reply

    Great photo of an impressive structure! Interesting info on Humayun. I guess you’re right we’ll never be sure what really happened. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 1 September 2014 at 2144 - Reply

      He was an interesting character.

  7. Lisa Goodmurphy 5 September 2014 at 0252 - Reply

    Stunning building and fascinating story – hopefully I get to India one day to see both the Taj Mahal and Humayun’s Tomb.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 18 September 2014 at 2139 - Reply

      I’m sure you will, Lisa 🙂

  8. Travel Agent in agra 18 September 2014 at 1134 - Reply

    Humayun’s Tomb is the best historical place for tourist places. Unbelievable Nice sharing Thanks.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 18 September 2014 at 2140 - Reply

      Glad to hear a local voice 🙂

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