Tombs within Humayun Tomb Complex
The Humayun Tomb Complex does not only home the Tomb of the Legendary Mughal Ruler but is also dotted with Tombs of Afsarwala, Barber, Bu Halima and Isa Khan to name a few.
Afsarwala Mosque and Tomb
Afsarwala Tomb or ‘Officer’s Tomb’ is situated on the south-western end of the Humayun Tomb Complex. Afsarwala which means ‘Officer’ was a nobleman in the Courts of Emperor Akbar. The grave is dressed with marble and probably dated to 1566 AD or 1567 AD.
The Afsarwala Mosque might also date back to the 16th Century as per its architecture and positioning that lies adjacent to the Afsarwala Tomb symbolising that it was probably constructed as a Funerary Mosque. This Mosque was built in the shape of a square structure that stands on a flat base raised above ground level. It depicts three broad arches on its main facade that gives it the name of ‘Trimukhi’ Masjid. These arches are made of rubble overlaid with plasterwork. Its interiors are ornate with stuccowork that reveals incised emblems mostly painted. It is surmounted by one dome covered in red paint that stands on an octagonal shaped drum.
Barber’s Tomb or Nai Ka Gumbad
Barber’s Tomb is situated on the south-eastern corner of the Humayun Tomb Complex just within the Charbagh or Four-square Garden. Also known as Nai Ka Gumbad, it dates back to 1590 AD or 1591 AD as per an inscription engraved on the gravestone which reads ‘999’ AH that converts to 1591-1591.
Nai Ka Gumbad or Barber’s Tomb lies very close to the main Tomb of Humayun which confirms its significance however, the real facts are unknown as there are no further inscriptions or evidence to mark its presence close to the main tomb of the Emperor. Barber’s Tomb was a local name given to the Tomb Structure that sits on a raised platform made with seven steps on the southern side leading you into the main chamber of the Tomb Structure. The Tomb is made in a simple square shaped structure that homes one compartment crowned with a double dome. The main chamber of Barber’s Tomb homes two gravestones with verses from the Holy Book of Quran inscribed on each of them.
Bu Halima’s Garden and Tomb
Bu Halima’s Tomb and Garden are situated on the western side of the Humayun Tomb Complex. The entrance gateway from the western end of the Humayun Tomb Complex greets you with the Garden of Bu Halima. Detailed facts about Bu Halima is unknown, however, she must have held an important position in the Imperial Courts of the Mughal Emperor to receive such an honour of owning her own Tomb and the garden area. In fact, Bu Halima’s Tomb does not sit at the centre of this garden which is not a common feature as many Garden Tombs are seen with the main Tomb constructed at the heart of a Garden with pathways and waterways surrounding the main structure. This could only mean that it was a later addition constructed within this garden complex.
Bu Halima’s Tomb is seen with traces of coloured tiles that still exist on its entrance which faces the Tomb of Humayun. It is made of sandstone set with plasterwork that adds to the beauty of the structure.
Isa Khan’s Tomb and Mosque
Isa Khan’s Tomb is known as one of those several monuments that dot the pathway leading up to the main Tomb enclosure of Humayun from the western entrance gateway. It predates 20 years before the Tomb of Humayun, constructed in 1547 AD. It is popularly known as the Tomb Complex of Isa Khan Niyazi who was an Afghan noble in the Royal courts of Sher Shah Suri of the Suri Dynasty who battled against the Mughals and won. Isa Khan constructed his own Tomb during the actual rule of Islam Shah Suri who was the son of Sher Shah Suri which later served as the burial ground for Isa Khan’s entire family.
The Isa Khan Mosque lies towards the western side of the Tomb of Isa Khan. It is made of red sandstone with three wide bays and openings.
Other Important Structures
The Arab-Sarai or Rest House for the Arabs’ lies adjacent to the Afsarwala Mosque. Arai-Sarai was constructed by Hamida Banu Begum sometime between 1560 AD and 1561 AD to provide a temporary home to the labourers and artisans working on constructing the Tomb site of Emperor Humayun.
Chillah Nizamuddin Aulia
Chillah Nizamuddin Aulia is the residence of the Mystic Sufi Saint of Delhi named Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia constructed in the typical Tughlaq architectural style. It lies just outside the main Complex of Humayun’s Tomb and on the north eastern end of the Shrine or Dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin.
The Nila Gumbad or ‘Blue coloured Dome’ is situated just on the borders of the Humayun Tomb Complex. It is also known as the ‘Nila Burj’ and the name was derived from the blue tiles that dress the Dome of this structure. Nila Gumbad was constructed by Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khanan who was the son of Bairam Khan, a courtier in the royal courts of Mughal Emperor Akbar for one of the most faithful, loyal and loved servant named Miyan Fahim. Miyan Fahim grew up with Rahim’s son and died along side Feroze Khan (one of Rahim’s sons) in 1625-1626 during the rebellion war of Mughal General Mahabat Khan that took place during the Mughal reign of Emperor Jahangir.
The exterior portion of Nila Gumbad is octagonal in shape while the inner portion is square in shape that lends a unique architectural style to this structure. The ceiling is ornate with incised plasterwork that has been painted. The High Dome covered with glazed blue tiles crowns the Tomb structure adding to its charm and lending the main feature to this Tomb for which it is remembered even today as the ‘Blue Dome’.
Entry fee to view these Tombs are currently not applicable, however, recently ASI has taken over the responsibility to restore these monuments and hence entry and photography charges may soon apply.
Other monumental structures that lie in close proximity to the Humayun Tomb Complex include the Bada Bateshewala Mahal, Chote Bateshewala Mahal, and Bara-pula, a ’12-piered’ stone bridge with eleven arched openings constructed by the chief eunuch of the courts of Emperor Jahangir named Mihr Banu Agha.