Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi – World Cultural Heritage in India

This tomb built in 1570 has special cultural significance as it was the first garden tomb in the Indian subcontinent. It inspired a number of major architectural innovations, culminating in the construction of the Taj Mahal.

Accreditation year: 1993
Small boundary amendment year: 2016
Criteria: (ii)(iv)
Area: 27.04 ha
Buffer zone: 53.21 ha

Outstanding global value

Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi is the first mausoleum of major dynasties that has become synonymous with Mughal architecture with the architectural style reaching its zenith 80 years later at the later Taj Mahal. Humayun’s Tomb is located in a 27.04 hectare complex. includes other contemporary, 16th-century Mughal garden tombs such as Nila Gumbad, Isa Khan, Bu Halima, Afsarwala, Barber’s Tomb and the complex where craftsmen worked for the Humayun Tomb Building in Again, Arab Serai.

Humayun’s Tomb was built in the 1560s, with the patronage of Humayun’s son, the great Emperor Akbar. Persian and Indian craftsmen worked together to build the mausoleum in the garden, far more monumental than any previously built in the Muslim world. Humayun’s Garden Tomb is an example of a charbagh (a four-cornered garden with the four rivers of the Quranic paradise represented), with lakes connected by channels. The garden is entered from high gates on the south and from the west with pavilions located in the center of the east and north walls.

The mausoleum itself stands on a high and wide terraced platform with two deep arches on all four sides. It has an irregular octagonal plan with four long sides and beveled edges. It is surrounded by a 42.5 m high double dome clad in marble flanked by pier kiosks (chhatris) and the domes of the central chhatris are decorated with glazed ceramic tiles. The middle part of each side is deeply recessed by large dome-shaped domes with a series of smaller domes located in the façade.

Inside is a large octagonal room with vaulted compartments connected by galleries or corridors. This octagonal plan is repeated on the second floor. Red sandstone-covered whetstone structure with white and black marble inlaid borders.

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Humayun’s garden tomb is also known as ‘the dormitory of the Mughals’ because in the cells are buried more than 150 Mughal family members.

The tomb is in an extremely important archaeological context, centered at the 14th-century Temple of the Sufi Saint, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. As it is considered auspicious to be buried near a saint’s grave, seven centuries of mausoleum construction have made the area the densest ensemble of medieval Muslim buildings in India.

Criterion (ii): The garden mausoleum of Humayun was built on a massive scale, monumental in terms of design and garden context unprecedented in the Islamic world for a mausoleum. For the first time here, significant architectural innovations were made including the creation of a char-bagh – a garden inspired by the description of heaven in the Quran. The monumental scale achieved here became the hallmark of Mughal imperial projects, culminating in the construction of the Taj Mahal.

Criterion (iv): Humayun’s Tomb and other contemporary 16th-century garden mausoleums within the premises form a unique complex of Mughal-era garden mausoleums. The monumental scale, architectural treatment and garden setting are the highlights in the Islamic garden mausoleum. Humayun’s Tomb is the first significant example in India, and above all, a symbol of the mighty Mughal dynasty that united most of the subcontinent.


Inscribed property includes Humayun’s Tomb, which includes gates, pavilions, and enclosed structures dating to before Humayun’s Tomb, such as Barber’s Tomb, Nila Gumbad, and site views its gardens, the garden mausoleum of Isa Khan and other contemporary 16th-century tombs. century-old structures such as the garden mausoleum Bu Halima and the Afsarwala garden mausoleum. All these attributes fully convey the outstanding universal value of the property. The tombs in the complex have been respected throughout their history and thus have kept their original form and purpose intact. Recent conservation works, following an urban landscape approach, aim to preserve this feature and ensure the preservation of the physical structure, enhancing the meaning and at the same time reviving the traditions of the craft of construction. Live construction used by Mughal builders.

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The authenticity of Humayun’s Tomb lies in the mausoleum, other structures, and the garden retaining its original shape and design, materials and setting.

The tomb and surrounding structures remain essentially in their original state and interventions are minimal and of high quality. The conservation work being done on the structures focuses on using traditional materials such as lime mortar, tools and construction techniques to restore realism, especially by removal. 20th century materials such as layers of concrete removed from the roof and replaced with lime concrete, removing cement plaster from the cells below and replacing it with original style lime mortar and removing concrete from the foundation below to expose and reset the original paved road, among other similar efforts. A similar method of conservation is being used on all garden graves in the complex.

Protection and management requirements

As with other sites under the management of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), there is full protection through various laws such as the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Relics Act 1958 and Rule 1959, Ancient Monuments and Monuments and Archaeological Sites (Amendment and Confirmation) Act 2010, Delhi Municipal Corporation Act 1957, Land Acquisition Act 1894, Commission Act Urban Art Delhi 1973, Urban Land (Sealing and Regulation) Act 1976, Environmental Pollution Act, 1986, among many others. The mausoleum and its gardens have been the focus of a conservation project in partnership with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture since 1997, with enclosed gardens restored with running water in the early stages (1997-2003) and conservation works on tombs and other gardens. The attached structure has been in place since 2007.

Flowing water is an essential element of Mughal char-bagh and at Humayun’s Tomb, underground terracotta tubes, aqueducts, fountains, aqueducts are some of the elements of the garden. Since the time of inscription, major conservation work has been based on comprehensive archaeological investigation, archival research and documentation, carried out on the garden by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) – Group The multidisciplinary Aga Khan Cultural Committee (AKTC) is at the forefront of restoring water flow to the garden.

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The availability of high craftsmanship ensures that importance is retained, especially by eliminating modern materials. A core committee consisting of the ASI Director General, ASI Additional Director General, ASI Regional Director, Director (Conservation) and Supervisory Archaeologist, ASI Delhi Circle reviews all ongoing work. made by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. Conservation works are continued independently each time they are reviewed on a regular basis.

Implementation of a participatory management plan will be critical to the sustainability of the management system, including arrangements that allow visitors access to the adjacent 70-acre Sunder Arboretum and its sites. Mughal area stands there. Additional security requirements for the site of Humayun’s Tomb will need to be addressed, especially in light of the dramatic increase in visitor numbers. Visitor management will also require identifying guidelines for potential infrastructure developments, such as interpretation centres.

The physical landscape of the site, with hundreds of acres of green land to the north, has also contributed to the preservation of additional buildings located within the site’s buffer zone. These include garden tombs located in the adjacent Sundarwala and Batashewala Complex. These buildings are also important as they contribute to an understanding of the development of the inscribed property. Therefore, adequate protection and management measures should be systematically implemented in the buffer zone.

Map of Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi

Humayun’s Tomb Video

See also: UNESCO World Cultural/Natural Heritage Sites

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