Humayun's Tomb Complex - Isa Khan's Tomb & Mosque


1-Bu Halima's Tomb & Garden

 2-Isa Khan's Mosque & Tomb

3-Afsarwala's Mosque & Tomb

5-Humayun's Tomb

 6-Barber's Tomb

Other Monuments


Purana Qila


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Isa Khan's Tomb

The tomb and mosque of Isa Khan Niyazi stand immediately to the south of Bu Halima's Garden. The Persian inscription on a red sandstone slab over the mihrab inside the tomb gives the tomb its identity:

‘This tomb, which is an asylum of paradise, was built during the reign of Islam Shah, son of Sher Shah, may God perpetuate his kingdom and sovereignty, by Masnad Ali Isa Khan, son of Niyaz Aghwan, the chief chamberlain, in the Hijra year 954 (AD 1547- 48).’

Isa Khan's Tomb is built mainly of local grey quartzite with ornamental use of red sandstone. The rough masonry is covered with stucco plaster, and glazed tiles of different colours have been used in decorating the walls.


Bu Halima's Garden beyond the gate of Isa Khan's Mosque & Tomb

The tomb stands in the centre of an octagonal enclosure, the walls of which are crowned with plain battlements and the angles provided with circular bastions, giving it an air of strength. It is entered from the north through a gateway that stands on a podium approached by a flight of five steps. The main gate is in a dilapidated condition and the main gate chamber has collapsed. The square-­headed doorway is of Hindu design.

The tomb is further enclosed by an inner low octagonal wall and is itself octagonal on plan. It stands on a podium just over one metre high. The square headed doorways on all sides of the tomb chamber except the south and the west are enclosed with jalis within recesses having four-centred arches.

The western side of the tomb is occupied by a four-centred mihrab, bordered by quotations from the Quran, while the southern side contains the entrance to the tomb-chamber. The medallion in the centre of the dome is enriched with painted floral decoration in Persian style, fringed by a quotation from the Quran.


Domed pavilion on the terrace of Isa Khan's Tomb

Inside the tomb chamber there are two large graves and four smaller ones. The monument over the grave of Isa Khan, one of the two larger ones, is of marble and red sandstone. The floor is paved with sandstone slabs.

The main tomb chamber is surrounded by an arcaded verandah having three stilted, four-centred arches on each side of the octagon. The spandrels of the arches contain the remains of blue, green and yellow tile-inlay. It is crowned by a stone chhajja. The parapet above the verandah contains false merlons and from the eight angles rise slender pinnacles, topped with lotus-flower design. The squat dome springs from a 16-sided drum, the eight chhattris supported by columns of red sandstone rise from the roof level to surround the main dome and to harmonise the design.

The tomb of Isa Khan is similar on plan to those of Khan-i-Jahan Tilangani (died 1368­-69), Mubarak Shah (died 1434), Mohammad Shah (died about 1443) and Sikandar Shah Lodi (died 1517), all in Delhi. The tomb of Khan-i-Jahan Tilangani, in the village of Nizamuddin, is the earliest octagonal tombs to be found in the Delhi area. Persian influence can be seen in the octagonal tombs of 14th century Tughluq monuments, e.g., at Hauz Khas in Delhi.


Isa Khan's Mosque

The mosque of Isa Khan stands immediately to the west of the tomb inside the same enclosure-walls. It is a simple structure in contrast to the tomb. Built mainly of local grey quartzite, it is faced with red sandstone and is decorated with coloured tile inlay.

It stands on a platform almost a metre high and consists of a single prayer chamber that is divided into three bays. Internally the central dome is carried on squinches and the lateral domes rise from pendentives. The interior of the mosque is not elaborately decorated. The floor of the chamber is plastered.

Each bay is pierced by a four-centred arched entrance. The borders of the arches and the spandrels are decorated with blue and green tiles. The framework of the central arch is relieved at intervals by panels. A stone chhajja projects over the side bays. The parapet contains merlons in relief, and the corners of the central bay are decorated with pinnacles.

The central dome is high shouldered and springs from a 16-sided drum. The domed pavilions, supported by grey stone pillars, stand on either side of the central dome and retain the remains of blue tile inlay.



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