UNESCO World Heritage Site Visit: Humayan’s Tomb…

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Isa Khan’s Tomb-the oldest on the site.

There is so much to see and do in Delhi. My first day off arrived and I wanted to get out and explore-despite it being the worst month of the year in terms of heat-so I did some online searching and decided my destination of choice would be the 16th century, now UNESCO World Heritage Site, Humayun’s Tomb. It was around 4pm and the heat was still at its worst but I decided to go for it and packed a cold 1 litre bottle of Bisleri mineral water in my bag and called an Uber.

Humayun’s Tomb

A short while later I was dropped off on the street near the site. You have to walk through the car park and make your way to the ticket counter. The cost is 500 rupees for foreigners and 30 rupees for locals. There is supposed to be a camera fee but I think they have dropped this now that smart phones are everywhere.

I went in and was immediately impressed by a green garden. Families and couples were sprawled out on the grass relaxing and chatting. To the right was a path leading to an impressive gate. I went there first. Through the gate one comes upon Isa Khan’s tomb. It is gorgeous and the oldest structure-by about 20 years-on the whole site. Inside are the graves of Isa Kahn (an Afghan nobleman), his wife, and children. There are gardens about and a wall surrounds the whole site.

So many details!

Further on there are various beautiful buildings and ornate gates leading to different areas. In total there are about 150 bodies buried on the property. Gorgeous gardens-designed the old Persian way-are all about the site and may be the first such garden on the subcontinent. A special canal water system is what sustains the many trees and plants. Of course, much of the site which had fallen mostly to ruins, was restored between 1997-2003 so all is in pretty good condition. There was excellent signage explaining how much effort the restoration was and what each building or area represented. Guards patrol the huge site and can be of assistance if you have questions.

Humayun’s resting place. A lot of structure and space used up…obviously someone very important!

Through a few gates and some areas housing educational displays and signage is the main attraction-Humayun’s Tomb. It is almost like a red Taj Mahal and is, in fact, the inspiration for the more famous Taj. It is stunning. The stairs are a bit steep going up but then you are on the main platform where you can look out at the grounds. Inside, are several tombs (I am guessing wife and kids) plus, of course, in the main area there lies Humayun. Such an elaborate place for a final resting place. It was his wife who commissioned the tomb. Must have taken forever! It is amazing to think the place still stands 500 years or so later. I cannot imagine what India must have been like at the time. I am definitely inspired now to learn more about Indian history.

Extensive gardens all around…

After checking out this area and taking photos for a few tourists (plus having them take mine!), I walked about the rest of the grounds. There are lovely trees and more gates and buildings to explore. You can even see the one gate from which water was pumped into the canals. It was quite hot but also not bad since the sun was not blazing down on me and I had my water. In total I spent about two hours exploring the place and took at least 100 photos. The place was also visited by non-human guests while I was there such as birds, squirrels, and peacocks. Nearby is a temple-a Sikh one-that was broadcasting hymns which just added more of a magical air to my visit.

I should mention that Humayun was the second Mughal emperor who ruled over the lands from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and part of Northern India. There is not much information about him at the site but there is a lot on Wikipedia which I read before going to give me some context. The tomb was where he was moved from his other burial site once it was complete. The whole site is an amazing monument to him-definitely someone appreciated him to go to such effort!

Just gorgeous!

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