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HUMAYUN’S TOMB- A REVIVAL

Amiya J. Hisham
Architectural Conservation
Batch B | Semester 8 | #11035

Introduction
Upon the arrival of the Mughal conquerors the Indian skyline morphed to accommodate tombs
and mausoleums that were highly uncommon for the native culture. Tomb architecture for the
first time dotted the landscape, crafted in marble and sandstone in unmatched scale and elegance
as though to signify the timeless power of the emperors in whose honour they were built. Over
the centuries however, the even most priceless specimens of Mughal architecture have begun to
weather against an environment that grows threatening every day, both socio-culturally and
ecologically.

A Brief History
Built in 1570 for Humayun the second Mughal Emperor of India, the tomb is arguably one of the
most exquisite works of architecture. It is still a subject of debate in the regard that it exhibits
better proportions than the Taj Mahal. The tomb was completed over a decade under the Persian
architect was Mirak Mirza Ghiyath.
The Garden Tomb, was the first of kind in India, embracing the Char Bagh model of Persian and
Central Asia, wherein the principal tomb structure is surrounded by a geometrical gardens cut
across at right angles through the centre by channels of water. The tomb structure itself was built
of red sandstone, with intricate white and black marble inlays. The tomb and the complex around
it now contains about 150 graves of ruling family members.

Need for Restoration Recognized
During the turn of the 21st century, compelled by the fast deteriorating condition of the relics of
the bygone era, both Government and private agencies rallied to gather support to restore them to
their former glory.
The task of restoration was done by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, in partnership with the
Archaeological Survey of India, and with the support of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust. The

the UK. the USA and Canada revealed valuable information that informed project implementation. and the water channels and its ancient plumbing. This included early 19th century drawings.  Archival Research. Dehradun. the layout of the garden. Ratish Nanda was the Project director of this restoration work. planting plans of the 1880’s and early 20th century and a detailed record of the significant work done in the garden in the period 1903-11. Agra. Two . Site works encompassed a variety of disciplines. the original levels of the land.Project director Ratish Nanda asserts that the work had relied on India's rich but increasingly neglected craft industry. Delineation Of The Restoration Project The project was methodically enunciated in term of procedure.restoration work took place on the public private partnership (PPP) model and it is first of its kind on the India’s heritage site. Planting patterns were derived from citations in historic texts.A sustained programme of archival research in Delhi. visitor accounts. archival material. Evidently some of the following aspects of the work has had a major role in this Systematic excavations helped to etch out the larger context of the tomb complex and its relationship with the surrounding built-open space. The project has emphasised the need for excellence in craftsmanship. This was done largely by manual labour.  Incorporation of Local Craftsmanship. stones weighing as much as 800kgs and lime concrete edging. and incorporating brick aggregate. the application of conservation science and hydraulic engineering. pollen analysis tests.Pathways and edging were reset retaining even the minor undulations so as not to reject the sensitive conservation philosophy followed throughout the rest of the work. visitor comments from the early 17th century. the significance of the river. and soil and climatic conditions in the Humayun’s Tomb gardens.  Pathways & Planting patterns. an almost continuous record of pictures from 1849 onwards. including archaeological excavation. Throughout the project a series of informed choices guided the panel of experts who were involved. while occasionally requiring imported skills for tasks such as traditional plaster and tilemaking. The project was funded primarily by the Aga Khan Trust.

essential areas of craftsmanship were nurtured: stone carving and preparation of lime mortar for masonry. bridges have been placed across the water channels in key locations. for the physically challenged has been considered without distorting the seamless architectural style.asp 2.unescobkk. has been maintained. 3. Similarly significant part of the garden accessible to wheelchair users. The comprehension of the above said. An extremely high level of documentation. several workshops have been held with school children at Humayun’s Tomb. multi-hued amalgamous cultural history and serve as a reminder for today’s public in an open. the ornamental and functional elements. End Note The restoration work was carried out not without a thorough understanding of the historical context.com/delhi-news/humayuns-tomb-in-delhi-unveiled-after-six-years-ofrestoration-work-535015 . Accessibility to the design. innumerable detailed drawings of the tomb structure and associated minor structures and continuous video documentary have been compiled for archival. http://www. to internationally accepted standards. the significance of materiality and scale.ndtv. The project was not merely an attempt to dust the monument back to its primary image but to magnify the significance of our rich.akdn. http://www. accessible manner. and integrity of the original design. combined together with the forces of the contemporary context and its needs and available resources has produced a successful work that attempts to ethically justify the history of the monument.org/culture/wh/asia-pacific-heritage-awards/previous-heritage-awards2000-2013/2006/award-winners/2006hm1/ 3. 2. References 1. Detailed garden surveys.org/india_humayun. As part of an outreach and awareness campaign.  Accommodating Contemporary needs 1. http://www.

4.com/current-affairs/delhis-humayuns-tomb-unveiled-after-years-ofrestoration-work-1379589295-1 5.worldheritagesite. http://dorabjitatatrust. http://www.pdf .org/pdf/ConservationofHumayun. http://www.jagranjosh.org/sites/humayunstomb.html 6.

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