Photo feature: Humayun’s Tomb, the first Mughal Mausoleum in India

Humayun's Tomb with its striking structural symmetry and equally symmetrical gardens was probably the largest tomb in the entire Indian subcontinent, when it was first built.

Photo feature: Humayun’s Tomb, the first Mughal Mausoleum in India
View of Humayun's Tomb through the grand arch at the entrance of the complex. Photographs and video by Rajeev Bhatt

Humayun’s Tomb is the final resting place of the Mughal Emperor Humayun, built by his first wife Empress Bega Begum in the 15th century. This tomb is especially significant because it was the first of the palatial dynastic mausoleums that were to become a key feature of the Mughal architectural style. For instance, Humayun’s Tomb was the first of its kind to use the unique combination of red sandstone along with white marble (a style also present in the Taj Mahal). It was also the first of the many garden-tombs built in India with a Persian style four quadrant garden known as the charbaghdivided by channels of water intended to symbolize the paradise described in the Quran (Holy text of Islam).

Humayun's Tomb was the first structure in medieval India to use sandstone to such a large extent.

Emperor Humayun was the second emperor of the Mughal dynasty and the father of Akbar the Great. When he passed away his empress Bega Begum was so distraught that she dedicated the rest of her life to building the most magnificent mausoleum in the country in his memory. She personally brought in a Persian architect by the name of Mirak Mirza Ghiyas from Herat (now Afghanistan) to design the monument. It took almost eight years to construct and cost 1.5 million rupees, which she funded entirely out of her own pocket.