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Humayun's Tomb, Delhi

Humayun's Tomb, Delhi

This tomb, built in 1570, is of particular cultural significance as it was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. It inspired several major architectural innovations, culminating in the construction of the Taj Mahal.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Tombe de Humayun, Delhi

Cette sépulture, construite en 1570, a une signification culturelle exceptionnelle car c'est le premier exemple de tombe-jardin sur le sous-continent indien. Elle a inspiré d'importantes innovations architecturales qui virent leur apogée avec la construction du Taj Mahal.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

ضريح هميون

إنّ هذا الضريح الذي شُيّد عام 1570 له دلالة ثقافية استثنائية لأنه المثال الأول لضريح- حديقة يقع في شبه القارة الهندية. وقد ألهم ابتكارات هندسية هامة بلغت ذروتها مع إنشاء تاج محل.

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0



source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Мавзолей Хумаюна в Дели

Это захоронение, сооруженное в 1570 г., имеет особое культурное значение, поскольку было первой во всей Индии усыпальницей с садом. Ее сооружение вдохновило на создание нескольких значительных архитектурных продолжений, кульминацией которых было строительство Тадж-Махала.

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Tumba de Humayun (Delhi)

Construida en 1570, esta sepultura tiene un significado cultural especial. Fue la primera tumba-jardín edificada en el subcontinente indio y sirvió de fuente de inspiración para la realización de importantes innovaciones arquitectónicas, que llegarían a su apogeo con la construcción del Taj Mahal.

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0


source: NFUAJ

Humayun’s graftombe, Delhi

Dit graf – gebouwd in 1570 – is van bijzondere culturele waarde; het was de eerste tuin-graftombe gebouwd op het Indiase subcontinent. Het leidde tot grote architectonische vernieuwingen, met als hoogtepunt de Taj Mahal. Het belang van Humayun's graftombe in de evolutie van de Mogolse architectuur is enorm; het was de eerste in een lange reeks dynastieke graven. Humayun – de tweede Mogol keizer van India – reisde veel en nam ideeën over die werden toegepast door de architect van zijn graf. De tombe werd door de geschiedenis heen gerespecteerd en behield zo zijn oorspronkelijke vorm. Latere aanpassingen waren enkel ter behoud.

Source: unesco.nl

हुमायूँ का मकबरा, दिल्ली

1570 में निर्मित यह मकबरा विशेष सांस्कृतिक महत्व का है क्योंकि यह भारतीय उपमहाद्वीप का पहला उद्यान-मकबरा था। इसने ताज महल के निर्माण में कई प्रमुख वास्तुशिल्प नवाचारों को प्रेरित किया।

Source: India

Humayun's Tomb, Delhi (India) © UNESCO
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief Synthesis

Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi is the first of the grand dynastic mausoleums that were to become synonyms of Mughal architecture with the architectural style reaching its zenith 80 years later at the later Taj Mahal. Humayun’s Tomb stands within a complex of 27.04 ha. that includes other contemporary, 16th century Mughal garden-tombs such as Nila Gumbad, Isa Khan, Bu Halima, Afsarwala, Barber’s Tomb and the complex where the craftsmen employed for the Building of Humayun’s Tomb stayed, the Arab Serai.

Humayun’s Tomb was built in the 1560’s, with the patronage of Humayun’s son, the great Emperor Akbar. Persian and Indian craftsmen worked together to build the garden-tomb, far grander than any tomb built before in the Islamic world. Humayun’s garden-tomb is an example of the charbagh (a four quadrant garden with the four rivers of Quranic paradise represented), with pools joined by channels. The garden is entered from lofty gateways on the south and from the west with pavilions located in the centre of the eastern and northern walls.

The mausoleum itself stands on a high, wide terraced platform with two bay deep vaulted cells on all four sides. It has an irregular octagon plan with four long sides and chamfered edges. It is surmounted by a 42.5 m high double dome clad with marble flanked by pillared kiosks (chhatris) and the domes of the central chhatris are adorned with glazed ceramic tiles. The middle of each side is deeply recessed by large arched vaults with a series of smaller ones set into the facade.

The interior is a large octagonal chamber with vaulted roof compartments interconnected by galleries or corridors. This octagonal plan is repeated on the second storey. The structure is of dressed stone clad in red sandstone with white and black inlaid marble borders.

Humayun’s garden-tomb is also called the ‘dormitory of the Mughals’ as in the cells are buried over 150 Mughal family members.

The tomb stands in an extremely significant archaeological setting, centred at the Shrine of the 14th century Sufi Saint, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. Since it is considered auspicious to be buried near a saint’s grave, seven centuries of tomb building has led to the area becoming the densest ensemble of medieval Islamic buildings in India.

Criteria (ii)Humayun’s garden-tomb is built on a monumental scale, grandeur of design and garden setting with no precedence in the Islamic world for a mausoleum. Here for the first time, important architectural innovations were made including creating a char-bagh – a garden setting inspired by the description of paradise in the Holy Quran. The monumental scale achieved here was to become the characteristic of Mughal imperial projects, culminating in the construction of the Taj Mahal.

Criteria (iv)Humayun’s Tomb and the other contemporary 16th century garden tombs within the property form a unique ensemble of Mughal era garden-tombs. The monumental scale, architectural treatment and garden setting are outstanding in Islamic garden-tombs. Humayun’s Tomb is the first important example in India, and above all else, the symbol of the powerful Mughal dynasty that unified most of the sub continent.


The inscribed property includes the Humayun’s tomb enclosure, which comprises the gateways, pavilions and attached structures pre-dating Humayun’s Tomb, such as the Barber’s Tomb, Nila Gumbad and its garden setting, Isa Khan’s garden tomb and other contemporary 16th century structures such as Bu Halima’s garden-tomb and Afsarwala garden-Tomb. All of these attributes fully convey the outstanding universal value of the property. The tomb’s in the complex have been respected throughout their history and so have retained original form and purpose intact. Recent conservation works, that have followed the urban landscape approach, have been aimed at preserving this character and ensured the preservation of the physical fabric, enhancing the significance while reviving living building craft traditions used by the Mughal builders. 


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

The tomb and its surrounding structures are substantially in their original state and interventions have been minimal and of high quality. Conservation works being carried out on the structures are focused on using traditional materials such as lime mortar, building tools and techniques to recover authenticity especially by removal of 20th century materials such as the concrete layers from the roof and replacement by lime-concrete, removal of cement plaster from the lower cells and replacement with lime mortar in original patterns and concrete removal from the lower platform to reveal and reset the original stone paving, among other similar efforts. A similar conservation approach is being used on all garden-tombs in the complex.

Protection and management requirements

As with other sites under the management of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), there is adequate protection through various legislations such as Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958 and Rules 1959, Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act 2010, Delhi Municipal Corporation Act 1957, Land Acquisition Act 1894, Delhi Urban Art Commission Act 1973, Urban Land (Sealing and Regulation) Act 1976, Environmental Pollution Act, 1986, amongst others. The tomb and its gardens has been the focus of a conservation project in partnership with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture since 1997 with the enclosed gardens restored with flowing water in the first phase (1997-2003) and the conservation works on the tomb and other attached structures being undertaken since 2007.

Flowing water was an essential element of the Mughal char-bagh and at Humayun’s Tomb, underground terracotta pipes, aqueducts, fountains, water channels were some of the elements of the gardens. Since the time of inscription, major conservation works have been based on exhaustive archaeological investigation, archival research and documentation, were undertaken on the garden by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) – Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) multi-disciplinary team culminating in restoring flowing water into the garden. 

The availability of high craftsmanship ensures that significance is retained especially by removal of modern materials. A core committee comprising ASI Director General, ASI Additional Director General, ASI Regional Director, Director (Conservation) and the Superintending Archaeologist, ASI Delhi Circle review all on-going works being implemented by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. Conservation works are further independently per reviewed on a regular basis.

The implementation of the participatory management plan will be critical for the sustained operation of the management system, including agreements to allow visitors to access the adjoining 70 acre Sunder Nursery and the Mughal monuments standing therein. Additional security requirements for the Humayun’s Tomb site will need to be addressed, especially in view of the significant increase in visitor numbers. Visitor management will also require definition of guidelines for the potential development of infrastructure, such as an interpretation centre.

The physical setting of the property, with several hundred acres of green in the north, has also contributed to the preservation of additional buildings located in the buffer zone of the property. These include the garden-tombs standing in the adjacent Sundarwala and Batashewala Complexes. These buildings are also significant as they contribute to the understanding of the evolution of the inscribed property. Therefore adequate protection and management measures need to be systematically implemented at the buffer zone.