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Category Archives: Delhi Heritage Sites

Explore about Heritage Sites Buildings, Monuments, Forts & Palaces, Tourism Attractions, Sightseeing Places of Delhi in India

Legacy of Mughal Era – Tomb of Humayun

The impression of mughal heritage can be seen in the form of the great monuments in north India. Cities like Agra in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi are two such examples of it. While Agra boasts the grandest of grand monuments, the Taj Mahal, Delhi also has many tombs and monument that are worth visiting. Humayun’s Tomb is one such attraction of Delhi that is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and glorifies the mughal architectural style.

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Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi (Photo credit: Een Ar, on flickr)

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Humayun was the second emperor of the mughal empire in the Indian subcontinent. Humayun died in 1556 and his first wife, Bega Begum, commissioned his tomb. She hired a Persian architect named Mirak Mirza Ghiyas as the chief architect for Humayun’s Tomb. The architecture and design of this tomb were unique for that time. It was the first tomb in the Indian subcontinent with a garden, and also the first grand monument made up of red sandstone. The excessive use of red sandstone is one of its prime features. The tomb follows the early mughal architecture that was mostly influenced by Islamic style but also included few Indian designing elements.

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Photo Credit: Ameen Ahmed Tumkur on Flickr

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Inside the main chamber, there is a cenotaph of Humayun’s Tomb while the original grave lies in the basement below it. There are many symbolic elements inside the main chamber like a mihrab design over a marble lattice or jaali that is facing Mecca in the West. Also, there are four main octagonal chambers on two floors. Some of the smaller chambers contain cenotaphs of other mughal family members like Bega Begum, Hamida Begum (wife of Humayun and mother of Akbar), and Dara Shikoh (Humayun’s great-great grandson).

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Path from West gate to Humayun’s Tomb

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There are many big and small monuments around Humayun’s Tomb. Char Bagh (literally four gardens) is a Persian-style four layouts garden, which are subdivided into smaller squares with pathways. Another prominent attraction is the Babar’s Tomb. It is a tomb of the royal barber and is also called Nai-ka-Gumbad. Then, there is Tomb and mosque of Isa Khan that was built before the Humayun’s Tomb. Other smaller buildings include Bu Halima’s Tomb, Afsarwala Tomb and Nila Gumbad. Humayun’s Tomb and many other buildings have gone under restoration to preserve them for the future generations to see.

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Isa Khan Niyazi Tomb

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Qutub Minar- The Altitudinous Minar of India

The tallest minar in India that attracts people from across the globe is the Qutub Minar. It is located in the capital city Delhi and can be seen from most of the parts of the city. It was built to such a great height (237.8 ft) to commemorate the victory of the Mughals. Being listed in the UNESCO Heritage Site, it is visited by a large number of people. It is made of red sandstone and marble with total 379 stairs, base diameter of 14.3 meters and top diameter 2.7 meters. Its construction was started in 1192 AD by Qutub-ud-din-aibak and was completed by Iltutmish. Several ancient and medieval structures are around it and is collectively called the Qutub Complex.

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Qutub Minar – Image by Sharkawi Che Din on flickr.com

Qutub Minar

Image by AnkurDauneria on flickr.com

The monument is intricately carved with verses from the Quran and Parso-Arabic & Nagari characters that reveal the history of its construction. Qubbat-ul-Islam Mosque which is located at the northeast of this Minar was also built by Qutub-ud-din-Aibak in 1198 AD. This mosque was earliest built by the Delhi Sultans but after some time a coffee arched screen was erected. The mosque was enlarged by Shams-ud-Din Iltutmish and Allaud-din Khilji. Other remains in the complex are the madarasa, graves, tombs and mosque.

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Qubbat-ul-Islam Mosque Entrance Image by varunshiv on flickr.com

The Iron Pillar that is located in the courtyard has an inscription over it in the Sanskrit Brahmi script of the 4th century AD. This pillar was set up as a Vishnudhvaja on the hill known as Krishnapada in the memory of a mighty king named Chandra. According to traditional belief, anyone who encircles the entire pillar with their arms while standing with their back against the pillar, then their wish will be fulfilled. But, now it is fenced by all around for the safety purpose as it was corroded by the sweat of visitors.

Iron Pillar

Iron Pillar – Image by gwashley by flickr.com

The Minar was used as a watch tower in ancient times. Due to several earthquakes and lightening, it was damaged, but had been repaired by the various rulers of that time. The Minar’s two top floors were damaged due to lightening during the rule of Firoz Shah. He repaired and renovated it perfectly. Similarly, many rulers repaired it after the damages.

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Alai Minar in Qutb Complex

This pristine Minar tilts over 60 cm from the vertical and is considered to be within safe limits. But experts monitoring is needed in case of rainwater seepage as it weakens the foundation of the Minar. With the great history, the Minar is also used by Bollywood directors for their movies. This is the first monument in Delhi having e-ticket facility.

Qutab Minar and Alai Darwaza

Alai Darwaza (Alai Gate) is entrance to Quwwat-Ul-Islam Mosque

The general public access in the narrow building was end up in the 1981 after the incident of stampede due to the electricity failure on the staircase inside the tower. Around 45 people were killed and most of them were children as tickets for school children were free at that time on Friday and most of the school groups take advantage of it. After the incident, it was prohibited to enter inside the minar. All in all, it is one of the many important tourist attractions in Delhi that are not to be missed.

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